Apollo 10 Command Module, 1969.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Apollo 10, carrying astronauts Thomas Stafford, John Young and Eugene Cernan, was launched in May 1969 on a lunar orbital mission as the dress rehearsal for the actual Apollo 11 landing. Stafford and Cernan descended in the Lunar Module to within 14 kilometres of the surface of the Moon, the closest approach until Neil Armstrong and Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin in Apollo 11 landed on the surface two months later. The craft, which had the call sign 'Charlie Brown', travelled approximately 500,000 miles (800,000 km) during the eight-day mission and exceeded 24,790 mph (39,887 km/h) on its return to Earth, faster than any other crewed vehicle before or since.