May 26: Apollo 10 Returns

Apollo-10It was on this day in 1969 that Apollo 10, the Apollo space program’s fourth manned mission, returned to Earth.

Apollo 10 was essentially a dress rehearsal for the Apollo 11 moon landing, a test of all the procedures for a moon landing, with the notable exception of actually landing on the moon. Astronauts Thomas P. Stafford and Eugene A. Cernan were deployed in the Lunar Module Snoopy and orbited the Moon, while John W. Young remained aboard the Command Modual Charlie Brown. During the mission, Stafford and Cernan scoped out the Sea of Tranquility, where Apollo 11 would land, and even came within a nautical mile of landing. The mission would come to an end when the Charlie Brown made splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on May 26, 1969.

Interestingly, all three Apollo 10 crew members would take part in an additional Apollo mission, the only Apollo crew to hold this distinction. Young would serve as the commander of Apollo 16 and became the ninth person to walk on the moon. Cernan commanded Apollo 17 and was the last person to walk off the moon. Stafford would command the U. S. vehicle in the 1975 Apollo–Soyuz Test Project joint U.S.–Soviet space flight, which was coincidentally the last Apollo mission.

There are a few cocktails inspired by the moon, but I’m partial to the Blue Moon. I pulled this recipe from Ted Haigh’s indispensable book Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails. This blue cocktail has a nice violet aroma.

Blue Moon

  • 2 ounces Dry Gin
  • 1/2 ounce Crème Yvette or Crème de Violette
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Tomorrow: Another day at the races.



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