Picture of Apollo 9 launch
The major goal of the Apollo 9 mission was to conduct the first tests of the Lunar Module and other new space equipment. The Lunar Module was the latest piece of hardware designed to safely carry astronauts to the Moon's surface, and would be used repeatedly by future Apollo missions.
Apollo 9 lifted off on Mar. 3, 1969, with astronauts James McDivitt, David Scott, and Russell Schweickart on board, becoming the first flight with all the equipment necessary for a lunar landing. During 152 orbits of Earth, they released the Lunar Module and later reattatched it to the Space Module, in conditions similar to those around the Moon. The astronauts also tested a new space suit designed with a built-in life support system.
Apollo 9, though not as famous as other Apollo missions, was a success, giving scientists much valuable information about safely reaching the Moon, a goal finally achieved by Apollo 11.
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