Given the comments that are made regarding Mike Collins' 'loneliness' while flying Columbia around the far side of the Moon on Apollo 11, would I be right in assuming that the Apollo 10 CSM and LM were always on the same side of the Moon during their flight, since the LM did not land?

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    $\begingroup$ Collins wasn't on Apollo 10. Did you mean 11? $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Apr 24 '19 at 12:14
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    $\begingroup$ Is this question: Were the Apollo 10 CSM and LM always on the same side of the Moon during their lunar operations to avoid the sort of 'loneliness' reported by Michael Collins on the later Apollo 11 flight? $\endgroup$ – Dave Gremlin Apr 24 '19 at 12:56
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    $\begingroup$ The question seems quite clear to me. "On Apollo 11 Collins reported loneliness. This doesn't appear to have been reported for Apollo 10, is this because the CSM was never separated by the Moon from all other people." $\endgroup$ – user20636 Apr 24 '19 at 14:39
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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Space! Like others who have commented here, I was distracted by the mixed references to 10/11, and it took me some moments to understand the question. @Jonathan, I would strongly advise editing your question to make it clearer. It is otherwise a good question. $\endgroup$ – DrSheldon Apr 24 '19 at 15:11
  • $\begingroup$ This is a really good question. The LM went into a lower, faster orbit as part of the landing rehearsal, so separation from the CSM could have been substantial, but I don't know if it would have been beyond the lunar horizon at any point. $\endgroup$ – Russell Borogove Apr 24 '19 at 15:42

Your assumption is correct.

The Apollo 10 LM, Snoopy, initially went into a lower, faster orbit than the CSM Charlie Brown, but then shifted into an eccentric orbit with a higher apolune than the CSM in order to let the CSM catch up. The two spacecraft were in direct radio contact throughout the flight, as you can read in the flight journal transcripts, including periods when they were behind the moon and out of Earth contact.

Apollo 10 Flight Journal, 099:56:00 to 101:45:00

Apollo 10 Flight Journal, 101:45:06 to 103:44:50

Apollo 10 Flight Journal, 103:44:50 to 105:32:45


I reckon the 'loneliness' referred to by Collins was due more to his being alone on the CM while Armstrong and Aldrin were on the moon. For the 'dark' phase of this orbit he was also out of radio contact with Houston. Apollos 8 and 10 by comparison has more than one astronaut on board the CM during lunar orbit. Of course, Collins had plenty to busy himself with as the trickiest manoeuvre remained to be done: rendezvous and docking with the LM. The latter was by no means a foregone conclusion and if it failed then Collins would have to return to Earth alone.

But NASA had picked the right man for the CM job and Collins saw off his 'loneliness' - and many bigger distractions like the stink of the CM's "men's room" - for the remainder of the mission.

  • $\begingroup$ Apollo 10 had a period where there was only 1 astronaut in the CM, FYI. And every Apollo mission had some time in orbit around the Moon with all of the astronauts. $\endgroup$ – PearsonArtPhoto Jul 23 '19 at 14:12
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for info. As a matter of interest, did the Apollo 10 dry-run start and complete while the CM was in continuous radio contact with mission control ? $\endgroup$ – Trunk Jul 23 '19 at 14:21
  • $\begingroup$ No, it took several hours, although I think the LM and CM were probably close enough to communicate with each other directly most of the time. $\endgroup$ – PearsonArtPhoto Jul 23 '19 at 15:06

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