Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

Websites
related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Mercury - Gemini - Apollo
  NASA recovery and communication support ships

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   NASA recovery and communication support ships
mdaymont
Member

Posts: 39
From: Pleasant Grove, Utah,USA
Registered: May 2003

posted 05-07-2004 03:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdaymont   Click Here to Email mdaymont     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Lately, I've become interested in the ships used to support NASA operations, such as rescue, recovery and communications. Does anyone know some good resources I can get started with? My eventual goal will be to model some of them.

micropooz
Member

Posts: 1265
From: Washington, DC, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 05-08-2004 07:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sounds like everything you ever wanted to know about the recovery ships is coming out in a new book in July.

As far as the other ships involved, it is real hit and miss. McMahan's Philatelic History of the Conquest of Space lists other support ships (tracking, weather, etc) for each mission, but I don't know if it is a complete list. Catchpole's book on Mercury lists some other tracking ships not listed in McMahan. Probably other sources out there, I just have not dug into the support ships that deeply.

I share your interest (at least for the prime recovery ships) and am building (slowly) a virtual exhibit of covers and postcards of them. Hope to have it done soon.

spaceuk
Member

Posts: 2113
From: Staffs, UK
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 05-08-2004 12:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Most of the NASA press kits for each mission lists (at least) the prime recovery ships.

Some DoD press kist lists recovery vehicles as well.

mdaymont
Member

Posts: 39
From: Pleasant Grove, Utah,USA
Registered: May 2003

posted 05-13-2004 04:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdaymont   Click Here to Email mdaymont     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, folks for the good ideas. It looks like my book budget will be depleted soon! I started getting interested in model building, and I thought the NASA support and recovery ships would be an interesting subject. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be much on the Internet.

MCroft04
Member

Posts: 1245
From: Smithfield, Me, USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 04-08-2011 06:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm interested in knowing if there were additional ships in the area of the Apollo 17 prime recovery ship. I have a Navy friend who says that aircraft carriers are always accompanied by a destroyer, which is called the "plane guard" in case a plane crashes.

I also have a snippet from the internet which reads "The USS Ticonderoga was supported in its recovery effort by the USS Camden". During post mission reports Ron Evans exclaimed as they were floating down on parachutes "Oh, we've got a tin can with us"; tin can means destroyer. Can anyone help?

Ross
Member

Posts: 386
From: Australia
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 04-09-2011 07:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ross   Click Here to Email Ross     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For those interested in Recovery and Tracking ships from the US Manned Space Program, I list them on Recovery & Tracking Ship Covers website from pre-Mercury to ASTP. The lists have been developed through extensive research by several members of the Space Unit and I believe represent the most accurate list available.

In answer to MCroft04's question, the USS Ticonderoga was the Primary Recovery Ship in the Pacific. The only Secondary Recovery Ship in the Pacific was indeed the USS Camden.

The USS Camden is, in fact, a Replenishment Ship and not a Destroyer. It appears that Evans misidentified the type of ship.

MCroft04
Member

Posts: 1245
From: Smithfield, Me, USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 04-09-2011 08:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the clarification. Given your comment that Evans must have seen the USS Camden and misidentified it as a destroyer, it obviously must have been pretty close to the recovery area. I ask this because I thought it would be difficult (especially for a Navy man) to mistake a carrier for a destroyer, although Cernan comments in post mission debriefing "The only unusual sighting I can recall... is when the CMP looked out the window and saw the superstructure of an aircraft carrier and said 'Oh, we've got a tin can with us.'"

I'm also intrigued by my Navy friend's comments that destroyers always accompany carriers. If true, was that requirement abandoned for spacecraft recovery?

Ross
Member

Posts: 386
From: Australia
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 04-10-2011 09:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ross   Click Here to Email Ross     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It was also my impression that carriers were normally accompanied by destroyers. However, there are other NASA missions where this apparently didn't happen. Even when it did (the vast majority of missions) the carrier and destroyer(s) were often miles apart. However, somebody like Steve Durst who is a member of this board is better qualified to common on the normal practice.

stevedd841
Member

Posts: 183
From: millersville, maryland, usa
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 04-10-2011 05:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for stevedd841   Click Here to Email stevedd841     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi MCroft04 and Ross, In response to your question, yes, U.S. Navy aircraft carriers usually are accompanied by destroyers (affectionately called "tin cans") when they are involved in their normal aircraft carrier activities (flight operations). The tin cans are normally assigned to plane guard stations or picket ship duties in case one of the aircraft (birds) goes in the ocean (drink). USS Camden was a fast combat support ship, a combination of fleet oiler and ammunition ship, all in one, and did indeed did participate as a secondary recovery ship for the Apollo 17 recovery. It is unlikely that a U.S. Navy fast combat support ship (combination of fleet oiler and ammunition ship) nor a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier would be mistaken for a Navy destroyer which is much smaller and does not have a flight deck. Helo pad yes, flight deck, no.

At the time the recovery for the Apollo 17 mission was completed, recovery in the Pacific near Hawaii was very accurate and the recovery of the spacecraft was not as far flung as the earlier Apollo Moon mission recoveries made near American Samoa in the western Pacific. It is conceivable that there were U.S. Navy destroyers on standby for the recovery, but they were not needed due to the accuracy of predicting splashdown and the ships proximity to Hawaii for support if needed. Per my research and the book I've written on this, there were no destroyers involved in Apollo 17's recovery nor in any of the Skylab 2, Skylab 3, and Skylab 4 recoveries either. USS Ticonderoga was the primary recovery ship, also, for Skylab 2, but again, there were no destroyers detailed for the recovery. I hope this answers your question. Steve, U.S. Navy (Ret.) ex-USS Ticonderoga crew member, too, but I left the ship before its conversion to an ASW carrier and its participation in Apollo 17 and Skylab 2 recoveries.

ea757grrl
Member

Posts: 570
From: South Carolina
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 04-10-2011 05:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ea757grrl   Click Here to Email ea757grrl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bob Fish's book "Hornet Plus Three" gives a pretty good general overview of recovery ship deployments circa 1969, focusing on Apollo 11, including the (diminishing) role of destroyers in recovery deployments. Don Blair's "Splashdown" touches somewhat on it, but is more like a personal recollection than Fish's in-depth history.

I'm operating on memory for this right now (resources in the other room and not readily available), but the first Apollo recoveries in the Pacific generally had the prime recovery ship (a carrier), a destroyer (sometimes an Adams-class DDG), and a visit from a fleet oiler. The first Apollo recoveries in the Pacific also included communications support from the relay ship USS Arlington. On Apollo 11 a second destroyer (USS Carpenter) was added to help support President Nixon's visit.

On later flights, the Arlington wasn't needed as communications resources improved, and you started seeing the Iwo Jima-class LPHs as recovery ships (though Ticonderoga picked up the last two Apollo flights and the first Skylab flight). I also seem to recall the destroyers weren't needed as much, too.

Anyway, "Hornet Plus Three" is really good, not just for covering the ships, but also the many different kinds of aircraft that played supporting roles, too. Highly recommended.

LM-12
Member

Posts: 948
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 11-21-2013 07:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This long list of Navy Recovery Ships was found on the nasa.gov website.

Ross
Member

Posts: 386
From: Australia
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 11-22-2013 07:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ross   Click Here to Email Ross     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've had a quick look at the NASA site and unfortunately it contains a number of errors. Quick examples are:
  • MA-7 - The site lists the USS Ellison, USS Forrestal and USS Shenandoah as being involved when they weren't.
  • Apollo 17 - The site leaves out the USS Adroit, USS Alacrity, USS Assurance and USS Fidelity.
I haven't check all the other missions.

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 1999-2012 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement