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tv   Reel America Apollo 9 - Three to Make Ready - 1969  CSPAN  March 9, 2019 8:00am-8:21am EST

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announcer: you are watching american history tv. every day at 8:00 p.m. eastern, we bring you 48 hours of unique programming exploring our nation's past. american history tv is only on c-span3 . anchor: 50 years ago on march 3, 1969, apollo nine blasted off for a 10 day mission to test systems that would be essential for the july 1969 apollo 11 moon landing. next on reel america, "apollo 9: three to make ready." this 17 minute nasa film details the lunar module talking test, spacewalks, and moon suits come and the march 13, 1969 splashdown.
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♪ >> christmas, 1968. when man first cut the silver cord of earth's gravity to orbit the moon. ♪ saturn five had provided the power to take him there. the command and service modules had sustained him. but man cannot begin his mastery of the moon until he can land on its inhospitable surface and take off again. to do this, he needs the third basic piece of hardware, the lunar module. the lunar module is a new concept designed for use in the vacuum of space. a two-man taxi used as a shuttle
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between the lunar surface and the orbiting command module. but before man can use them lunar module as an operational lunar spacecraft, it must be tested in space. first in earth orbit. this was the primary purpose of apollo nine, the three-man apollo mission. jim mcdivitt, dave scott, rusty schweickart. three men to qualify this new machine to make ready for the moon. ♪ >> this was the most complex system never sent into space. first the saturn five, seven point 5 million pounds of thrust from its first stage alone. over 3 million working parts.
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then the lunar five, module, well over one million parts. and the command and service modules, over 2 million parts. >> 35 seconds and counting. >> march 3, 19 69, the countdown for the launch of apollo nine was underway. each piece checked out before launch. >> 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8 -- we have the segment -- the sequence started 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, zero. all engines running. commit. liftoff. we have liftoff at 11:00 a.m. eastern standard time.
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>> you'll go all the way, everything looks good. >> roger. >> and apollo 9 at five minutes, everybody is as happy as a clam. looking good. >> so are we. >> very good. >> once in orbit, it was still attached to the as four b. the third stage of the vehicle. >> it's out there. we are turned around. proceeding. >> tremendous. thank you. >> go, apollo 9. >> we are at 29 feet now.
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>> copy. ♪ >> apollo 9, good to go. >> the next maneuver, to activate the springs which would eject the lunar module configuration from the s4b. >> you are a go. >> we are separating very slowly from the s4b. >> sounds beautiful. >> next, the engine would be a to send it away from apollo 9. away from possible interference with their complex mission. >> apollo 9, houston.
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ignition on the s4b. >> on the way. just like a bright star disappearing in the distance. >> for the rest of the first and second days, apollo 9 would fly in this configuration. four burns of the surface propulsion system would optimize the orbit for the coming maneuvers. these burns could be roughly correlated to the midcourse corrections of a lunar mission. then come on the third day, the crew cleared the tunnel connecting the command and lunar modules of the mechanism. this would open the tunnel for the transfer of mcdivitt and schweickart from the module to the lunar module. >> pretty much going to plan. >> apollo 9, houston is reading you loud and clear. >> looks as good as new. >> roger, apollo 9.
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>> with two spacecrafts in operation, new codenames were introduced. the cone shaped command module known as gun drop, the insectlike lunar module called spider. throughout the day, mcdivitt and schweickart would test every system of the lunar module. the major event of the day would be a burn of them it -- of the lunar module descent engine. this engine which will eventually be used for the lunar landing would be under the manual control of spacecraft commander mcdivitt for a large portion of the burn. now, mcdivitt put on a virtuoso performance. using the throttle of the module, each variation of thrust, a note in a technological symphony. >> 40%. going down to 10%. back up to 40%. back down to 25%.
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back up again. coming up to 40%. complete. let it sit there. >> the engine is necessary for the lunar landing had been performed flawlessly. another burn of the engine would complete the day. first, mcdivitt had a message. >> i need to get something today -- to eat all i have had today is fruit salad. i'm about to start it up. >> roger. >> it has been a busy time for the crew of apollo 9. but it was only the beginning. the next day, mcdivitt and schweickart returned to the lunar module. this time, schweickart opened the front hatch and stepped onto the front porch. the first test in space of the portable system. and the suit to be worn on the moon. >> ok, spider, the hatch is open. can you see me wiggling my toes?
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>> schweickart was attached only by a safety tether with his own life support and communication systems, he was virtually an independent one-man spacecraft. his call sign is the third link in communications red rover. >> what a view. >> alone in the command module, hatch opened, dave scott also had work to do. >> ok, dave, come on in. >> ok. i will let the camera run here. take a pictures. >> you want to retrieve a sample? >> that is a good idea. >> now both scott and schweickart were retrieving thermal samples attached to the exteriors of the lunar and command modules. because of schweickart upset stomach, his transfer from the lunar module to the command module to be used if the transfer tunnel were blocked was curtailed. but the remaining eva which
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lasted for 37 minutes demonstrated not only that an extravehicular transfer was possible, but he gave a good workout to the space it and life-support system that will later be worn when exploring the surface of the moon. it had been another long, hard day. the first and only eva scheduled for apollo until the exploration of the lunar surface. at the next day was the biggest test of them all. with mcdivitt and schweickart in the lunar module, scott alone in the command module, the two vehicles undocked. ♪ >> looking more and abstraction than a machine, the lunar module danced an inverted hero but before its lone partner in space. ♪
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>> firing its descent engine, the module would pull away from the command module to a distance of about 100 miles. ♪ >> now, with the support of mission control, mcdivitt and
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schweickart would locate scott alone in the command module and perform the critical rendezvous maneuvers. each burn representing a firing that would one day take men from the surface of the moon to the spacecraft which would take them home again. >> 40 seconds. >> burn looks good. >> good burn, dave. >> very good. thank you. >> the lunar module had left its bulky four-legged descent stage in orbit. now, only the absent stage and crew would return. each burn a step in a computerized choreography which would lead to the rendezvous. ♪ >> great. ♪
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>> ok, we are five feet. >> ok. you are upside down again. >> are upside down again. >> i was thinking, one of us isn't right side up. ♪ >> ok, i have us 370 feet. >> ok. looks closer than that. how does that handle? >> pretty nice. >> in order to dock, mcdivitt needed to use a device on the docking window. however, the brilliance of the sunlight made using it difficult. alone in the command module, scott helped talk mcdivitt in. >> you're coming fine. keep coming easy. you have to go forward to your right a little bit. >> i can't tell. if i don't see it -- there it is there.
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>> now you're coming in. keep it coming. you're almost there. ok. why don't you take a break for a while? >> if i take a break i'm going to bed for three days. >> this had been a full five days. the lunar module had checked out beyond expectations. in all aspects, it seemed ready for the moon. now it was time to jettison the absent stage of the lunar module to free the command module for the remainder of the mission. in a safe clearance i been established, the final test. the absent engine of the lunar module was burned until the propellant ran out. the crew of apollo 9 watched as their lunar module now creweless-less went away from them. it settled into a routine. a routine of picture taking and observations. with an occasional burn to
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refine the orbit. this routine was a look into the future. a future one-man orbiting space stations operating in concert with unmanned satellites could examine the earth from this vantage point. when the cameras such as those on apollo 9 will take multiple spectrum photographs from visible light through the infrared, locating untapped geological and biological resources. and perhaps even more important, when man can look at his world with a new perspective, quantitatively and qualitatively observe the results of his actions on the face of his world. important, four with a power man controls, he can change the nature of his planet. he can no longer think of unrelated occurrences. he must realize that he exists within the structure of earth's planetary ecological system. he can observe with this new technology of the results of his
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interaction with his environment. for with a power manwater pollution on the coast of the united states. air pollution of a major city. the results of damming a river. of irrigating a desert. but apollo 9 was not an orbiting laboratory. it was the third manned mission of apollo. and it was time to come down. the primary recovery area have been shifted several hundred miles because of weather conditions in the original zone. with the appropriate changes made to its folly half, apollo 9 made its final descent into the atmosphere. the crew took these pictures of a reentry and opening of the parachutes. ♪
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>> the 10 day mission of apollo 9 had met all of its major goals. the ability to work and make a contingency transfer in the spacesuit and the plss had been proven. the capability of the module to fulfill its role in the exploration of the moon had been established. the flight of apollo 9 showed that we are indeed ready, ready for the next step in meeting what may be the most significant challenge of our time, the conquest of the moon.
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♪ a war in the pacific, a cure for measles, and dwight eisenhower. this weekend, pacific war scholars on world war ii's first major pacific ally defenses, the battle of suwann canal. >> for the american public, this came to symbolize the first test of the manhunt of the generation to fight the war. america,: then on rrel with a rash of outbreaks of measles, a look back at the 1964 film on the history of measles
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and the development of a vaccine. >> in a few weeks, the results are evident. the monkeys that were not vaccinated developed measles. the ones like this one that were given the experimental vaccine show no signs of measles, as they have developed protective antibodies. we now know that they have developed for the first time a vaccine which will provide safe protection against measles. announcer: in sunday night at 8:00 eastern, the university of virginia professor and author william hitchcock on "the age of eisenhower." >> he was the most popular man, the most respected man, the most admired man of that period, 1945 to 1961. he served the country as president and garnered massive approval from the public, winning two landslide elections. his average approval rating, ladies and gentlemen, well he was president for eight years, was 65%, average. the next president who comes
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close to that is bill clinton at 55%, and after that ronald reagan at 53%. announcer: watch american history tv this weekend on c-span3. announcer: next on american history tv, historian gary peck talks about his book, "the great war in america: world war i and its aftermath." did chronicles how the war impacted americans as well as societal issues such as prohibition, women's suffrage, and race riots. the smithsonian associates hosted this event. it's about an hour and 20 minutes. >> we are thrilled to welcome back up battery and smithsonian associates speaker garrett peck. an author, historian, and to her, he is the author of a new book "the great war in america: world war i and its aftermath." which just came out today. it is available for purchase and signing following his presentation. [applause]


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