Blue Dot 135: Apollo 9

Mar 1, 2019

Apollo 9 spacewalk, 1969.
Credit NASA

In our third installment of Blue Dot's look back at Project Apollo for the 50th anniversaries of the missions, we examine perhaps the most overlooked of all, Apollo 9. Astronaut Rusty Schweickart, Apollo 9 Lunar Module Pilot, joins Dave to talk about the ambitious test flight that paved the way for Neil Armstrong's one small step, just over four months later.

Along with Commander Jim McDivitt and Command Module Pilot Dave Scott, Schweickart helped the crew test the lunar module in its maiden voyage into space, the first rendezvous and docking of the two Apollo spacecraft and the first test of the spacesuits that would be worn by the moonwalkers.

Schweickart suffered from an intense bout of space sickness that nearly curtailed much of the mission's objectives but recovered to have an amazing few minutes alone outside the spacecraft orbiting the Earth with nothing to do but contemplate his place in the vastness of space and time.