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  Playing Deke for a day: alternate crew selections (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   Playing Deke for a day: alternate crew selections
Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-11-2008 10:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MCroft04:
I assume it's in "Carrying the Fire" but on which page? Does anyone recall?
It is "Carrying the Fire", page 442 in the original 1974 edition.

Fra Mauro
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posted 06-11-2008 10:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've just read a section in Armstrong's biography by James Hansen and he includes a discussion between Armstrong and Slayton regarding the Apollo 11 crew. It seems that Deke hinted that he preferred that Lovell be on the crew, with either Collins or Aldrin as CMP in the most likely scenario. Here was the slight possibility that Collins could've been switched to LMP.

capoetc
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posted 06-12-2008 08:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fra Mauro:
Here was the slight possibility that Collins could've been switched to LMP.

Collins says in Carrying the Fire that he lost his chance to walk on the moon when the 2nd Apollo Block I mission (spacecraft 014), which would have for all intents and purposes been a repeat of Grissom's 012 mission, was canceled.

That cancellation resulted in Borman-Stafford-Collins (backup for Schirra's 014 mission) being reassigned, with Stafford picking up his own crew as McDivitt's backup. Borman and Collins moved to become prime crew of the third manned flight, with Anders added as the 3rd member. This resulted in Collins moving to CMP since Deke required a previously-flown astronaut to remain in the CM while the other two crewmembers went prospecting on the moon.

From then on, Collins was a CM specialist.

E2M Lem Man
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posted 06-12-2008 01:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for E2M Lem Man   Click Here to Email E2M Lem Man     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have always believed that had Ed White lived, and the AAP program evolved, he would have given Ed the chance to walk on the Moon.

VolMan
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posted 06-13-2008 09:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for VolMan   Click Here to Email VolMan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My suggestions;

1. I would have liked to have seen Carpenter be given a Gemini command. Perhaps one of the long duration flights. He would have done well in that. That cold have led to a Apollo lunar command. Given his scientific nature, he would have done a superior job of it.

2. McDivitt and White stay together in Apollo. White might have gone on to command Apollo 15. I think he would have done well in that.

3. Cooper have a Appolo command. A lot has been written about this. Gordo would have done a great job, but he seemed not to like doing simulator time. That would be needed in Apollo's integrated nature and its associated mission control requirements.

People are human, so the flight selection process would never be compeltely objective. Deke; however, did an excellent job.

Regarding FOIA and information on the Group 1 selection. The documents on the rankings may have been round filed decades ago. Sometimes, it is better not to know some things.

robsouth
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posted 06-13-2008 10:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Apollo 13: Young, Mattingly, Haise for a lunar landing on 5 January 1971.

kr4mula
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posted 06-13-2008 11:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think the biggest wild card is what assignments White and Chaffee would've received following a successful Apollo 1 flight (of course, had that happened, who knows which of the planned missions may have be reshuffled, skipped, or changed, a la Apollo 8). Given how other CMPs were promoted to commands during the program, it would seem obvious that White would've commanded a landing mission. Some other posts have suggested White wasn't among Slayton's favorites, so maybe this wouldn't have happened and he'd be buried in AAP? As for Chaffee, he could've gone the way of some of the other early Apollo crewmembers and never flown again, or received a CMP or even command slot later? I'm not sure how he was regarded within the program by his peers or Deke. I'm sure some of you do, though.

MCroft04
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posted 06-13-2008 08:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
It is "Carrying the Fire", page 442 in the original 1974 edition.
Thanks Robert; I have a 1974 first printing and could not find the comment on page 442 but figured it was close; page 434 in my book. A lot closer than I had been looking!

Max Q
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posted 06-13-2008 10:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Max Q   Click Here to Email Max Q     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by robsouth:
Apollo 13: Young, Mattingly, Haise for a lunar landing on 5 January 1971.
Looks like poor Fred Haise gets stuck with the Apollo 13 hoodoo.

RichieB16
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posted 06-14-2008 12:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for RichieB16   Click Here to Email RichieB16     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For some reason, I have never liked the crew picked for Apollo 11. I have always felt the crew was a very capable lunar landing crew but just not suited for the first landing...possibly because Armstrong was such a distant person and therefore IMHO was somewhat of a bad person for NASA to "parade around" as its marquee hero. He was a very good astronaut and test pilot...he just didn't seem to like attention and therefore couldn't be used to promote NASA as much as the first landing CDR probably could have been. Plus, to be honest...there were other astronauts with more spaceflight experience which I believe would made sense for the first landing. I would have tried to make an "All-Star" type crew for the first landing...and pick who I felt were the 3 absolute best astronauts for their respective jobs. So, here's who I would have picked:

CDR: Jim Lovell
CMP: John Young
LMP: Fred Haise

I know that Haise would have been a rookie, but from what I have read...there wasn't an astronaut who was more familiar with the LEM than Haise. I would have liked to have the most capible LMP possible...rookie or not. Also, Young did fly with Apollo 10 and Lovell with Apollo 8 so the flight rotation would probably have been altered throughout the whole Apollo program, but I still think this would have been the best crew.

I will probably get a lot of flak for picking the Apollo 11 crew...but thats just how I have always felt. That being said, the did do an excellent job on their mission...so Deke must have known what he was doing.

Max Q
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posted 06-14-2008 02:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Max Q   Click Here to Email Max Q     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ive always thought Buzz was too self serving to be on such a historic flight. I also agree with Jim Lovell in command. I have always liked the cut of Armstrong but for one of the later missions.

robsouth
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posted 06-14-2008 07:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's not as easy as it seems.

DKS22
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posted 06-14-2008 08:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DKS22   Click Here to Email DKS22     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Then there is the apect of some astronauts refusing to fly with others. They were very competitive guys with very different personalities and some of them just didn't get along. Deke also took this into consideration.

Delta7
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posted 06-14-2008 09:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
CDR: Jim McDivitt (had already flown the LM);
CMP: Jim Lovell;
LMP: Dave Scott.

RichieB16
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posted 06-14-2008 01:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RichieB16   Click Here to Email RichieB16     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Max Q:
Ive always thought Buzz was too self serving to be on such a historic flight.
I mentioned this in my post as well but I deleted before I submitted because I couldn't find the correct way to say it. I agree 100% and truthfully, whenever he is on TV I have a hard time listening to him because he is so self promoting.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-14-2008 01:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would caution against trying to judge a person's character based on what you perceive on TV or what you have read others say.

As just one data point, this website would not be what it is today were it not for Buzz and the guidance he offered nearly a decade ago. There was nothing about the advice he provided that could have suited his own needs. And while he is not the only person who was involved (not even the only astronaut), he is most certainly counted within a small circle of people who made a tremendous impact.

I can say that I know Buzz well enough to judge his character and yet I would never feel comfortable enough to represent myself as I knowing his intentions or motivations.

RichieB16
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posted 06-14-2008 02:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RichieB16   Click Here to Email RichieB16     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
I would caution against trying to judge a person's character based on what you perceive on TV or what you have read others say.
I have never met Mr. Aldrin... and I don't want my comments to be confused to make people think I question his ability or integrity. I just always felt like he "pats himself on the back" based on the way he speaks... and I prefer a more "humble hero." That by no means takes away from his contributions to the program. Other than being a part of the first landing, he was critical in perfecting EVA training and EVAs themselves. Not to mention his contributions to rendezvous's. So, I never meant to question his ability or anything else. He just seems to think very highly of himself based on how he talks... but I suppose he has the right to.

robsouth
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posted 06-14-2008 03:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
He was one of the first men on the moon so I guess he has the right to feel a little proud of what he has achieved. I like Buzz, he brings a little bit of edge to what can sometimes appear be a well polished group of indivuals.

RichieB16
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posted 06-14-2008 03:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RichieB16   Click Here to Email RichieB16     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Okay, I sat down and tried to do my own crew selection for Apollo. I set some rules, being that I couldn't change Gemini crews (so there was still somewhat of a crew order expected going into Apollo). I also didn't change history, so astronauts who were killed were not on missions. Apollo 1 remained the same.

Here is what I came up with:

Apollo 7
CDR: Walter Schirra
CMP: Alan Bean
LMP: Donn Eisele

BU CDR: Thomas Stafford
BU CMP: Eugene Cernan
BU LMP: Walt Cunningham

Apollo 8
CDR: Frank Borman
CMP: Neil Armstrong
LMP: William Anders

BU CDR: Jim Lovell
BU CMP: John Young
BU LMP: Fred Haise

Apollo 9
CDR: Jim McDivitt
CMP: Dave Scott
LMP: Walt Cunningham

BU CDR: Pete Conrad
BU CMP: Richard Gordon
BU LMP: Russell Schweickart

Apollo 10
CDR: Thomas Stafford
CMP: Mike Collins
LMP: Eugene Cernan

BU CDR: Gordon Cooper
BU CMP: Ken Mattingly
BU LMP: Edgar Mitchell

Apollo 11
CDR: Jim Lovell
CMP: John Young
LMP: Fred Haise

BU CDR: Neil Armstrong
BU CMP: Stu Roosa
BU LMP: Buzz Aldrin

Apollo 12
CDR: Pete Conrad
CMP: Richard Gordon
LMP: Russell Schweickart

BU CDR: David Scott
BU CMP: Al Wordon
BU LMP: Jim Irwin

Apollo 13
CDR: Gordon Cooper
CMP: John Swigert (replaced Mattingly — Duke still has Measles)
LMP: Edgar Mitchell

BU CDR: Alan Shepard
BU CMP: John Swigert
BU LMP: Charlie Duke

Apollo 14
CDR: Neil Armstrong
CMP: Stu Roosa
LMP: Buzz Aldrin

BU CDR: John Young
BU CMP: Ron Evans
BU LMP: Joe Engle

Apollo 15
CDR: David Scott
CMP: Al Wordon
LMP: Jim Irwin

BU CDR: Richard Gordon
BU CMP: Vance Brand
BU LMP: Harrison Schmitt

Apollo 16
CDR: Alan Shepard
CMP: Ken Mattingly
LMP: Eugene Cernan

BU CDR: Fred Haise
BU CMP: Stu Roosa
BU LMP: Edgar Mitchell

Apollo 17
CDR: John Young
CMP: Ron Evans
LMP: Harrison Schmitt

BU CDR: Buzz Aldrin
BU CMP: Stu Roosa
BU LMP: Charles Duke

I'm sure there are some major flaws here and I didn't take personal problems with each other into account. But, thats what I came up.

alanh_7
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posted 06-14-2008 09:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just two observations I wish to make. I think two gutsy calls Deke Slayton made, was bumping Ken Mattingly from the prime crew of Apollo 13 and posting Alan Shepard as Commander of Apollo 14. There is no doubt Jack Swigert was highly qualified crew member and an expert in Command Module systems, as was evident by his performance during that mission. But it was a risky situation to break up a prime crew at the last minute rather than delay the launch. Then again I think I am right when I say Deke Slayton said anyone can fly any mission, and Swigert's performance proved him correct.

I think it was risky for him the chose Shepard, the least experienced commander to land on the moon to lead Apollo 14. Again Shepards performance proved Deke right, but the risks were high considering Shepard had so little experience in space. Following Apollo 13, had Apollo 14 gone poorly it likely would have ended the moon program.

Then again, Shepard put in a solid performece, more evidence Deke Slayton and the program chiefs knew what they were doing.

RichieB16
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posted 06-14-2008 09:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RichieB16   Click Here to Email RichieB16     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by alanh_7:
Then again, Shepard put in a solid performece, more evidence Deke Slayton and the program chiefs knew what they were doing.
I have always thought that giving Shepard the command of Apollo 14 was among the more risky moves of the program. Although I would agree that he did a fine job during the "flying" portion of the flight...once on the lunar surface his performance was medocire at best. He failed to reach the rim of the crater which was a mission objective. I have always felt that if Shepard was to go back into the flight rotation, he should have at least served as a backup CDR before being given his own mission. As it turned out, if he had been a backup for Apollo 13 (or even 14 for that matter), he would have been able to command a lunar landing mission before the end of the program.

alanh_7
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posted 06-14-2008 09:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I always thought there was a an unwritten rule that in order to Command, an astronaut had had to have achieved orbital rendezvous at least once, whether if was in Gemini or Apollo. If so, that rule(if there was such) obviously seemed not to be apply to Shepard. I agree his performance on the ground was less than stellar, but I think from a PR point of view, the focus was on a successful landing to put the program back on track. On that score the mission was a success, though I think,it could have easily been achieved with another Commander and was risky to use Shepard. Personally I have always thought John Young seemed to be NASA's 'go to' guy and might have been a better choice for Apollo 14 rather than 16. I also think Tom Stafford deserved a shot.

Delta7
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posted 06-14-2008 09:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's interesting to speculate on how the fortunes of one particular individual could affect the entire crew selection process.

"What if" Scott Carpenter had flown a "textbook" MA-7 mission (and didn't break his wrist a couple of years later). One possible outcome:

Gemini 3: Grissom/Borman (Schirra/Stafford)
Gemini 4: McDivitt/White (Armstrong/Lovell)
Gemini 5: Carpenter/Conrad (Cooper/See)
Gemini 6: Schirra/Stafford (Borman/Young)
Gemini 7: Armstrong/Lovell (White/Collins)
Gemini 8: Cooper/Scott (Conrad/Gordon)
Gemini 9 Stafford/Cernan (Lovell/Williams)
Gemini 10: Borman/Aldrin (Armstrong/Anders)
Gemini 11: Young/Collins (Carpenter/Bean)
Gemini 12: Conrad/Gordon (Cooper/Cernan)

Carpenter takes over Post-Apollo Applications, later Skylab.

Apollo 7: Schirra, Eisele, Cunningham (Stafford, Young, Cernan).
Apollo 8: Borman, Lovell, Anders (Armstrong, Lovell, Aldrin)
Apollo 9: McDivitt, Scott, Schweikart (Conrad, Gordon, Bean)
Apollo 10: Stafford, Young, Cernan (Cooper, Eisele, Haise).
Apollo 11: Armstrong, Lovell, Aldrin (Borman, Collins, Anders)
Apollo 12: Conrad, Gordon, Bean (Scott, Worden, Irwin)
Apollo 13: Collins, Mattingly, Anders (Young, Swigert, Mitchell)
Apollo 14: Sheperd, Roosa, Haise (Lovell, Evans, Cernan)
Apollo 15: Scott, Worden, Irwin (Gordon, Brand, Schmitt)
Apollo 16: Young, Swigert, Mitchell (Anders, Roosa, Haise)
Apollo 17: Lovell, Evans, Schmitt (Young, Swigert, Mitchell)

Skylab 1: Carpenter, Kerwin, Engle (Cernan, Musgrave, Lousma)
Skylab 2: Conrad, Garriott, Carr (Schweikart, Lenoir, Pogue)
Skylab 3: Duke, Gibson, Weitz (Schweikart, Lenoir, Pogue)

ASTP: Stafford, Brand, Slayton (Roosa, Evans, Lind)

Mr Meek
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posted 06-14-2008 10:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mr Meek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm going to toss a wrench into the last post, I'm afraid. If See is still backup on GT-5, then Gordo Cooper dies with him in the crash at Lambert.

Delta7
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posted 06-14-2008 10:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mr Meek:
I'm going to toss a wrench into the last post, I'm afraid. If See is still backup on GT-5, then Gordo Cooper dies with him in the crash at Lambert.

Not really. After Gemini 5, Slayton promotes See to CDR of Gemini 9 with Bassett; same scenario. Cooper instead of Armstrong is paired with Scott.

RichieB16
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posted 06-14-2008 10:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RichieB16   Click Here to Email RichieB16     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mr Meek:
I'm going to toss a wrench into the last post, I'm afraid. If See is still backup on GT-5, then Gordo Cooper dies with him in the crash at Lambert.
Not necessarily. The backup crew for Gemini-5 ended up being broken up for the prime crews. The Gemini-5 CDR ended up commanding Gemini-8 (which would have fit the "tradition of making prime crew 3 flights after serving as a backup), which was Armstrong. Based on that...Cooper would have commanded Gemini-8 and not been killed with See. See was the backup pilot on Gemini-5 but was given the command of Gemini-9 along with Bassett who had never served as a backup. Therefore, See and Bassett would have still been killed.

Plus, if memory serves me... See (as commander) was flying the T-38 when the crash occurred. If Gemini-9 had been a Cooper/See flight, Cooper as CDR might have been at the controls instead of See when it came time to land the T-38 in St. Louis and maybe the crash never happens.

Delta7
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posted 06-14-2008 11:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I read that Deke did not want to assign See as Pilot on Gemini 8 with Armstrong because he didn't think that See (described as a "chain smoker" and one of the least "physically fit" of the Astronauts) was up the the physical demands of the planned 2-hour EVA. Deke's "solution" was to give See a command of his own, which would preclude him from having to do an EVA. This likely would have happened regardless of who See was paired with on the Gemini 5 backup crew.

Max Q
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posted 06-15-2008 03:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Max Q   Click Here to Email Max Q     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
I would caution against trying to judge a person's character based on what you perceive on TV or what you have read others say.
I seem to remember Buzz himself said he would have preferred a latter mission one with more challenges but came to this only after he lost his effort to become the first on the moon. Buzz in my opinion ( from what Ive read ) was a well educated highly skilled and very qualified Pilot & Astronaut. I just feel he is also a bit of a show pony nothing wrong with that either I just don't think it belongs on the pages of history that 11 became.

robsouth
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posted 06-15-2008 05:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In many ways Buzz keeps Apollo 11 alive and fresh, it could have become just part of history with other astronauts in the crew.

Max Q
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posted 06-15-2008 08:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Max Q   Click Here to Email Max Q     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I like Buzz I don't know the name of the guy but Buzz earned my un dying respect when he poped that bloke for suggesting that the never walked on the Moon. He told the world that day don't question my integrity.

Delta7
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posted 06-15-2008 09:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"What if" Ted Freeman decides to go fishing instead of flying on Oct. 31 1964?

(Picking up at GT-9)

Gemini 9: Stafford/Freeman (Lovell/Aldrin)
Gemini 10 Young/Collins (Bean/Williams)
Gemini 11 Conrad/Gordon (Armstrong/Cernan)
Gemini 12 Lovell/Aldrin (Cooper/Anders)

Apollo 7: Schirra,Eisele, Cunningham (Stafford, Young, Cernan)
Apollo 8: Borman, Freeman, Anders (Armstrong, Lovell, Haise)
Apollo 9: McDivitt, Scott, Schweikart (Conrad, Gordon, Bean)
Apollo 10: Stafford,Young, Cernan (Cooper, Aldrin, Mitchell)
Apollo 11: Armstrong, Lovell, Collins (Freeman, Anders, Haise)
Apollo 12: Conrad, Gordon, Bean (Scott, Worden, Irwin)
Apollo 13: Freeman, Roosa, Haise (Young, Mattingly, Duke)
Apollo 14: Sheperd, Aldrin, Mitchell (Lovell, Swigert, Engle)
Apollo 15: Scott, Worden, Irwin (Gordon, Evans, Schmitt)
Apollo 16: Young, Mattingly, Duke (Haise, Roosa, Mitchell)
Apollo 17: Lovell, Swigert, Schmitt (Young, Roosa, Duke)

Skylab 1: Conrad, Kerwin, Brand (Cernan, Musgrave, Lousma)
Skylab 2: Freeman, Garriott, Carr (Aldrin, Lenoir, Lind)
Skylab 3: Bean, Gibson, Weitz (Pogue, Thornton, McCandless)

ASTP: Stafford, Lousma, Slayton (Freeman, Swigert, Lind)

jasonelam
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posted 06-15-2008 10:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jasonelam   Click Here to Email jasonelam     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Assuming that Freeman had gone fishing instead of flying (previous post) and See and Bassett had waived off their approach to St. Louis:

Gemini 9: See/Bassett (Stafford/Cernan)
Gemini 10 Young/Freeman (Lovell/Aldrin)
Gemini 11 Conrad/Gordon (Armstrong/Cernan)
Gemini 12 Stafford/Cernan (Cooper/Anders)

Apollo 7: Schirra,Eisele, Cunningham (See, Collins, Cernan)
Apollo 8: Borman, Bassett, Anders (Armstrong, Lovell, Bassett)
Apollo 9: McDivitt, Scott, Schweikart (Conrad, Gordon, Bean)
Apollo 10: See,Young, Cernan (Cooper, Aldrin, Mitchell)
Apollo 11: Armstrong, Lovell, Bassett (Freeman, Anders, Stafford)
Apollo 12: Conrad, Gordon, Bean (Scott, Worden, Irwin)
Apollo 13: Freeman, Roosa, Stafford (Young, Mattingly, Duke)
Apollo 14: Sheperd, Aldrin, Mitchell (Lovell, Swigert, Engle)
Apollo 15: Scott, Worden, Irwin (Gordon, Evans, Schmitt)
Apollo 16: Young, Mattingly, Duke (Haise, Roosa, Mitchell)
Apollo 17: Lovell, Swigert, Schmitt (Young, Roosa, Duke)

Skylab 1: Conrad, Kerwin, Brand (Cernan, Musgrave, Lousma)
Skylab 2: Freeman, Garriott, Carr (See, Lenoir, Lind)
Skylab 3: Bean, Gibson, Weitz (Pogue, Thornton, McCandless)

ASTP: Stafford, Lousma, Slayton (Freeman, Swigert, Lind)

alanh_7
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posted 06-15-2008 12:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think one could make an argument that Neil Armstrong might have been a interesting call. While there is no doubt his performance was pretty much flawless on Apollo 11, and through no fault of his own the forced abort of Gemini 8 left him very space flight experience, one could make an argument that there were other more flight experienced pilots than Armstrong to command the first moon landing mission. And yet his performance was excellent, so the Crew Selection process must have been a solid one.

Tom
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From: New York
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 06-15-2008 12:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by jasonelam:
Apollo 13: Freeman, Roosa, Stafford (Young, Mattingly, Duke)
Just wondering, why would you have for Apollo 13 , Group 3 astronaut Freeman as CDR and Group 2 Stafford as LMP?

RichieB16
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From: Oregon
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 06-15-2008 02:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RichieB16   Click Here to Email RichieB16     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by alanh_7:
I think one could make an argument that Neil Armstrong might have been a interesting call. While there is no doubt his performance was pretty much flawless on Apollo 11, and through no fault of his own the forced abort of Gemini 8 left him very space flight experience, one could make an argument that there were other more flight experienced pilots than Armstrong to command the first moon landing mission. And yet his performance was excellent, so the Crew Selection process must have been a solid one.
I have been critical of putting Armstrong on Apollo 11 for a long time... although his performance was excellent so it was a good pick. I have always looked at his previous experience as kind of a double edged sword. Its true that there were other astronauts with more spaceflight time, in fact Armstrong had the least of all of the Apollo 11 crew. However, I have always felt that his performance on Gemini-8 might have been a big part of why he was picked for Apollo 11. I have never read that anywhere (so its purely my belief).

Look at what was going on in early 1966. In February, 2 astronauts were killed (See & Bassett) while flying to St. Louis and that probably put pressure on the space program for pushing to hard and risking lives. Less than a month later, NASA launches Gemini-8... the first docking mission and something NASA really needs to go right to get the program back on track. I would imagine a fatal accident on Gemini-8 (making 2 separate fatal accidents in less than a month) would have possibly ended the program. Not long after the docking, that feared disaster begins to happen. Armstrong basically single handily took control of the moment and took the necessary steps to save the mission and their lives. With the tracking network at the time, he didn't have much of a chance to get a lot of help from the ground. Although his actions caused an abort, he saved the mission and the life of himself and Dave Scott. I have always believed that his quick thinking during Gemini-8 earned him the command of the first lunar landing.

I know I have said I would have picked a different commander if I had been in Deke's seat... but I have always believed this played a key in Neil's selection.

alanh_7
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Posts: 1049
From: Ajax, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 06-15-2008 05:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by RichieB16:
Armstrong basically single handily took control of the moment and took the necessary steps to save the mission and their lives. With the tracking network at the time, he didn't have much of a chance to get a lot of help from the ground. Although his actions caused an abort, he saved the mission and the life of himself and Dave Scott. I have always believed that his quick thinking during Gemini-8 earned him the command of the first lunar landing.
I have no doubt Armstrongs performance in the Gemini 8 Mission was a key factor. The decision to abort might have saved the program. I also think some of it was simply Armstrong was next in line in the rotation for Apollo 11. Had there been any apprenhension I am sure Armstrong would not have flown the mission.
There is no doubt he was one of the most experienced test pilots prior to his joining the astronaut corps. I also think Armstrong had an excellent co-pilot on Gemini 8 in Dave Scott. I am not being critical of Neil Armstrong in any way. I would never do that, I respect his achievments to much to for that. I think the performance of all the astronauts was out standing in every way. I think it is testiment to the selection process and the quality of the crews available, that there success was so out standing.

WAWalsh
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From: Cortlandt Manor, NY
Registered: May 2000

posted 06-16-2008 09:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for WAWalsh   Click Here to Email WAWalsh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The questions concerning Armstrong and Shepard as commanders are a bit curious. Certainly, as should be noted for Armstrong, there was no guarantee until after Apollo X that Apollo XI would even be the first landing mission. As to Shepard, pilot egos aside, did he really have anything to prove before getting a mission?

If one is inspired to questions Deke's decisions, the other that merits some examination would be Gene Cernan as the commander of Apollo 17. The guy played a role in nearly causing Snoopy to crash into the Moon and he managed to plow a helicopter into a river. Add to this McDivitt's alleged disagreement with Cernan's selection and you have valid grounds for opting for the equally qualified and less accident prone Dick Gordon as the commander for 17. Of course, if you change matters in that way, you lose perhaps the best spokesman for the program out of the 12 who walked on the Moon.

alanh_7
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Posts: 1049
From: Ajax, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 06-16-2008 01:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I may have started this thread, however I do not think I have been critical of Slayton's choice of Neil Armstrong as commander. I may have said there were other commanders with more space time than Neil Armstrong that might have been selected for the first lunar landing. Of course each mission was subject to the success of the previous, but NASA was planning in the event that Apollo X was a successful flight ,subject to that success they hoped Apollo 11 would be a landing attempt. As for Shepard,I agree he had nothing to prove. But there were also other commanders with more flight time. That both flew excellent missions, is testament to the fact that Deke Slayton and the selection process worked pretty well and NASA's training and the talent of the flight crews was without question.

RichieB16
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Posts: 309
From: Oregon
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 06-16-2008 06:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RichieB16   Click Here to Email RichieB16     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't think Shepard had anything to prove either. However, Shepard flew MR-3 and was backup for MA-9. He did do some preliminary training as the commander of the first Gemini flight but, he never served as a commander or backup commander for Gemini nor did he serve on an Apollo backup crew. So, when he made his return to the flight rotation he was immediately bumped to the head of the line and give the command of the next lunar landing mission (Apollo 13). Although he wasn't approved for 13 and eventually bumped to Apollo 14, he was still given pretty special treatment. If you were an astronaut who had served as a backup and prime crew-member during Gemini and/or Apollo working to earn a spot on a lunar landing and then someone got put a head of you who hadn't done that...how would you feel. This is the main reason I don't think Shepard should have been given Apollo 14. In all honesty, I think given the backup CDR position for Apollo 14 would have even been a stretch (putting him in line to command Apollo 17). I'm shocked it didn't cause a bigger up rising among the astronauts than it did.

VolMan
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Posts: 11
From: Atlanta, GA USA
Registered: May 2007

posted 06-16-2008 06:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for VolMan   Click Here to Email VolMan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Regarding Armstrong's selection to command the first lunar mission the simple rationale was that the mission hit his place in the line.

After the fire Deke identified 6 Apollo command astros; Schirra, Borman, McDivitt, Stafford, Armstrong, and Conrad. Deke then built crews from the 2nd and 3rd class to fill out the 6 crews.

This was Deke's way of organizing the astro office after Gemini. The rotation just worked out in Armstrong's favor. Deke was well known for stating that any crew could fly any mission.

Now at this point, Gordo had to know that he was out of things. I dont like that as I wanted to see him fly to the moon. Gordo; though, did have his chanes to square things away.


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