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  Playing Deke for a day: alternate crew selections (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   Playing Deke for a day: alternate crew selections
Fra Mauro
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posted 04-09-2004 10:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Okay, if you were Deke Slayton, is there a crew selection you would have made differently?

dave
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posted 04-09-2004 10:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dave   Click Here to Email dave     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For sure the Apollo 11 Prime Crew:
  • CMDR Slayton
  • CMP Mike Collins
  • LMP Buzz Aldrin

Fra Mauro
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posted 04-11-2004 07:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A rookie as the first man to pilot a LM to the surface?

dss65
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posted 04-11-2004 10:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dss65   Click Here to Email dss65     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Excellent point, but if anybody could have pulled it off, it would have been Deke.

micropooz
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posted 04-11-2004 10:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can't remember if Deke made the selections for Skylab 3 (SL-4) or not, but that was one crew that had a lot of problems. They actually had a work boycott at one point in the mission. And this was right after Bean's Skylab 2 (SL-3) crew got everything done with smiles and laughs.

Hindsight says Skylab 3 should have been a different crew or different mix.

WAWalsh
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posted 04-13-2004 11:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for WAWalsh   Click Here to Email WAWalsh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I keep playing this question over in my mind and really cannot find a concrete example for a flight crew change. I do have a few possible thoughts.
  • I disagree with the complaints on the Skylab crew. My recollection, without looking up to confirm, is that MC did not give the new crew sufficient time to acclimate to life on Skylab and expected them to step immediately into the shoes of the second crew. Space sickness caused delays and the crew kept battling to try and catch up until things reached a point where they need to declare a break or risk safety. Anyway, unless people are willing to point a finger at the Apollo 7 crew for their actions, then the Skylab IV crew should be left off the list.

  • The real challenge goes to assessing the Gemini crews. As much as one might wish to have seen CC Williams, Bill Anders, Alan Bean or any of the other Group 3 folks in the pilot seat, who are you going to bounce? The two closest calls that I can find would be Bassett and Aldrin. Both were as qualified and Aldrin's training made him the most logical pick to serve as pilot for GT-12. Certainly, the personalities and constructions of future crews might have been very different if Anders had flown on GT-12 instead.

  • The only obvious crew selection that requires scrutiny is Apollo 14. Yanking Gordo out of the flight rotation and jumping Alan Shepard back to the front of the line is inconsistent with all prior crew selections.

  • As a variation on the theme, did NASA err in selecting Carpenter over Conrad or Lovell as part of the Mercury program?

KC Stoever
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posted 04-13-2004 12:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It would be nice to lay this old canard about Carpenter to rest.

Regarding the 1959 selection of the Project Mercury astronauts, I commend Carpenter's memoirs, described by Jim Oberg in his review for the IEEE's Spectrum (Feb. 2003) as providing the "best published account" of this important but still little-understood chapter in space medicine.

It is clear from the scientific literature (including NASA memoranda and published papers), and suggested in THE RIGHT STUFF, that Conrad was considered too immature in 1959 for inclusion. This was essentially a psychological assessment determined a couple of different ways--peer ratings, observations by clinicians in Phases 3 and 4, self-assessments, and various psych-testing tools.

Of the 32 men who advanced to Lovelace and Wright-Patterson, Conrad and about a dosen others were ultimately recommended "with medical reservations," important language the working group devised to mean "not recommended." Lovell fell in this group somewhat by chance, as he had contracted some virus or bacterial infection prior to the Lovelace and Wright-Patterson trials. It affected some of his bilirubin readings--readings that medically disqualified him.

It is difficult to tell from the NASA literature how his performance compared with the top contenders.

Perhaps one day, through an FOIA, we can find out the actual numerical rankings of the 32. Of the seven ultimately chosen, all we know is their numerical rank (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 10, and 15), not who was ranked HOW.

Who was 4? Who was 6? 7? The Selection Committee asked the Working Group NOT to provide specific recommendations, only general. It made its selection not knowing the numerical rankings devised by the human-factors specialists at Lovelace (Dr. Sam White, Dr. Ulrich Luft), Wright-Patterson's Dr. George Ruff, and the US Navy's Dr. Robert Voas.

Interestingly, of the 32 semifinalists who were recommended "with medical reservations," only Conrad and Lovell (and perhaps another) showed up for the Group 2 selection process held in 1962.

It is my best guess, based on interviews of the principals and a reading of the literature, that Glenn, Carpenter, and Shepard (in no particular order) were the top three candidates--after that it gets way more speculative.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-13-2004 12:23 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 KC Stoever:
Interestingly, of the 32 semifinalists who were NOT selected, only Conrad and Lovell (and perhaps another) showed up for the Group 2 selection process held in 1962.
Which raises an interesting question: is a list of the 32 public knowledge? Some of the names (other than the seven selected) are known because they later became astronauts or have come forward themselves, but it would be very interesting to learn of the other 20 or so that for whatever reason did not qualify.

KC Stoever
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posted 04-13-2004 12:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One British scholar has a pretty exhaustive list — which I've cached on my desktop email.

I'll find it today and post the names.

Bob Solliday, a Patuxent classmate of Conrad and Lovell and Schirra, was one of the 32 finalists (and the only other Marine besides Glenn) from 1959 who reappeared for Group 2 selection.

He and Slayton had sparred unpleasantly at Wright-Patterson in 1959 (Slayton called him a kid). Solliday later offered that Slayton, who was in charge of the 1962 selection, recalled their rivalry and this affected the Group 2 selection.

KenDavis
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posted 04-13-2004 02:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KenDavis   Click Here to Email KenDavis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think there should have been room for one more Skylab crew. Unllike the earlier comment, I don't think thee was anything wrong with the Carr, Gibson, Pogue crew but I have never understood why Cunningham was never named to a prime Skylab slot as he did so much development work.

I would have liked to have seen a Cunningham, Lind, Lenoir crew fly.

We could then speculate endlessly about if Skylab B had ever been launched giving the possibilty of three more crews. How about:

  • Cunningham
  • Lind
  • Lenoir

  • Stafford
  • Brand
  • Musgrave

  • Gordon
  • McCandless
  • Allen
Given that scenario Deke might have got command of ASTP with a Slayton, Roosa, Parker crew.

Tom
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posted 04-13-2004 07:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Deke did one heck of a job assigning astronauts on all Gemini, Apollo, and Skylab missions.

However, the one choice that always bothered me was when he didn't use the entire Gemini 7 back-up crew (White and Collins) to fly Gemini 10.

I always felt that since Grissom and Young were kept as a team to back-up Gemini 6, that they would go on to Apollo as well.

Cougar20
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posted 04-13-2004 10:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cougar20   Click Here to Email Cougar20     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KenDavis:
...but I have never understood why Cunningham was never named to a prime Skylab slot as he did so much development work.
I think Cunningham was grounded permanently by Chris Kraft as part of the backlash from the Apollo 7 flight. Not sure, but several books do have exact quotes from both men, including Kraft's own book.

What if Slayton had bumped Cernan's Apollo 17 crew and put Gordon's in? Gordon would have been the first and only person to go to the moon on two successful lunar landings.

Could someone please verify about Cunningham just to make sure my facts are correct?

BobbyA
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posted 04-14-2004 01:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for BobbyA   Click Here to Email BobbyA     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Gordo Cooper was the only Gemini astronaut not assigned to a prime Apollo Crew. He should have commanded Apollo 13, being he was the back up on Apollo 10.

WAWalsh
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posted 04-14-2004 10:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for WAWalsh   Click Here to Email WAWalsh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KC Stoever:
It would be nice to lay this old canard about Carpenter to rest.
I do not need to refer to Carpenter's book, having read it and met Scott Carpenter during his book tour. I have also read Chris Kraft's book, Schirra's autobiography, Cooper's autobiography, etc. I would disagree with Oberg assessment of the Carpenter book, but that is another debate. As to where Carpenter stood, again, this is unknown. Kraft certainly indicates (if memory serves without the book here) that the panel had five clear choices and two tied for the final sixth slot, so they took seven, rather than six astronaut trainees and Carpenter was one of the last two.

The program, obviously, was in its infancy in 1958/59 and most of the medical tests deviced were needless and pointless. Subsequent performance certain obliterated any medical concern that kept Lovell and Conrad out of the first group. I suspect that part of the problem with Conrad was not a matter of immaturity, but more a matter of being both smarter than any of the doctors testing him and brasher than most with a sense of humour consistent with both his intelligence and gusto.

Is it an old canard about Scott Carpenter, I do not know. A comparison of the mission performances of Glenn, Carpenter and Schirra raise questions about the second orbital mission. Conversely, the Mercury capsule was such an experimental craft and the technology so new that any test pilot would have been challenged to succeed and each mission provided a learning curve. Chris Kraft, who was in a better position than anyone here, certainly has expressed some reservations. Scott Carpenter has addressed most of those reservations directly. The matter is sufficiently open to raise the original question, however, how the crew assignments might have changed if Lovell, rather than Carpenter, had been in the Mercury 7.

Matt T
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posted 04-14-2004 11:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Matt T   Click Here to Email Matt T     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Having just read 'Deke!' the main aspect of his crew selection process that I was surprised by was the outlook for the original Apollo 1 and 2 (later 7) crew members.

I had always assumed that selection to these earlier crews bespoke a confidence in the chosen astronauts and almost guaranteed a seat on a later lunar landing mission.

According to Deke quite the contrary. He certainly rated the abilities of Chaffee, White, Cunningham and Eisele but only for Earth orbital missions. From the outset his intention was to move them all over to Apollo Applications following their flights.

I'm surprised that Deke should have had the same opinion of White (a Gemini veteran) as he had of three rookies.

Anyone know where White may have failed to impress Slayton?

KC Stoever
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posted 04-14-2004 12:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by WAWalsh:
Subsequent performance certain obliterated any medical concern that kept Lovell and Conrad out of the first group.
WA raises a worthy what-if question regarding Lovell and crew selection--but he makes the hypothesis unwieldy by rejecting history and fact.

While we all have our favorite astronauts and favorite Beatles (I always liked George), and WA appears to have a soft spot for the fun-loving wiseacre Conrad, we need to be able to distinguish our opinions from the facts, which is to say, WA's opinion of Conrad is not the same thing as the facts concerning Conrad in 1959.

The facts of the 1959 selection process are that Conrad was considered unsuitable for pioneering spaceflight. His more mature rivals, among them Carpenter, Cooper, Glenn, Grissom, Schirra, Sheperd, and Slayton (and 11 other candidates recommended w/o medical reservations), were considered suitable for a host of reasons.

WA rejects the historicity, if you will, of the entire 1959 selection process. In doing so, in fact, he rejects almost all the premises of cutting-edge human-factors practice and theory of the time, with its premium man / premium mission thinking coming out of Wright-Pat and Lovelace.

NASA was looking for three 9s--.999 percent reliability in selecting astronauts, one chance in a thousand of failure. Lovell was not 3 9s at the time of selection. Other men were. It's as simple as that. Was Lovell a worthy candidate and a afine pilot? Yeah. They all were. But that's not the same thing as 3 9s. Same thing happened to Deke, when he was grounded. He wasn't 3 9s.

Oberg wrote that the Carpenter book offered "the best published account" of the 1959 selection process. WA may disagree, if he likes, but it would be interesting to hear the facts that support his opinion that the Carpenter book does NOT offer the "best published account."

WA may refer, if he prefers, to the risible Kraft account of the events in 1959. But WA should know that Kraft was in Langley, working on operations while an entirely different group of men was focused on human factors.

Kraft, in fact, had no human factors expertise. He did not belong to either the working group or the selection committee. He was privy to none of their deliberations. It appears, in fact, that he didn't even LIKE astronauts very much.

It shows in his deeply flawed account of the 1959 selection process in FLIGHT.

KenDavis
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posted 04-14-2004 03:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KenDavis   Click Here to Email KenDavis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was aware Chris Kraft was unhappy with the entire Apollo 7 crew, the phrase "they'll never fly agsain if I have anything to do with it" springs to mind. That didn't bother Schirra as he was leaving NASA anyway, but left Eisele and Cunnigham in a spot.

My point is, regardless of Kraft's comments, if Cunnigham spend a good 2 or 3 years working on the Apollo Applications Project between 69 & 72 how could folks like Conrad and Bean roll off of Apollo 12 and Weitz, Lousma, Carr, and Pogue all roll off of Apollo back-up postions into prime Skylab positions ahead of him?

Surely there were other voices involved in the selection process. I haven't read Cunningham's autobiography but if there was clearly no chance of him flying again why did he stay with NASA after Apollo 7?

Tom
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posted 04-14-2004 04:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While we're on the topic of Cunningham and Eisele "not flying for NASA again", that may have been true about Cunningham since he was never actually given a flight assignment (prime or back-up) after Apollo 7. However, Eisele was in fact assigned to the Apollo 10 back-up crew, so there was a chance that he could have flown (ie: Apollo 13) even though it was considered unlikely.

taneal1
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posted 04-15-2004 05:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for taneal1   Click Here to Email taneal1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kris, that's VERY interesting news about Bob Solliday and Slayton. I presume you meant verbal "sparring"? If you have any additional details I'd certianly like to hear them.

Along with Solliday, Lt. Cmdr John R. C. Mitchell USN also was in the group of 32 for the 1959 selection as well as the 1962 group.

Fra Mauro
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posted 04-15-2004 06:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think Slayton did a great job, just two suggestions, Cunningham on a Skylab and Cooper commanding Apollo 7, a better choice on a long-duration flight

KC Stoever
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posted 04-16-2004 12:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, verbal sparring. It took place at Dayton, according to Solliday, who was Conrad's age at the time, a young 27, the youngest of the 32. And, yes, Slayton's jibe had to do with Solliday's age and the implication that the marine test pilot didn't belong there. Solliday's recall of the 1959 selection process is heroically vivid. Someone should conduct an oral history.

Solliday and Carpenter went through Phases 2 (Pentagon), 3 (Lovelace), and 4 (Wright-Pat) sort of as a Navy/Marine pair, by chance, in a larger group including three or four other Air Force guys--Glenn rotated in briefly at Lovelace to make a trio of Navy/Marine officers. These small groups of five or six were arranged arbitrarily, and sent through in successive weeks, as Lovelace and Wright-Pat could study only small groups at one time.

taneal1
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posted 04-16-2004 01:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for taneal1   Click Here to Email taneal1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KC Stoever:
Solliday's recall of the 1959 selection process is heroically vivid. Someone should conduct an oral history.
"Heroically vivid" - Apparently age is not the only thing that Solliday and Conrad had in common. Presumably, Slayton would have reacted the same way if the young Pete Conrad had been in his test group rather than Solliday. One can only imagine what Conrad's reaction would have been!

KC Stoever
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posted 04-16-2004 11:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You're right. What a showdown that would have been!

4allmankind
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posted 04-16-2004 10:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 4allmankind   Click Here to Email 4allmankind     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Could someone enlighten a rookie as to why Kraft was not fond of the Apollo 7 crew? What happened up there to turn him sour?

BobbyA
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posted 04-16-2004 11:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BobbyA   Click Here to Email BobbyA     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On Apollo 7 the crew all caught colds and refused to wear their pressure suits upon reentry. Wally was retiring so he figured he had nothing to lose, but it killed the careers of Walt and Donn.

TrueNorth
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posted 04-17-2004 07:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for TrueNorth   Click Here to Email TrueNorth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
See now, this thread is EXACTLY why I visit collectSPACE every day. Fascinating.

For Jay, Andrew Chaikin's book "A Man on the Moon" and the resulting HBO Series "From the Earth to the Moon" (DVD) have a complete account of the Apollo 7 mission. Highly recommend both.

Aztecdoug
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posted 04-17-2004 01:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Aztecdoug   Click Here to Email Aztecdoug     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 4allmankind:
Could someone enlighten a rookie as to why Kraft was not fond of the Apollo 7 crew? What happened up there to turn him sour?
Also, Wally wanted to fly the mission by the book. When Mission Control wanted to add more tasks to the perfectly running plan during the flight, Wally refused.

STEVE SMITH
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posted 04-17-2004 01:42 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Right or wrong, Wally is very much a beliver and practioner of "The Commander is in charge of the ship". He has been trained for this, and has special first hand knowlege in a given situation about his crew, his ship and equipment, and his mission that others don't have. That should enable him to have the first and last word.

Can't say that I disagree with him.

KC Stoever
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posted 04-17-2004 06:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Apollo 7 involved a pretty intense power struggle. And the astronauts won the battle (Apollo 7) but lost the war--with ground control. I confess ignorance, however, about what additional inflight tasks mission control had in mind.

But I'm with Wally. In this inherent tension between ground control and the commander doing the actual flying, deferring to the commander's informed judgment makes sense. As Wally said, the worst thing a ground controller might encounter--after a decision affecting three (or seven) astronauts--is falling out of his chair. It's a little different for the guys in space, whose lives are at stake.

I often wonder how the astronauts aboard Columbia would have fared had mission control shared information about the foam strike and asked the commander what HE would have elected to do about the damage to the leading edge. Share ALL the information--air to ground and ground to air--let astronauts make command decisions.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-17-2004 06:47 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 KC Stoever:
I often wonder how the astronauts aboard Columbia would have fared had mission control shared information about the foam strike and asked the commander what HE would have elected to do about the damage to the leading edge. Share ALL the information--air to ground and ground to air--let astronauts make command decisions.

The problem wasn't that Rick Husband and his crew didn't know of the foam strike -- they did -- but that NASA underestimated the severity of the damage. Here is the e-mail that was sent to Husband and McCool on January 23:

You guys are doing a fantastic job staying on the timeline and accomplishing great science. Keep up the good work and let us know if there is anything that we can do better from an MCC/POCC standpoint.

There is one item that I would like to make you aware of for the upcoming PAO event on Blue FD 10 and for future PAO events later in the mission. This item is not even worth mentioning other than wanting to make sure that you are not surprised by it in a question from a reporter.

During ascent at approximately 80 seconds, photo analysis shows that some debris from the area of the -Y ET Bipod Attach Point came loose and subsequently impacted the orbiter left wing, in the area of transition from Chine to Main Wing, creating a shower of smaller particles. The impact appears to be totally on the lower surface and no particles are seen to traverse over the upper surface of the wing. Experts have reviewed the high speed photography and there is no concern for RCC or tile damage. We have seen this same phenomenon on several other flights and there is absolutely no concern for entry.

That is all for now. It's a pleasure working with you every day.

NASA was concerned that the crew would be caught off-guard by a question from a reporter during a press event, hence this e-mail. Husband responded the following day:
Thanks a million Steve!

And thanks for the great work on your part AND for the great poems! I saw the word Chine below and thought it was "China". I guess it's believeable (sic) that you might meet someone from China by the name of Main Wing.

Mission control uplinked a video of the foam strike January 25 and Husband replied the next day, saying only "thanks for the super work! We appreciate it."

Source: Spaceflight Now

KC Stoever
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posted 04-17-2004 10:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is off-topic, as we were discussing Apollo 7, but my sense from the CAIB findings was that mission control could have and should have shared more information with Columbia crew, if they had thought to gather said information.

Wally Schirra's Apollo 7 concern (and that of John Glenn, MA-6) about pilot autonomy is well taken. Do not deprive me, they would say, of information about my spacecraft.

"The impact appears to be totally on the lower surface and no particles are seen to traverse over the upper surface of the wing. Experts have reviewed the high speed photography and there is no concern for RCC or tile damage. We have seen this same phenomenon on several other flights and there is absolutely no concern for entry."

No concern for entry. I'm not sure Husband would have come to the same conclusion, had he all the information — had it been assembled by an alert management team.

Cougar20
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posted 04-18-2004 09:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cougar20   Click Here to Email Cougar20     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In Chris Kraft's book, Flight, he says that not only did the Apollo 7 crew choose not to wear pressure suits during re-entry, they were increasingly rude to the ground.

When a sensor on Donn Eisele's biomed package started to burn his chest, he took it off and stowed it rather than consult the ground crew about it. MOC, still caught in the shadow of Apollo 1, suggested several fixes for the problem, which Eisele rebuffed saying, "it doesn't matter now, i'm not putting it on."

This is just one of three or four large infractions that kraft, kranz, and slayton took issue with in postflight debriefings.

Keno
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posted 04-21-2004 12:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Keno   Click Here to Email Keno     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just a couple of points here where Deke's mind was maybe swayed....
  1. In 1966 Deke left the choice of Conrad's LMP up to Pete and he wanted Bean but Deke said "no"... Bean was stashed away Apollo Applications. Conrad then chose CC Williams, however he was killed in a T-38 crash in 1967. Conrad again wanted Bean and Deke gave in.

  2. The original LMP for Apollo 17 was Joe Engle but intense pressure from the scientific community caused NASA to give Deke a directive... Jack Schmitt

Keno
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posted 04-21-2004 01:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Keno   Click Here to Email Keno     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As far as a crew change...this is more of a wish, I would have liked to have seen Mike Collins stay in the rotation. He would have been back-up commander on Apollo 14 and commanded Apollo 17 which would have most likely have caused Gene Cernan not to turn down being John Young's LMP on Apollo 16 in order to hold out for command for his own mission.

Apollo 17
CDR Mike Collins
CMP Ron Evans
LMP Dick Gordon

Matt T
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posted 04-21-2004 03:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Matt T   Click Here to Email Matt T     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Regarding the Collins/Cernan Apollo 17 situation, I think I'm right in saying that both Deke and Cernan's recollection of the event indicate that Collins hadn't turned down Apollo 17 when Cernan took his gamble of refusing Apollo 16.

So had Collins suddenly had a change of heart Cernan would've been left out in the cold. However, the reality of the situation is that Cernan may well have picked up on Collins' reluctance to continue as an astronaut post Apollo 11, making it a gamble worth taking.

KC Stoever
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posted 04-22-2004 01:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Cougar, thanks for the background on Apollo 7 and on mission control views re: rude and unruly astronauts.

This struggle, in essence, for control ("Put that biomed sensor back on and sustain burns during reentry!" ground control commands. "Nope!" a hot and angry astronaut replies.), is a POV (point of view) difference at its purest, or rawest.

The Project Mercury astros (who were all military officers) in particular were exquisitely aware that NASA was a civilian enterprise, and they were military officers on loan. Mission control sought to impose a chain of command, military fashion. The early astronauts would have none of it. Gilruth was the only true boss they recognized. In time, more compliant astronauts were found and assigned to flights.

I bet Wally had a different take on Apollo 7 events and shared it quite freely. I do not have his book handy, perhaps another poster could weigh in.

FFrench
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From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 04-23-2004 01:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KC Stoever:
I bet Wally had a different take on Apollo 7 events and shared it quite freely. I do not have his book handy, perhaps another poster could weigh in.
From my Schirra interview on this very site:
"I'm afraid others didn't always like it - they didn't realize what a command was. Particularly Chris Kraft. He didn't make a big issue out of it, but he did say I was kind of grumpy. I wasn't grumpy, I was merely asserting my authority. The flight controllers felt like they had the right to the last word - they still do! But I was taking the risks. I have yet to hear of a flight controller killing himself by falling off his chair! They were younger men who had not really put themselves physically at risk. They could wear black armbands, but that wouldn't help me any. The result of it was, when we lost three men on the launchpad, I knew we were facing up to a real problem. I said, 'We are going to do this one right.' By then I had responsibility for two crewmen. Then you have the responsibility, much like the skipper of a submarine - it's your problem. You accept command. That's the way it goes - if you give me the ship, it's mine. Then I'll tell you what I'm going to do or not do, within the rules of the ship. That comes down from the Royal Navy, the authority invested in the commanding officer."

KC Stoever
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Registered: Oct 2002

posted 04-23-2004 02:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yep. What Wally said. Note Schirra's finely tuned military sense of propriety, his sacred duty to care for those under his command.

Paul Purser said much the same thing to me, in a letter written before he died. As Flight, Kraft was virtually omnipotent, Purser observed, something Kraft touts in his memoirs, and repeated on book tour, writing and saying "Flight is God!" No one could overrule his decisions at the console, he said, not even President Kennedy.

The shame of it was, Kraft confused his being all-powerful as Flight, during a mission, with being actually omniscient.

But Kraft wasn't all-knowing. Sometimes he didn't know stuff. Sometimes he was wrong.

So this self-serving logical conflation on Kraft's part (inferring omniscience from his omnipotence, an error Kranz, to his credit, avoided during his tenure as flight director) translated into a kind of contempt for the men doing the actual flying (especially the uppity ones). The men who might know things unknowable even to Flight. The men who could actually die.

TrueNorth
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Posts: 158
From: Bathurst, NB, Canada
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 04-26-2004 07:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for TrueNorth   Click Here to Email TrueNorth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KC Stoever:
Perhaps one day, through an FOIA, we can find out the actual numerical rankings of the 32. Of the seven ultimately chosen, all we know is their numerical rank (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 10, and 15), not who was ranked HOW.
Being Canadian, I am not familiar with the U.S. Freedom of Information Act. What is the legislated timeframes for such information to be released? And what other goodies about the early manned space program would people be looking forward to?

MCroft04
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From: Smithfield, Me, USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 06-11-2008 10:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dave:
For sure the Apollo 11 Prime Crew
I'm having difficulty finding the reference by Mike Collins where he calls the A11 crew "amiable strangers" (if I recall correctly). I assume it's in "Carrying the Fire" but on which page? Does anyone recall?


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