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  Playing Deke for a day: alternate crew selections (Page 3)

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Author Topic:   Playing Deke for a day: alternate crew selections
alanh_7
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posted 06-16-2008 07:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have always felt the guy who should have had a shot at a landing was Tom Stafford. The important work he did for the program was excellent and I have always felt he should have had a chance.

Fra Mauro
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posted 06-16-2008 10:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with that thought but I didn't think he should have been on the ASTP crew. He had already flown 3 missions and there were astronauts who were still waiting to fly.

capoetc
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posted 06-17-2008 08:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by alanh_7:
I have always felt the guy who should have had a shot at a landing was Tom Stafford. The important work he did for the program was excellent and I have always felt he should have had a chance.

Of course, we don't know whether he had a shot at a moon landing (or do we?).

People often think that astronauts would gladly line up after flying an Apollo mission to enter the rat race again, serving a tour as a back-up crewman hoping to get assigned to a later prime crew. However, at least for some, the opportunity to walk on the moon may have been somewhat outweighed by the personal toll it took to be an Apollo crewman. Long hours in classrooms/simulators, etc, meant that it was difficult to maintain some semblance of an orderly life.

Maybe, having been in orbit around the moon and Kennedy's goal already being accomplished, Stafford might have enjoyed just pulling the throttles back a bit.

alanh_7
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posted 06-17-2008 09:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with you John. We have no idea what Mr Staffords state of mind was following Apollo X. He may have had the chance to go back into the rotation but did not wish it. All those hours training as both prime and back up crew must have been tiring, maybe he needed a break. Just speculation on my part. It is obvious he did not lose his enthusiasm for space flight, having later flown the ASTP. But at the time of the landings, maybe he did have a choice.

Delta7
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posted 06-17-2008 09:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mike Collins turned down backup CDR Apollo 14/CDR Apollo 17. Frank Borman probably could have got flight #3 if he wanted it. I'm sure their decision to move on to other things in life had something to do with family considerations. Incidentally, both are among the very few early astronauts who are still married to their original "astronaut wives".

BMckay
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posted 06-17-2008 10:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for BMckay   Click Here to Email BMckay     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I like who they picked. I would/t change anything. They all made decisions which they thought were correct.

Richard Glueck
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posted 06-17-2008 05:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard Glueck   Click Here to Email Richard Glueck     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Several small points to add- Carpenter's physical condition was something that stood out in selection, and none of the others compared. Carpenter greeted the psychiatrists as an interested person, not as an adversary, and lastly, Carpenter's mind was honed to what he was going to accomplish by being "out there". His friendship/bond with John Glenn set him apart from the other five, who were, frankly, intimidated by Glenn's personality and "all-American" press. In Kraft's book, he devoted a chapter - a full chapter - to demeaning Carpenter, yet other people who were there have consistently opined, "I don't remember it that way". One thing in particular is Kraft writing about Carpenter "playing with switches" on a control panel back on earth during a training session, which turns out to have actually been Grissom. It is true that other flight controllers get on the "bash Carpenter" band wagon, but it is Kraft who goes over the top.

Next, regarding Cunningham, who also gets the kiss of death from Kraft; Kraft laughs in one of the post era video documentaries and says, "I may have been a bit too severe with him" (or something close to that). That's a pretty flip attitude to say about a man's flight career, thirty years after derailing it! For all he did towards Skylab, as a straight arrow, Cunningham might have been given another shot. Eisele, on the other hand, had several "unacceptables" for a second flight, including the Apollo 7 rebellion, and an open affair at the Cape.

I have always felt that Wally's "ace in the hole" was the fact he was in the Original 7. He got his slots after others got named, and this grated him. Perhaps it is a combination of his skill, professionalism, and luck, that put him in all three space craft. Schirra was angry about the way management handled the program long before the fire, and that made him difficult to handle at the very least.

Last, and Kris is welcomed to correct me, the jockeying for a flight, to be assigned a capsule, was foremost in the minds of the Original 7. I once spoke to Alan Shepard very briefly about Scott not getting another flight, and he said it was "not only the overshoot, but other things", however Shepard refused to expand on that. Remember that Carpenter changed Deke's "Delta 7" into "Aurora 7", which cut Deke to the bone, and colored his feelings no doubt. Maybe he thought a true brother would have refused the assignment, but I doubt any of the others would. Deke would have had the same thruster issues as Scott. Would he have faired better? Maybe on the fuel situation. Who knows? In FSS, Rene (Carpenter) recalls sitting pool side with Gus and having Grissom reflect from his own misery, "Scotty is just too sensitive!"

In the end, the flight assignments worked, and there were enough trained pilots to fill the needs, especially given the deaths that occurred during and surrounding training. All the astronauts were ready and eager to throw themselves into the challenges ahead of them. I seriously doubt one crew was technically better than another, although some stand out as amazing, Bean's Skylab crew and Conrad's A12 crew in particular. There were, however, some very mercurial personalities involved in assignments, and those people changed the courses of men's careers and legacies. It wasn't all without prejudice.

alanh_7
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posted 06-17-2008 08:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree, that whatever the reasons, the crew selections worked. It is a testament to the training and crews, the support staff and and engineers, that everything came together sucessfully.

jasonelam
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posted 06-17-2008 10:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jasonelam   Click Here to Email jasonelam     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have to agree that whether we have changed the selection process or not history shows that the process actually worked out well. The events that doomed some persons in the flight process could have been of their own making, though others could have been from simply bad luck. Any astronaut could have been the victim of fuel overuse, an overshoot and the like.

Could another crew had a different solution? Would Charlie Bassett have had less trouble than Gene Cernan on the GT-9 spacewalk? Would Deke Slayton have had an easier flight than Carpenter's flight? The world will never know if that were the case, but if history has shown us, the flight crews that were selected were the best for what had to be done for that flight.

RichieB16
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posted 06-17-2008 11:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RichieB16   Click Here to Email RichieB16     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I know I have been critical of some crew decisions during the Apollo program, but like has bee said...the missions all worked out so Deke must have known what he was doing.

I have always believed that you could pick any mission flown, put the names of all the astronauts and draw 3 at random out of a hat...and your crew could fly that mission. These were men who were the best in the world. Any could have flown any of the missions in any of the positions and done a good job. They may have killed each other because of personal differences...but they would have gotten the job done.

capoetc
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posted 06-18-2008 06:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by BMckay:
I like who they picked. I would/t change anything. They all made decisions which they thought were correct.

Nicely stated.

I once had a military history professor (PhD type) who said that, when analyzing events in history, it is wise to always consider 2 points:

1. Personalities matter.

2. People make the decisions they make for what, to them, are good reasons at that time.

I have found that remembering these two things makes me less likely to play "armchair quarterback" with history.

Fra Mauro
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posted 06-18-2008 10:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While it is fun to play Deke Slayton in a sense, it is true that in the end the missions worked. We do have the hindsight of knowing what went on and I think we put our personal preferences when making crew selections.

Delta7
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posted 06-18-2008 11:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's another "what if?" scenario: Donn Eisele does not injure his shoulder in late 1965, and is announced as a member of the first Apollo crew. (There's still some argument as to whether the original crew was to have been Grissom/White/Eisele or Grissom/Eisele/Chaffee, but I'm going with the latter).

Apollo 7: Schirra/White/Cunningham (Stafford/Young/Cernan)* Ed White does not get caught up in the "attitude" problem, and Cunningham doesn't get dragged down either as a result. Only Schirra winds up on Kraft's s--t list after the mission.

Apollo 8: Borman/Lovell/Anders (Armstrong/Aldrin/Haise)
Apollo 9: McDivitt/Scott/Schweikart (Conrad/Gordon/Bean)
Apollo 10: Stafford/Young/Cernan (White/Cunningham/Mitchell)
Apollo 11: Armstrong/Collins/Aldrin (Lovell/Anders/Haise)
Apollo 12: Conrad/Gordon/Bean (Scott/Roosa/Irwin)
Apollo 13: White/Cunningham/Mitchell (Young/Worden/Duke)
Apollo 14: Lovell/Mattingly/Haise (Shepard/Swigert/Engle)
Apollo 15: Scott/Roosa/Irwin (Gordon/Brand/Schmitt)
Apollo 16: Young/Worden/Duke (Haise/Mattingly/Mitchell)
Apollo 17: Shepard/Swigert/Schmitt (Young/Worden/Duke)

Skylab 1: Conrad/Kerwin/Carr (Cernan/Musgrave/Lousma)
Skylab 2: Bean/Garriott/Evans (Brand/Lenoir/Lind)
Skylab 3: White/Gibson/Pogue (Brand/Lenoir/Lind)

ASTP: Stafford/Lousma/Slayton (Bean/Evans/McCandless)

WAWalsh
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posted 06-18-2008 01:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for WAWalsh   Click Here to Email WAWalsh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Okay Delta, someone has to ask it -- what happened to poor Bill Anders, how did he go from back-up on A11 to a no-show for A14? [The crew dynamics of Apollo 13 with White, Cunningham and Mitchell, also, would have been interesting, I suspect]

Bram
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posted 06-18-2008 01:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bram   Click Here to Email Bram     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have always wondered why Don Lind didn't got a chance to fly Apollo. He was back-up for Skylab, very well trained and did not get a chance to fly ASTP or even one of the early shuttle flights.

Delta7
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posted 06-18-2008 02:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by WAWalsh:
Okay Delta, someone has to ask it -- what happened to poor Bill Anders, how did he go from back-up on A11 to a no-show for A14? [The crew dynamics of Apollo 13 with White, Cunningham and Mitchell, also, would have been interesting, I suspect]

Same as what actually happened. Slayton wanted a CMP with flight experience on both the prime and backup crews for Apollo 11. After promoting Lovell to CDR, it made sense to move Anders to CMP with rookie Haise as LMP. As Anders said years later, he would have liked to have flown again if he could have actually landed on the moon, but just going into lunar orbit again wasn't worth it. He decided to retire after finishing his Apollo 11 assignment, and was replaced on Lovell's crew by Ken Mattingly. I simply kept that scenario in there.

Delta7
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posted 06-18-2008 02:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Bram:
I have always wondered why Don Lind didn't got a chance to fly Apollo. He was back-up for Skylab, very well trained and did not get a chance to fly ASTP or even one of the early shuttle flights.

Lind might very well have been the LMP on Apollo 20 had that mission flown. I also always wondered why he didn't get assigned as PLT on a Skylab mission. Being that he met the standard for both Pilot AND Scientist-Astronaut (PhD. Nuclear Physics), NASA would in effect had a 2nd Science-Pilot on the crew.

As far as the Shuttle goes, I remember reading back in the 1970s that he started out training as a Shuttle Pilot, but later switched to Mission Specialist (no reason given). I would have thought he would have been one of the first MS to fly (STS-5 or 6). I would guess he might have wound up on the notoriously fickle George Abbey's "Not one of my favorites" list, for whatever reason (which was rarely, if ever, given). Abbey seemed to feel obligated to give each astronaut one flight, but after that all bets were off. And it seems he held out as long as possible for Lind. Kind of a shame; he should have flown several missions, starting with Skylab.

Delta7
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posted 06-18-2008 04:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It would have been neat if the STS-5 crew had been Brand, Overmyer, Lenoir and Lind (The Skylab 2 & 3 backup crew +1)

Delta7
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posted 06-19-2008 04:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's a few "what ifs" of less potential impact:

-Duane Graveline doesn't leave NASA: serves as Skylab 1 backup science pilot (Schweikart/Graveline/McCandless). Finally flies on Shuttle.

-Curt Michel stays: Science Pilot, Skylab 3 (Carr/Michel/Pogue). Ed Gibson serves as backup Science Pilot for Skylab 2 & 3 (Brand/Gibson/Lind), later flies Shuttle.

-John Bull isn't medically disqualified: winds up as John Young's LMP (Young/Swigert/Bull); backup LMP Apollo 13; LMP Apollo 16; backup LMP, Apollo 17. Shuttle Commander?

-Ed Givens stays home on the evening of 6/6/67: becomes Jim Lovell's CMP for Apollo 13; in line for backup CDR Apollo 16/CDR Apollo 19, until the latter is cancelled. CMP, ASTP. Shuttle Commander?

cddfspace
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posted 07-11-2008 07:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cddfspace   Click Here to Email cddfspace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I read (maybe in First Man) where Deke originally went to Armstrong with the idea of switching out Aldrin for Lovell as LMP. Armstrong felt that Lovell should have his own command and declined.

WHAT IF... Armstrong said yes.

Let's assume that Apollo 11 is now Armstrong, Collins, Lovell. Does Lovell then want to command his own mission to the moon? He would back up Apollo 14, then command 17. Cernan would be told this and accept the Apollo 16 LMP position. Apollo 12 (as the Apollo 9 back up crew) would remain the same. So what would the rest of the rotations look like- where would Buzz get his shot to walk on the moon? Would Duke jump into another crew? Who would command 13?

Apollo 11- Armstrong, Collins, Lovell
Apollo 12- Conrad, Gordon, Bean
Apollo 13- ??
Apollo 14- Shepard, ?, ?
Apollo 15- Scott, ?, ?
Apollo 16- Young, ?, Cernan
Apollo 17- Lovell, Evans, Schmitt

kr4mula
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posted 07-11-2008 12:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If Lovell had been on the first landing crew, do you think he would've gotten another assignment at all? Maybe he or NASA would've felt it better to quit while ahead, as the actually 11 crew did.

Tom
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posted 07-11-2008 03:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by cddfspace:
Apollo 13- ??
For Apollo 13, possibly McDivitt could have been convinced to take the flight, with Mattingly as CMP and Aldrin as LMP, or maybe Aldrin as CMP with Schweickart as LMP.

Delta7
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posted 07-12-2008 10:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by cddfspace:
I read (maybe in First Man) where Deke originally went to Armstrong with the idea of switching out Aldrin for Lovell as LMP. Armstrong felt that Lovell should have his own command and declined.

I got the impression that Slayton was talking about Lovell as CMP and Collins as LMP. Lovell had just navigated to the moon and back as CMP, so that would make more sense. Aldrin's efforts to get the flight plan changed to make HIM the first to go out of the LM were well-known, as well as the friction it created between Armstrong and Aldrin. Slayton was possibly offering Armstrong the opportunity to replace Aldrin, with Collins (who had originally been selected as an LMP in 1966).

Aldrin stated in his biography Return To Earth that he considered asking Slayton to be removed from Apollo 11, once it became a foregone conclusion that Armstrong would be the first out. His thinking at that point was that he'd rather fly on one of the later landing missions which would spend more time on the surface and be more scientifically-oriented. Aldrin then decided doing so would be too risky, as there was no guarantee he'd get another flight.

Maybe Slayton had an inkling of Aldrin's feelings. And Aldrin may not have objected too much if he had been replaced on Apollo 11.

Tom
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posted 07-12-2008 10:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by kr4mula:
If Lovell had been on the first landing crew, do you think he would've gotten another assignment at all? Maybe he or NASA would've felt it better to quit while ahead, as the actually 11 crew did.
Kevin, I don't believe NASA discouraged any of the Apollo 11 astronauts from flying another mission.

In fact Slayton asked Collins before the flight to consider backing up 14 with a potential CDR slot on 17.

As far as Armstrong and Aldrin were concerned, they probably felt that landing on 11 was the ultimate flight...what could top that?

Lou Chinal
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posted 07-12-2008 02:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Richard Glueck, I have to say your right. I often felt that Kraft resented ALL the astronauts. Schirra knew Apollo 7 would be his last flight even before he took off. He and Kraft had locked horns long before over who was "in charge". Schirra made it clear that once the bolts blew he was flying the mission his way.

I will not even go into how Kraft crucified Carpenter.

Did Cunningham get the short end of the stick? I think so, but life isn't always fair.

Fra Mauro
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posted 07-13-2008 11:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As far as Aldrin or Armstrong flying again, I see two factors involved --- one, as the lunar flights were limited in number, it would seem unfair to give someone a second lunar landing as long as there were astronauts who hadn't had a shot yet. Second, Aldrin wasn't a favorite at NASA, going back to his EVA suggestions on Gemini 9.

As for Kraft, he was a tough manager, and it seemed that once you were in his doghouse, you couldn't get out but he did get the job done.

rasorenson
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posted 06-15-2010 05:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for rasorenson   Click Here to Email rasorenson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So this thread has been quiet for some time. Maybe we've all played Deke for a day.

Scanning through this post I found no reference to Alan Shepard's role of sharing the head of astronaut office authority with Deke Slayton for all those years. Astronauts didn't just need to stay on Slayton's good side but Shepard's as well.

Shepard was determined to join the flight line ever since his diagnosis with Miniere's disease (as perhaps did Slayton). Shepard's choice (his decision?) to fly as CDR of Apollo 14 came just after having surgery that cleared his medical status for flight. I'm not the one to claim Shepard's choice was his own prerogative (along with Slayton's agreement) but it's well known Shepard cared little for participating in geologic science on the moon. Granted he was there as a pilot first and foremost. But many other astronauts had put in much more time in field training and simulations than Shepard.

We acknowledge the competition to get a flight assignment, but Shepard clearly trumped others' qualifications by virture of his position in the astronaut office. Regardless of how much people may think Shepard deserved the CDR seat, this was power politics. From what I've read, Alan Shepard did not kid around.

Fra Mauro
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posted 06-16-2010 01:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think Shepard's selection as Apollo 14 CDR is one of the most discussed issues on this thread. I agree that it was a power play that affected numerous astronauts, even in a positive way, like his crewmates. If he deserved the spot, well, that's another matter.

Delta7
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posted 06-16-2010 10:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I always wonder if Gordon Cooper hadn't been an easy target for Shepard's ambitions and desires, would Al have been able to pull it off? If circumstances had been different and someone else had been in line for that slot, especially someone like McDivitt or Borman or Stafford or Young, would Slayton have told them they're SOL because Al wants the flight? There would have been rumbles of mutiny and maybe even some resignations in protest in my opinion. It seems most people knew Cooper was on borrowed time and nothing more than a bench-warmer at that point, and would have been replaced regardless. But one of the other solid performers is a different matter. And above all, Slayton seemed like a very fair manager, and if you did a good job you would be rewarded. And I don't see Al being able to override Deke.

Personally, without the Cooper situation I think the best Al would have done is backup CDR of Apollo 13 or 14 (certainly over Cernan), and then on to Apollo 16 or 17. But I could be wrong...

WAWalsh
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posted 06-16-2010 12:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for WAWalsh   Click Here to Email WAWalsh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The perceptions/reality of Cooper's approach to training certainly made it easier for Shepard to jump the line. Presuming maximum effort from Gordo, I agree with the prediction that Cernan would have lost out.

That said, with the greater complexity of the J missions, Shepard might have still gotten 14. The reshuffle might have ended up 13 - Cooper, 14 - Shepard, 15 - Lovell, 16 - Young, 17 - Scott

Fra Mauro
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posted 06-16-2010 11:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wonder how Al would have fared on a 3-EVA mission, esp. with all the geology training involved. I don't think he would have flown a later mission. I also wonder if there was any resentment in the Astronaut Office towards Stu Roosa, who didn't have to be a backup before he flew.

moorouge
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posted 06-17-2010 05:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It may, or may not help, when considering crew selection possibilities to take note of the following.

The only crews to fly where all three crew members had flight experience were Apollo's 10 and 11.

Four others had a crew where two of the crew had previous experience. These were Apollo's 1, 8, 9, and 12. Apollo 7 appears to be an anomaly with only Schirra having flown before. Was this as a result of the Apollo 1 fire as this crew were the back-up crew?

All flights from 13 on had only one member of the crew with previous experience. Was this policy in view of the growing astronaut corps?

Interestingly, the most experienced crew in terms of flight time was Apollo 8 with 31 days, 11 hours and 47 minutes of flight time. The second most experienced crew was that of 13 with 22 days, 20 hours and 12 minutes between them - all down to Lovell.

The crew with the least flight time was 14 with just 15 minutes experience. Did this contribute to the fact that this was probably the most criticised of the Apollo missions.

In a rank order of experience, the 11 crew come 8th. The full list is - 8, 13, 12, 16, 17, 15, 10, 11, 9, 1, 7, 14.

Incidentally, Carpenter was never in contention for another flight having lost his flight status following a scooter accident which left him with impaired mobility in his left arm.

Fra Mauro
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posted 06-17-2010 08:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I never heard the Carpenter scooter story before. I guess they flew two rookies on the later Apollo flights due to two factors -- veterans had started to leave NASA and there was a feeling to try and get as many astronauts as possible a flight. However, I am sure that if vets had stayed around few of the rookies would have flown.

Delta7
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posted 06-17-2010 08:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fra Mauro:
I also wonder if there was any resentment in the Astronaut Office towards Stu Roosa, who didn't have to be a backup before he flew.

Roosa replaced Donn Eisele, whose career demise likely came as no surprise to anyone. The only other veteran who might have contended for the spot was Walt Cunningham, who also had supposedly been blacklisted by Kraft after Apollo 7. It really and practically had to be one of the rookies from the 5th group, so why not Roosa? There might have been some professional jealousy, but I doubt any resentment that somehow Roosa didn't deserve or earn the spot, any more or less than other group 5 members would have incurred.

Keep in mind that Deke had the rule for early Apollo missions that anyone in a position to fly the CM solo had to be a veteran, including backups. That's likely why Eisele, despite Slayton's and Kraft's misgivings, was assigned to the Apollo 10 backup crew (and also why Bill Anders was assigned as backup CMP of Apollo 11, and not LMP as he would have preferred). Eventually, that rule was dropped, and Roosa got the prime crew slot over Eisele, who was likely never going to fly again anyway.

Delta7
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posted 06-17-2010 10:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would also add that Deke always seemed to be looking far down the road with regard to flight assignments. It's likely that he saw whomever he picked as CMP for Apollos 13 and 14 would go on to serve as backup CDRs for Apollos 16 and 17, then fly as CDR of Apollos 19 and 20. Roosa and Mattingly were those picks, an indication of their esteem on the part of Deke. Get them in the pipeline early, and groom them for eventual command.

moorouge
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posted 06-17-2010 02:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Further to my previous posting and further food for thought.

After Mercury only four flights in the Gemini/Apollo era were 'virgin' missions, i.e. flown by a crew with no flight experience. These were Gemini 4, 7, 8 and Skylab 4.

This compares with just five missions with an experienced crew member out of 17 during the same period flown by the Russians.

Rick Boos
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posted 06-17-2010 05:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Boos   Click Here to Email Rick Boos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does Joe Engle fit in anywhere? Remember he got booted out of Apollo 17.

jasonelam
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posted 06-18-2010 09:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jasonelam   Click Here to Email jasonelam     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The most interesting thing that we can see from all these "alternate" crew selections is the affect that history, fate, and luck (or lack thereof). If See and Bassett had landed safely in St. Louis that day, if Givens' VW had stopped in time, had Charlie Duke not gotten the Measles... the list goes on and on.

It seems that the selection of crews may have been made by Deke, but eventually it came down to fate and luck. If things had been perfect, we are fairly confident (based on Deke's own observations) that Armstrong wouldn't have been first on the moon. Who knows what would have been. That's what makes it interesting.

moorouge
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posted 06-18-2010 10:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by jasonelam:
If things had been perfect, we are fairly confident (based on Deke's own observations) that Armstrong wouldn't have been first on the moon.
How much was the selection of the 'first' actually down to Deke and how much down to political considerations?

The feeling at the time was that the 'first' should be a civilian to reflect the peaceful nature of the Moon landing. Armstrong was a civilian.

The interesting point now arises as to what NASA would have done if the first landing failed. Would they have gone against their political masters or would they have found another civilian?

mark plas
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posted 06-18-2010 11:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mark plas   Click Here to Email mark plas     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Apollo 11 crew was promised that if they would fail to land on the moon they would get another try on the very next mission.


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