Gumdrop and Spider

Because the Apollo 9 spacecraft would be split in two for parts of the mission, NASA allowed the crew to choose individual callsigns for the CSM and LM - naming their spacecraft for the first time since Gemini 3. The LM was called Spider for obvious reasons, while the CSM was nicknamed Gumdrop after it arrived at Kennedy Space Center wrapped in blue cellophane. Throughout their ten-day mission, the Apollo 9 crew thoroughly tested both spacecraft, practising docking and undocking manoeuvres, flying the LM up to 179km (111 miles) from the CSM, and using both the ascent and descent engines in orbit. Schweickart also performed the first Apollo Spacewalk, testing the new spacesuit's integral life-support systems. Apart from a bout of space sickness for Schweickart, everything went well, and by the time the crew returned on 13 March, the Moon was almost within Apollo's grasp.

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