Blue Dot 145: Apollo 10: Charlie Brown And Snoopy Go To The Moon

May 17, 2019

Apollo 10 Command module Pilot John Young with a model of the CSM and it's mascot Charlie Brown.
Credit NASA

  

In our ongoing series of looks back at Project Apollo 50 years later, we examine the Apollo 10 mission. Dave talks to two of his childhood heroes -- Lieutenant General Thomas Stafford, the commander of Apollo 10 and last surviving crew member (crewmates Gene Cernan and John Young passed away in 2017 and 2018 respectively) and one of the legendary Apollo Flight Directors: Gerry Griffin.

Apollo 10 notably made it to within 47,000 feet of the lunar surface in May of 1969 as the crew tested out all of the guidance, navigation, communications, rendezvous and docking procedures for the Command/Service and Lunar Modules in lunar orbit.

 

It was only the second flight to the Moon and the first time a lunar module actually flew in lunar orbit.

CapCom Astronaut Charlie Duke in Mission Control Houston had Snoopy and Charlie Brown on his console during the Apollo 10 mission.
Credit NASA

Dave also chats with Stafford's friend and fellow Oklahoman Bill Moore from the Oklahoma Historical Society to get some insight into the astronaut who flew four missions and truly had and has the right stuff!

One of the most fun and whimsical aspects of the mission were the call signals for the two spacecraft. The Command Module was dubbed Charlie Brown and the Lunar Module Snoopy.

 

 

Astronaut Tom Stafford touches Snoopy for good luck.
Credit NASA

The famous Peanuts characters created by Charles M. Schultz made for a bit of whimsy on the lunar voyage but there was also a serious reason behind the choice of names. Snoopy pins were and are to this day awarded for aerospace workers who go above and beyond to insure quality and safety for the astronauts.