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  Mercury - Gemini - Apollo
  Apollo crew assignments and their backups

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Author Topic:   Apollo crew assignments and their backups
Tom
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From: New York
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posted 07-15-2006 11:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have a question regarding Apollo crews that maybe someone here can shed some light on.

Back in 1967, McDivitt, Scott and Scweickart, with Conrad, Gordon and Bean as backup were assigned to Apollo 8. Borman, Collins and Anders, with Armstrong, Lovell and Aldrin as backup were assigned to Apollo 9.

When the McDivitt and Borman crews switched flights, their back-up crews stayed with them.

Two years later... Shepard, Roosa and Mitchell (Young, Swigert and Duke backups) assigned to Apollo 13 and Lovell, Mattingly and Haise (Cernan, Evans and Engle backups) assigned to Apollo 14.

When the Shepard and Lovell crews swapped missions, their back-up crews did not. Any reason why?

mjanovec
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posted 07-15-2006 11:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My guess is that Apollo 8 and Apollo 9 were very different types of missions, with different objectives. Therefore, the crews (and their backups) needed to train on those specific objectives. When the missions (and their objectives were swapped) in the order they came, so were the crews.

For example, McDivitt and his crew (and their backups) were training to take the lunar module on it's first flight. Whether that happened on Apollo 8 or Apollo 9 didn't really matter as long as McDivitt and his crew got to fly the mission... as they were the ones in the best position to successfully complete the mission.

For Apollo 13 and 14, objectives didn't change, the crews did... as people thought Al Shepard needed a little more time to train. So Apollo 13 with Al Shepard, that was slated to go to Fra Mauro, was given to Lovell's crew instead. There was no need to change the backups, since the backups on Apollo 13 were also training for the Fra Mauro mission.

Ironically, the problems on Apollo 13 pushed the Fra Mauro landing to the next mission, with Al Shepard in command. So he got his Fra Mauro landing after all.

Tom
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posted 07-15-2006 11:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Actually, the original Apollo 8 and 9 missions were very similar... Apollo 8 testing the lunar module in low Earth orbit, with Apollo 9 doing the same in a higher orbit.

The missions changed drastically when NASA decided to send Apollo 8 into lunar orbit.

LM-12
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From: Ontario, Canada
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posted 03-26-2013 10:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Lovell replaced Collins before the Apollo 8/9 crews were swapped. Is that correct?

In other words, the Borman-Collins-Anders crew was always Apollo 9, and the Borman-Lovell-Anders crew was briefly Apollo 9 before the switch to Apollo 8.

Fra Mauro
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posted 03-27-2013 06:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think Collins had surgery in July 1968 before the mission change occured.

robsouth
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posted 03-27-2013 01:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Alan Shepard was never officially assigned to Apollo 13 and James Lovell was never officially assigned to Apollo 14. Therefore when the prime and backup crews were announced for both missions at the beginning of August 69, no one had swapped missions and Young had never been Shepard's backup and Cernan had never been Lovell's backup.

December 66 Apollo 2 crew was announced as McDivitt's crew with Stafford's crew as backups. Apollo 3 was announced as Borman's crew with Conrad's crew as backups.

Following the Apollo 1 fire, Stafford's crew moved to the backup role on Apollo 7 in May 67. November 67, Apollo 8 was announced as McDivitt's crew with Conrad's crew as backups and Apollo 9 was announced as Borman's crew with Armstrong's crew as backups.

When the Apollo 8 and 9 crews swapped missions, their backups swapped too.

Delta7
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From: Ossian IN USA
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posted 03-27-2013 01:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think one difference was that the McDivitt/Conrad and Borman/Armstrong crews had already trained in tandem for quite some time when the flights sequence was changed. With Apollo 13 and 14 there was no mission-specific training involved before the final August 1969 announcement. The pairing of prime and backup crews wasn't as critical so long as you had qualified crews for each, and at that time all 4 crews were presumably equally qualified. There was no compelling reason to switch the backup crew sequence, only the prime crews in order to accommodate Al Shepard.

Delta7
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posted 03-27-2013 01:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Presumably Deke Slayton did submit Shepard/Roosa/Mitchell for Apollo 13 with Young/Swigert/Duke as backups shortly after Apollo 10. It was because upper management rejected the choice of Shepard that there was a delay until August, while Slayton re-submitted the Apollo 13 along with the Apollo 14 assignments, that were ultimately announced together in August 1969.

robsouth
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posted 03-27-2013 03:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When assigning Young to the Apollo 13 backup commander's role, Deke Slayton was simply following the normal rotation because Young had been the CMP on Apollo 10. The same rotation would have seen the Apollo 11 CMP rotate to the Apollo 14 backup commander's role.

LM-12
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posted 03-28-2013 11:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by robsouth:
December 66 Apollo 2 crew was announced as McDivitt's crew with Stafford's crew as backups.

That was AS-205/208, a manned CSM launch followed by an unmanned LM launch about a day later. Were the McDivitt/Stafford crews the only crews ever assigned to a dual Saturn IB launch mission?

Tom
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posted 03-28-2013 02:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LM-12:
Were the McDivitt/Stafford crews the only crews ever assigned to a dual Saturn IB launch mission?
Yes... Apollo 3 was scheduled to be the first manned launch using the Saturn V.

golddog
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From: australia
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posted 03-29-2013 05:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for golddog     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fra Mauro:
I think Collins had surgery in July 1968 before the mission change occured.
Mike Collins had surgery to correct a spinal disc growth in 1968 which saw him removed from the crew of Apollo 8 and replaced by Lovell. Collins was then named on the 11 crew in January 1969, with Anders being his back up.

LM-12
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From: Ontario, Canada
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posted 03-29-2013 10:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LM-12:
Lovell replaced Collins before the Apollo 8/9 crews were swapped. Is that correct?

I see that in Lost Moon on page 34, Lovell mentions that Borman-Lovell-Anders would "pilot Apollo 9" on a higher-altitude version of the previous Apollo 8 flight of McDivitt-Scott-Schweickart with the CSM/LM.

So Collins was never on the Apollo 8 crew because Lovell replaced Collins when it was still the Apollo 9 crew. A9 was still an "E" mission when Collins was dropped.

The Borman-Lovell-Anders crew switched from the Apollo 9 "E" mission to the new Apollo 8 "C-prime" mission. The McDivitt-Scott-Schweickart crew switched from the Apollo 8 "D" mission to the Apollo 9 "D" mission.

LM-12
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posted 04-09-2013 05:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
An August 1968 article in MSC Roundup mentions that James Lovell "was named to replace Michael Collins as prime command module pilot for the third manned Apollo mission" scheduled for early 1969. At the time, the planned third manned Apollo mission was the original Apollo 9 "E" mission.

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