USA 1969 Apollo 10

The Apollo 10 mission was a "dry run" for the Apollo 11 moon landing mission. Its purpose was to confirm all aspects of the moon landing mission exactly as it would be performed, except for the actual landing. In broad terms, Apollo 10 was a repetition of Apollo 8's lunar orbital mission, together with the lunar module maneuvers of Apollo 9. The flight proved the feasibility of lunar-orbit rendezvous and took men to within 10 miles (16 km) of the moon's surface.

Apollo 10 was launched on May 18, 1969, with veteran astronauts Thomas P. Stafford, John W. Young, and Eugene A. Cernan aboard. On their second swing around the earth the men got the go-ahead to place their craft in a translunar trajectory, after which they carried out the maneuvers to dock the lunar module with the command module.


Apollo 10 launch cover with KSC postmark, signed by John Young, Eugene Cernan and Thomas Stafford. On the top-left is an autopen signature of Cernan.
Reaching the moon on May 22, 1969, the astronauts sent their spacecraft into an elliptical and then a nearly circular orbit about 60 miles (96 km) above the surface. For the flight, the command module was nicknamed Charlie Brown and the lunar module Snoopy. Stafford and Cernan transferred from Charlie Brown to Snoopy and the modules separated. Snoopy's descent engine fired to produce an orbit that brought the module within 50,000 feet (15,200 meters) of the surface, close to the landing site for Apollo 11.

Apollo 10 lunar module moon orbital flight test, postmarked on 22 May 1969, Houston.

Re-ascent to the command module was carried out so as to simulate the flight path of a lunar module leaving the moon's surface. When Snoopy's descent stage was jettisoned and the ascent system took over, there were severe vibrations, however Snoopy was under control within seconds. The remaining sequence of events in the flight proceeded smoothly.

Apollo 10 lunar module moon orbital flight test on 22 May 1969, a NORAD tracking station cover.

According to the 2001 Guinness World Records, Apollo 10 set the record for the highest speed attained by a manned vehicle at 39,897 km/h (11.08 km/s or 24,791 mph). This speed record was set during the return from the Moon on May 26, 1969.

Apollo 10 Honeysuckle Creek (Australia) tracking station cover, postmarked May 25, 1969.

The astronauts splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on May 26, 1969, within three miles of the recovery ship waiting for them. The stage had been set for Apollo 11.

Apollo 10 captain cover, prime recovery ship USS Princeton.

Apollo 10 prime recovery ship cover with an extremely rare USS Princeton hand cancel. Notice it also has a less commonly seen stamped US Navy Recovery Force cachet in black color.

Apollo 10 PRS cover signed by John Young, Eugene Cernan and Thomas Stafford.
The autographs make this a desirable cover - signed by the ship's Captain, C.M. Cruce USN, astronaut Cernan and three other recovery crew.