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Apollo 10: “To Sort Out the Unknowns” (1969)

Hardin-Simmons University Library

Sound | 1969

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  •  A veteran crew 
  •  Time for trans-lunar injection 
  •  First problem encountered 
  •  Joking around 
  •  Preparations for lunar orbit insertion 
  •  Another problem arises 
  •  Troubleshooting by turning a switch off and on works in space too 
  •  Assessment of Apollo 11 landing site 
  •  Rendezvous sequence 
  •  Trans-Earth injection 
  •  Space shave 
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This government film provides a detailed walkthrough of the Apollo 10 mission, launched on May 18, 1969. Communication between the astronauts and the staff at mission control in Houston makes up the majority of the film’s audio—one of its most notable aspects. This narration is not confined to discussion about the completion of mission objectives, however, including a lot of descriptions about the Moon and what it is like for the astronauts to see the Earth from so far away. The film also mentions and explains the several problems encountered by Apollo 10, with the narrator assuring each one "will be fixed” for Apollo 11.
As the scope of the American space program grew, NASA’s Space Task Group realized it would need to expand into its own facility if it were to successfully land a man on the Moon. In 1961, the agency’s selection team chose a 1,000-acre cow pasture in Houston, Texas, as the proposed center’s location site, owing to its access to water transport and commercial jet service, moderate climate, and proximity to Rice University. In September 1963, the facility opened as the Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC). 
The Center became the focal point of NASA’s manned spaceflight program, developing spacecraft for Projects Gemini and Apollo, selecting and training astronauts, and operating the Lunar Receiving Laboratory. Beginning with Gemini 4 in June 1965, MSC’s Mission Control Center also took over flight control duties from the Mercury Control Center at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. As a result, the facility managed all subsequent manned space missions, including those related to Projects Gemini and Apollo, the Apollo Applications Program, the Space Shuttle Orbiters, and the International Space Station.
In 1973, the MSC was renamed in honor of the late President and Texas native Lyndon B. Johnson. (As Senate Majority Leader, Johnson sponsored the 1958 legislation that established NASA.) The Center continues to lead NASA’s efforts in space exploration, training both American and international astronauts, managing missions to and from the International Space Station, and operating scientific and medical research programs.