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(03/13/1969) -- One hour after their Apollo 9 spacecraft splashed down today in the Atlantic Ocean, waving astronauts, left to right, Russell L. Schweickart, David R. Scott and James A. McDivitt, descend stairway on to main deck of the USS Guadalcanal, prime recovery ship. The helicopter flew them from their impact point a short distance to the ship, originally positioned less than five miles from where they splashed down. The 10-day Earth orbital mission proved the feasibility of the lunar module for manned descent to the Moon's surface, scheduled to take place later this year. They wre launched March 3, 1969, from the Kennedy Space Center aboard an Apollo/Saturn V space vehicle. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration directs the Apollo program.