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  Mercury - Gemini - Apollo
  Apollo Flight Crew Designations

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Author Topic:   Apollo Flight Crew Designations
Machodoc
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Posts: 203
From: VA
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 06-18-2007 10:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Machodoc   Click Here to Email Machodoc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and the Astronaut Hall of Fame I noticed descriptions of the Apollo 1 crew that listed Ed White as the "Senior Pilot" instead of the Command Module Pilot.

Was there a different nomenclature in place before the fire?

heng44
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Posts: 2564
From: Netherlands
Registered: Nov 2001

posted 06-19-2007 12:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, that was the nomenclature for the Block I missions. Command Pilot, Senior Pilot and Pilot.

robsouth
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Posts: 607
From: West Midlands, UK
Registered: Jun 2005

posted 06-19-2007 10:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have always considered Commander - Navigator - Systems Engineer to be better titles for the roles of the Apollo astonauts. Just when did the LMP ever fly the LM?

GACspaceguy
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Posts: 1394
From: Guyton, GA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 06-19-2007 11:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to ask Charlie Duke (Apollo 16 LMP) if John Young (Apollo 16 Commander) flew the LM all the way to touchdown. Mr. Duke said that although Young did fly the final touchdown, he (Duke) did fly the LM for part of the approach.

garymilgrom
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Posts: 1571
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 06-19-2007 01:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've read that Pete Conrad turned over the controls to Alan Bean behind the moon. I've not heard of another instance of the LMP actually flying the LEM (except for above post).

The crew designations of above (navigator etc.) seem much better to me. The NASA designations seemed designed to fill one objective only - which was not to designate anyone as a co-pilot.

Lou Chinal
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Posts: 946
From: Staten Island, NY
Registered: Jun 2007

posted 06-19-2007 01:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA had yet to dream up the term Command Module Pilot. I always got a kick out of the fact that Walt Cunningham and Bill Anders were Lunar Module pilots without the lunar module.

kr4mula
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Posts: 599
From: Cinci, OH
Registered: Mar 2006

posted 06-20-2007 11:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by robsouth:
I have always considered Commander - Navigator - Systems Engineer to be better titles for the roles of the Apollo astronauts.
I strongly suspect no astronaut wanted to fly a space mission under any title other than "pilot." In the military, you don't have to be flight rated to be a Navigator or Systems Engineer. Those jobs are meant for the guys who couldn't hack becoming pilots, right? The use of those titles might imply some inferiority on whoever was in those roles. After all, the astronauts at that point were still all pilots by trade. Notice that they never used "co-pilot" either?

Whizzospace
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Posts: 101
From: San Antonio, TX
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 06-20-2007 06:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Whizzospace   Click Here to Email Whizzospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
True they aren't considered "top of the heap" in the flying business, but USAF Navigator and USN Flight Officer are actual aeronautical ratings.

kr4mula
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Posts: 599
From: Cinci, OH
Registered: Mar 2006

posted 06-21-2007 12:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sorry, imprecise wording on my part. I meant that Navigators (and Flight Officers, I assume - I'm more familiar with Air Force) don't have to be rated as pilots.

NAAmodel#240
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Posts: 138
From: Charleston, SC USA
Registered: Jun 2005

posted 06-21-2007 04:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NAAmodel#240   Click Here to Email NAAmodel#240     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is a distinction in the Air Force between being flight crew and being "rated". As a Senior Flight Nurse I am on aeronautical orders (AO), draw flight pay, and earn aviation awards and decorations (like the Air Medal and Aerial Achievement Medal, for example). Only some on AO are in rated positions. These include; Pilot, Navigator, Air Battle Manager, and others.

Tom
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Posts: 1275
From: New York
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 08-15-2009 11:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Anyone here know why NASA stuck with the Lunar Module Pilot assignment for Apollo 7 and 8? Seems odd that an astronaut was given the title of a vehicle that wasn't even flying.

In my opinion, they could have been called: Commander, Command Module Pilot and Pilot.

In fact the Apollo Block 1 series of missions would have used similar assignments: Commander, Senior Pilot and Pilot.

Editor's note: Threads merged.

Delta7
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Posts: 1153
From: Ossian IN USA
Registered: Oct 2007

posted 08-15-2009 11:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It also causes misconception among the general public. I've heard a few people assume Buzz Aldrin actually landed the LM because he was the "lunar module pilot" for instance, while presumably Neil Armstrong as commander simply did... something else. Same is true for the Space Shuttle Pilot designation. Even in the media at times.

All times are CT (US)

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