This month marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 9 mission.
Just 12 weeks afetr the successful Apollo 8 mission to orbit the moon and return to Earth,
Apollo 9, with crew James McDivitt, David Scott, and Rusty Schweickart,
was the first flight with both the Command and Service Module (CSM) and the
Lunar Module (LM). The crew spent ten days in low Earth
orbit and performed the first crewed
flight of a LM, the first docking and extraction of a LM,
a spacewalk to test the astronauts' spacesuits, and re-docking of
the CSM and LM.
The image above shows the Saturn V rocket on the launch pad in the
final stages of prearation for the launch on March 3rd, 1969
(Image credit: NASA and www.honeysucklecreek.net)