Charlie Brown and Snoopy go to the Moon

Part One Today marks the 50th anniversary of Apollo 10, the mission that would do pretty much everything except land on the Moon.

Flushed with success following Apollo 9's shakedown of the Lunar Module in Earth orbit (despite a poorly astronaut for much of the trip), NASA pressed ahead with the first mission to send the complete Apollo stack – Command and Service Module (CSM) and Lunar Module (LM) – into orbit around the Moon and take the LM out for a jaunt.

Unlike Apollo 9, Apollo 10 was made up entirely of veteran astronauts, all of whom had spent time squeezed into the cramped confines of the Gemini capsule.

With nothing with which to dock, NASA ended up launching 6A on 15 December 1965 to rendezvous with the Gemini 7 of Frank Borman and Jim Lovell, who had been "enjoying" a lengthy spell in their capsule following a 4 December launch into orbit.

Stafford later commented that had Schirra done so, the pure oxygen atmosphere would have sent the 'nauts out like "two Roman candles".

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