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  Celebrating Ed White's GT-4 spacewalk

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Author Topic:   Celebrating Ed White's GT-4 spacewalk
ColinBurgess
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posted 06-02-2008 06:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Today (June 3) marks the 43rd anniversary of Ed White's historic EVA from Gemini 4, and I spent a few minutes this morning quietly reliving some memories of that exciting time. It was certainly a very bold and audacious move by NASA, but also one of the stated objectives of Project Gemini. It does not matter to me how many EVAs have taken place since that glorious day in 1965, but those photographs of Ed hanging out there at the end of his golden tether are still among the most evocative, spectacular and iconic photographs ever taken in spaceflight history.

Great photos of a great man.

Colin

MCroft04
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posted 06-02-2008 07:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Colin, thanks for the anniversary notice. I vividly recall the launch and Ed's spacewalk, but I forget how many pictures that I drew of Ed's venture in 7th grade English class. Too many I guess as my grammar and spelling prove!

E2M Lem Man
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posted 06-03-2008 11:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for E2M Lem Man     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yeah, Colin - I was thinking about that this morning. It has been a long time - and as I write this, it is appropriate that above you at this moment - the crew of the orbiter is working outside the ISS putting the Kibo module in shape.

They have just passed Perth, and I wonder if they realize what this day means to us "Old Men"?

J.M. Busby

mdaymont
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posted 06-03-2008 12:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdaymont   Click Here to Email mdaymont     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm watching the ISS spacewalk right now, and thinking back to my earliest memories of the Gemini program. Good stuff. It was Gemini and early TV space programs that turned me into a space nut as a kid.

Definitely in Full Nostalgia Mode today.

Best regards,
Mark in Utah

STEVE SMITH
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posted 06-03-2008 03:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for STEVE SMITH   Click Here to Email STEVE SMITH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This moment is one of my greastest memories. I was enroute from Springfield Mo, where I had lived all my life, to a new job as an engineer in Houston Tx. Fresh out of college and excited with life and what was going on in the world and that maybe I could be a part of it.

I actually pulled off the road to listen to the broadcast and Misson Control. I was scared to death (still worry for these folks) but confident and proud, especially when it was over. I really admire Ed White, and even more after I read Colin's book. I've passed it on to a family friend, who just completed his plebe year at West Point, as a West Point Hero and an example.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-03-2008 06:08 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 E2M Lem Man:
I wonder if they realize what this day means to us "Old Men"?
At the close of today's EVA by Mike Fossum and Ron Garan, the 195th in U.S. history, capcom Chris Cassidy radioed from Houston:
Mike and Ron it was a pleasure working with you guys today. It was the 43rd anniversary of the first U.S. EVA conducted by Ed White on Gemini 4, so I think it was appropriate that we had two Air Force guys out the door today, in honor of Ed White...

And I've got [public affairs] checking to see if Ed White's capcom was a Navy guy...

I spoke to Fossum about the coincidence of dates before he flew and asked him his perspective on the past 43 years of U.S. EVA.
I was in mission control for the first shuttle EVA back in the day, and I was involved in the space station redesign. As we went through that process, it became obvious [where] the design choices were going. Instead of automated hookups and things, we were going onto human manual EVA hookups with bolts and connectors and all those things.

As we started to put this entire picture together, what it was going to take to build this station, we got what we saw, this wall of EVA, EVA hours and content and all.

And you looked at our piddling little experiments, I mean, Apollo had some great stuff, but you had some gravity helping you there, and on shuttle a lot of the EVAs were experiments to figure out how to build and work and operate with the plates and tools in zero-g. When you get to station assembly, this is a construction site. It is hard work and there is a lot of it.

And so I think we're almost at the top of that wall that was so daunting 15 years ago. Amazing. And not just for me, one of the lucky people who gets to go do this, but for the entire community that has gone and figured it out how to get this stuff done. And we figured out how to build the tools, figured out how to train people and figured out how to work around the problems that have occurred and to get it done.

To me that is very gratifying to be here at this time, to get one of these challenging assembly missions and go out there.

John Charles
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posted 06-03-2008 08:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John Charles     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
And I've got [public affairs] checking to see if Ed White's capcom was a Navy guy...
I don't know how PAO responded, but the answer is: Air Force Major Gus Grissom was the capcom who growled, "The flight director says, 'Get back in!'"

------------------
John Charles
Houston, Texas

FFrench
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posted 06-03-2008 10:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by John Charles:
Air Force Major Gus Grissom was the capcom who growled, "The flight director says, 'Get back in!'"

Not sure of the accuracy of this - and I would be curious if anyone has a definitive answer, either with an accurate NASA transcript (the one made at the time by NASA is a little sketchy) or the audio available online - but according to David Harland in "How NASA Learned to Fly to the Moon," while Grissom was indeed the CapCom, it was actually Flight Director Chris Kraft who broke protocol and directly stated that particular self-referential line to the orbiting spacecraft, after which Grissom echoed his thoughts.

Can anyone demonstrate for sure?

mjanovec
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posted 06-04-2008 12:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I always assumed that was Kraft, referring to himself in the third person. It sounds like him, at least (and nothing like Grissom).

onesmallstep
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posted 06-04-2008 10:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
...so is the scene in 'From the Earth to the Moon' where the actor portraying Kraft keys his headset and states "Gemini 4, get back in!" AFTER Grissom makes the 'flight director says get back in' line accurate? In listening to the original audio, it seems that two separate people talked to the crew..

-Al

E2M Lem Man
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posted 06-04-2008 01:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for E2M Lem Man     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe you are correct and it was Gus who told the crew "Gemini 4 get back in" - but Kraft wasn't happy and did have something to say himself - as we all remember!

J.M. Busby

mjanovec
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posted 06-04-2008 04:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone know where the full audio from the EVA can be accessed... preferably in a format one can download to their computer? It's not on the Spacecraft Films DVD set (which instead uses audio from the post-flight press conference for the EVA sequence). I would love to hear the full, uncut audio sometime.

music_space
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posted 06-05-2008 09:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for music_space   Click Here to Email music_space     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In this YouTube video, the excerpt you are looking for is at 4'40". It seems that it is Kraft who says it.

François

FFrench
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posted 06-05-2008 10:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
François, thanks so much for that. Watching that, along with reading the transcript, I can see a number of edits, but that vital moment is there pretty much intact.

Any opinions from others as to whether that is Grissom sounding different because of urgency in his voice, or Kraft cutting in? Anyone had occasion, or now has the ability, to play that for Kraft and ask if that is him?

Thanks so much!

music_space
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posted 06-05-2008 11:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for music_space   Click Here to Email music_space     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Francis, I'd say it is "a different voice" from Grissom's (I'm lacking the experience to connect it to Kraft, though).

But as a sound engineer, I would say that this is the only time we hear this microphone signature, which would back-up the Kraft hypothesis.

François

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-05-2008 11:34 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 FFrench:
Anyone had occasion, or now has the ability, to play that for Kraft and ask if that is him?
Kraft writes about it in his book "Flight":
I didn't hesitate in breaking my own rule about who talked to astronauts in space and who didn't. I flipped my override switch and spoke directly to McDivitt.

"Yes," I barked, "Tell him to get back in!"

Grissom looked at me in surprise. Even in our worst-case simulations, I'd never used that override switch. Then he grinned and shrugged.

FFrench
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posted 06-05-2008 11:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's true, Robert, and that is also matched in NASA's "On the Shoulders of Titans" (which Jim Schefter may have sourced for Kraft's book, rather than going back to the tapes).

Yet I don't see that particular way of saying it in the NASA flight transcript nor hear it on that YouTube segment. In some ways it raises more questions than it answers...

ColinBurgess
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posted 06-06-2008 05:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I could never imagine in my wildest dreams Gus Grissom grinning and shrugging after he (and the inviolate CapCom position) had just been so abruptly overidden by Chris Kraft. I've read the transcripts and listened to the transmission, and even though Kraft's voice is not evident, I'm certain the voice saying "The Flight Director says get back in" is that of a terse Grissom repeating the instruction to Jim McDivitt.

Any other thoughts?

Colin

mjanovec
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posted 06-06-2008 06:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ColinBurgess:
I've read the transcripts and listened to the transmission, and even though Kraft's voice is not evident, I'm certain the voice saying "The Flight Director says get back in" is that of a terse Grissom repeating the instruction to Jim McDivitt.

After listening to the transmission again in the linked YouTube clip, I'm 100% certain that is Kraft's voice we hear. His twangy accent is unmistakable. Grissom's tranmissions both before and after this quote are cool and calm...showing very little emotion and spoken in his characteristic low growl of a voice. (If you want to hear a clearly disturbed and terse Grissom, listen to the Apollo 1 tapes.)

Plus, we have anecdotal evidence from those who were there that says Kraft broke protocol and spoke up.

ColinBurgess
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posted 06-07-2008 06:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mystery solved: I got in touch with Paul Haney who for many years, as NASA's "Voice of Mission Control," was right in the thick of the action. He has positively identified that voice ("The Flight Director says get back in!") as belonging to Chris Kraft.

MCroft04
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posted 06-08-2008 10:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very good Colin. Chris just confirmed your claim on Discovery's "When We Left Earth."

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