Apollo 9 was launched aboard a Saturn V on March 3, 1969 from Kennedy Space Center. The crewmembers, Commander James McDivitt, Command Module Pilot David Scott, and Lunar Module Pilot Russel Schweickart spent 10 days in Earth orbit. The primary purpose of the Apollo 9 mission was to test the systems, rendezvous procedures, and docking procedures of the Lunar Module (nicknamed "Spider"). In addition, an extra-vehicular activity (EVA) was performed to test the new Lunar EVA spacesuits. Both "Gumdrop", the Command and Service Modules (CSM 104), and "Spider" (LM-3) functioned without problems, thus proving that the Lunar Module performed as designed. The Apollo 9 mission ended on March 13 with a splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean.
The spacecraft was transferred to the Smithsonian by NASA in 1973.
Transferred from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration