The United States’ manned missions to the moon required the
development of and training with an enormous amount of equipment.
On March 13, 1969, the Apollo 9 mission returned to Earth after
spending 10 days in low Earth orbit testing several things critical to
landing on the moon, including the Lunar Module engines, backpack life
support systems, navigation systems, and docking maneuvers. The
mission involved the second manned launch of a Saturn V rocket.
Apollo 9 was the third manned mission in the Apollo space program
and the first flight of the command/aervice module with the lunar
module. The three cremen were commander James McDivitt, command module
pilot David Scott, and lunar module pilot Rusty Schweickart.
Connect with Coin World:
After launching on March 3, 1969, the men performed the first manned
flight of a lunar module, the first docking and extraction of a lunar
module, two spacewalks, and the second docking of two manned
spacecraft — two months after the Soviets performed a spacewalk crew
transfer between Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5.
The mission proved the lunar module worthy of manned spaceflight.
Further tests on the Apollo 10 mission would prepare the lunar module
for its ultimate goal, landing on the moon.
Space-flown artifacts are available for many of the lunar missions.
Beginning with the first manned Apollo flight, Apollo 7, mission
crew members contracted with the Robbins Co. of Attleboro, Mass., to
create a series of gold and silver medals. The Robbins medals were
ordered and paid for by NASA crew and staff, who were allowed to buy
medals for any mission, regardless of their participation in the
mission. A small number of each Robbins medal was placed aboard the
Apollo spacecraft during a mission; the number flown aboard the
spacecraft for any mission was limited.
Apollo missions carried between three and seven 14-karat gold medals
per flight, and anywhere from 80 to 450 silver medals were “space
flown” per mission, according to Howard Weinberger, author of two
books on the Robbins medallions.
The silver medals remained in astronauts’ personal preference kits
in the command module during the flights. However, on the lunar
landing missions, the gold medals were taken to the lunar surface,
according to Weinberger.