Apollo 10 attained a speed of up to 39,897 km/h. To date, it remains the absolute speed record set by a manned vehicle.
On this day in 1969, human beings achieved the highest speed in recorded history. It happened during the return of the Apollo 10 spacecraft from the Moon’s orbit to the Earth. The three astronauts in it at one point reached a speed of 39,897 km/h, which was never experienced by a human before or after them.
Apollo 10 immediately preceded the historic Apollo 11, in which people landed on the Moon for the first time (Apollo 11 was launched about two months after Apollo 10). The purpose of Apollo 10 was to be a dress rehearsal for the future lunar landing. It was necessary to test all the procedures, but without actually landing.
Aboard Apollo 10 were the astronauts Thomas P. Stafford, John W. Young, and Eugene A. Cernan. The three of them, as mentioned, set the record for the highest speed attained by a manned vehicle. All three had previous experience in space flight. Interestingly enough, Young and Cernan later even landed on the Moon (Apollo 16 and Apollo 17). Indeed, Eugene A. Cernan to this day remains the last human to have walked on the Moon (he was the last one who entered the lunar module on the last Apollo mission).