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  Mercury astronauts photographed with F-106 jet

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Author Topic:   Mercury astronauts photographed with F-106 jet
Paul78zephyr
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From: Hudson, MA
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posted 07-23-2008 10:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul78zephyr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In this image of the Mercury 7 astronauts I was wondering about the 'flight suits' that each astronaut is wearing.

I'm not a military guy (my dad was in the Aircorps flew in B-29s during 1945) but I'm assuming the Navy guys (Carpenter, Schirra, Shepard) were issued orange flight suits whereas the Air Force and Marine guys got olive drab?

Also can anyone comment on the boots/shoes they are wearing which all seem to be different. Grissom appears to be wearing the 'silvery' boots that go with his spacesuit. I don't know what to make of the 'blue suede' boots that Glenn is wearing. And best I can tell Slayton is wearing street shoes. Any comments and discussion of this photo and those great flight duds is welcome!

Also is that an F-106?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-23-2008 11:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The NASA caption to the photo answers one of your questions:
The Original Mercury Seven astronauts with a U.S. Air Force F-106B jet aircraft.
With regards to the suits, Gordon Cooper once commented:
When we were selected as astronauts in 1959, little effort was made to create a standard flying suit for us. Our classic photo in front of the F-106 jet shows how we had scrounged around to get flight equipment from the various armed services. The dark blue NASA flight suit was mainly a result of the publication of that one photograph.

gliderpilotuk
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posted 07-24-2008 04:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And to add to the discontinuity... the Mercury 7 mainly used F-102s for maintaining flight proficiency, NOT the similar-looking F-106 pictured here.

Dirk
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posted 07-24-2008 08:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dirk   Click Here to Email Dirk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the early seventies the Belgian Air Cadets used the same orange flight suits.
It were the suits used by airforce pilots during at sixties. The label says:
Coverall Flying Man's Very Light K-2B
8415-658-1281
Specification MIL-C-6265E (USAF)
Mason & Hughes Inc
DSA-100-1262 (date)

golddog
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posted 07-25-2008 05:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for golddog     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is my understanding that USN flightsuits of the period were orange in order to improve/aid rescue of the pilot in the case of ditching at sea ie make him easier to see. Can anyone tell me if I am wrong here?

Also, I have always wondered about the boots Glenn is wearing in this shot - what gives with those? They look like they have been carved out of wood!

Lou Chinal
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posted 07-25-2008 06:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone have a date for this photo? I say Dec.'59/Jan.'60.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-25-2008 08:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to Langley Research Center, the photo was taken on January 20, 1961.

Machodoc
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posted 07-25-2008 09:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Machodoc   Click Here to Email Machodoc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
January 20, 1961, eh? Interesting date, since that was the day JFK was sworn in.

KC Stoever
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posted 07-25-2008 10:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bill Taub, NACA-NASA photographer, took the photo. He remembers taking this unforgettable photo.

Notice too that they're all standing in alpha order: CCGGSSS.

Lou Chinal
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posted 07-25-2008 10:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
...the photo was taken on January 20, 1961.
That was also the date that Shepard found out that he would be on the first flight.

Richard Glueck
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posted 07-26-2008 09:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard Glueck   Click Here to Email Richard Glueck     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is this image prior to, or after, the revealing of the prime pilot? If so, those are some great actors. I have wondered if, at some point, any of the Mercury astronauts simply said "I'll get my flight in time. Why get stressed?"

328KF
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posted 07-26-2008 10:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think this same day there was quite a bit of photography going on. There is motion film of this photo event (which, unfortunately, did not make it into the SF DVD set) as well as individual photos of the guys either on the ladder or in the cockpit of the F-106.

I sure would like to see prints of those individual shots made available.

FFrench
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posted 07-26-2008 01:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KC Stoever:
Notice too that they're all standing in alpha order: CCGGSSS.
I'm quite fond of this version of the photo, Kris, with you in it and two Scott Carpenters!

KC Stoever
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posted 07-26-2008 01:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yup. Me too, Francis. A keeper...

John Charles
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From: Houston, Texas, USA
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posted 07-26-2008 02:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John Charles     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Richard Glueck:
Is this image prior to, or after, the revealing of the prime pilot?
According to Glenn's book (p. 233), the seven were notified by Gilruth on Jan. 19, the day before JFK's inauguration. Slayton (p. 93) also said it was the day before JFK's inauguration, but put the date on Jan. 20. Shepard was quoted by Roy Neal as saying it was about 5 pm.

So, if the flight line photo was taken on inauguration day, then they all had heard the news the evening before the group photo was taken.

John Charles
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From: Houston, Texas, USA
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posted 07-26-2008 02:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John Charles     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just noticed something funny about the photo Francis French posted and the photo at the top of the thread. In the top photo, the jet's air intake is open, but in the bottom photo, the intake appears neatly covered by some sort of blanket. It doesn't look like an artifact of the large photo, but what else could it be?

AND the designation "AD246" and what appears to be a logo have been added to the aircraft's nose, right above KC and Scott's heads!

In fact, the astronauts have been moved and shrunk and their shadows erased, and other markings on the aircraft altered!

What gives, Francis?

FFrench
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posted 07-26-2008 03:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The photo with Kris and Scott was taken in the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex galleries - a wall with life-size blowups of the Mercury 7 from that clasic photo, set against an airplane backdrop. It allows the visitor to stand in the scene and be photographed as if they were there (sort of).

My guess is, to get the effect, they used the photos of the Mercury 7 from the original photo, and placed them against a similar but not identical photo of a jet. Note that the cockpit is also closed, there is no yellow ladder, and the tail is red... judging by the stanchion in front of it, also visible in the photo, it's probably a more recent photo of a jet on outdoor museum display somewhere...

golddog
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posted 07-26-2008 07:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for golddog     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The aircraft in the visitor complex photograph is a QF-106 target drone - hence the "AD" number stenciled on the nose. These aircraft were modified for the role from 1985 onwards, so it is a far more recent photo.

Paul78zephyr
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From: Hudson, MA
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posted 07-26-2008 07:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul78zephyr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wonder why NASA felt in needed to change the picture of the F-106 in the background?

spacecraft films
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posted 07-26-2008 07:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spacecraft films   Click Here to Email spacecraft films     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It probably wasn't "NASA," but whatever artist was responsible for executing the photo for the visitor's center display. By pulling the astronauts off the old photo they could expand the scope beyond the original photo by using another plane behind them.

That way they kept the flavor of the photo and made the astronauts approximately lifesize, and filled the area the photo was required to fill.

And there you have it...

I don't know... but it is just a possible explanation.

FFrench
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posted 07-26-2008 07:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Paul78zephyr:
I wonder why NASA felt in needed to change the picture of the F-106 in the background?
My guess... nothing but a guess... is that to create a backdrop where life-size astronaut images were there for visitors to stand next to, they needed to be repositioned slightly to get the right effect. If they had used the original backdrop, this would be impossible (moving someone would leave a space in the photo), so they needed a photo of the same kind of plane, same approximate position, but no one standing in front of it.

And, with the arrangement over who runs KSCVC and creates the exhibitions, my guess is also that NASA has nothing to do with it.

In any event, it's a fun backdrop to have your photo taken in front of on a visit there... and very nice to see Scott standing next to a fullsize version of his younger self!

(on edit - in the time I began my reply to the time I posted it, I see Mark also replied above with the same guess...)

golddog
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From: australia
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posted 07-26-2008 11:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for golddog     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Paul78zephyr:
I wonder why NASA felt in needed to change the picture of the F-106 in the background?
I don't know, although I suspect it is as previous posters have suggested, for scale in allowing people to take photos alongside it. When I saw it during a visit to KSC last year it is a very large photo, and the f106 in it is fairly clearly in need of a little TLC.

It's sad really that so many of those beautiful delta darts met their end by sidewinder missile. They truly were a beautiful machine.

golddog
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posted 07-27-2008 03:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for golddog     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For those who are interested, I've done a little research around the web. Apparently, the original F106 in the picture, 590158, is still in existence and on display at the Air Force Flight Test Centre Museum at Edwards AFB. She was saved as a drone (AD 276) thankfully and now looks gorgeous.

Richard Glueck
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posted 07-27-2008 10:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard Glueck   Click Here to Email Richard Glueck     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Knowing the F-106 is preserved is a warming thought! I think it was one of the classiest jet fighter designs ever, and the connection to the Mercury 7 shows somebody was thoughtful about which planes got saved.

ejectr
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posted 07-27-2008 11:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by golddog:
Apparently, the original F106 in the picture, 590158, is still in existence and on display at the Air Force Flight Test Centre Museum at Edwards AFB.
I sent my son at Edwards an email and asked him to take a photograph of it and send it to me. When he does, I'll post it so we have a current photo of it.

golddog
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posted 07-28-2008 03:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for golddog     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That would be fantastic, thanks. Any chance he could get a cockpit shot too?

ejectr
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posted 07-28-2008 07:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I sent my son the photo from the link above to which he answered:
In that picture it is parked outside the museum. About a year ago they created Century Circle, which is a collection of century series fighters at the gate (F-100, 102, 104, 105, 106). It may be the 106 they moved, I will check.

ea757grrl
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posted 07-28-2008 09:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ea757grrl   Click Here to Email ea757grrl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by FFrench:
In any event, it's a fun backdrop to have your photo taken in front of on a visit there...
As for me, the substitution of the QF-106 for 59-0158 jumped out at me when I saw it... that, and the KC-135 or 707 that's parked on the starboard side of the 106 in the photo (that you can see when you're there). Regular folks don't notice it, but it was really jarring when I saw it.

ejectr
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posted 08-23-2008 10:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ejectr:
I sent my son at Edwards an email and asked him to take a photograph of it and send it to me.
Here are the pictures of the F106 at Edwards AFB my son took.

The F106 is now located at the entrance to Edwards AFB in what they call "Century Circle" where all the F100 series aircraft are displayed.

Lou Chinal
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posted 08-24-2008 02:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm glad to see some part of history is still with us.

golddog
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posted 08-30-2008 02:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for golddog     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for getting your son to do that. What a beautiful machine!

Obviousman
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posted 08-31-2008 05:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Obviousman   Click Here to Email Obviousman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thought the F-106 fans might enjoy this:

More aircraft and space images are available here.

KC Stoever
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posted 09-22-2008 06:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's not an F-106, but this Delta Dagger at Wings Over the Rockies, at Lowry, makes for a similar photo too. That's me on the left standing with fellow cSer, Francis French.

There's also a nice new installation at Wings devoted to Colorado's legion of astronauts.

FFrench
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posted 11-20-2008 01:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While at the Cape, I took the opportunity to take some more "Then and Now" Scott photos in that spot.

Linda K
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posted 11-20-2008 02:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Linda K   Click Here to Email Linda K     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just thought you guys might like a little more history about the F-106 in the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex photo.

My husband worked his butt off to send me down for the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation show, and all he asked of me was that I ask Scott Carpenter if he'd ever flown the F-106. My husband recently retired after 20+ years in the Air Force, where he started out working on the 106 at Minot AFB. Scott told me that "all the Mercury guys flew the 106" and said "she was a sweet plane."

When I showed my husband the wall photo from the visitor center, imagine my surprise when he recognized the plane used for that exhibit as one that he had worked on! Turns out that when Minot got rid of the F-106s, they sent three to NASA for the Eclipse Project. There are some neat pics and info about that plane.

There's even a shot of it after it had a mid-air collision and got its nose blown off. That was before my husband's time. After being repaired it continued its adventures until it ended up in the Eclipse Project. While it never got to actually fly in the project, it was there! Talk about a small world!!

010 is now a static display at the Aerospace Museum of California.

bruce
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posted 12-06-2008 09:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bruce   Click Here to Email bruce     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by FFrench:
While at the Cape, I took the opportunity to take some more "Then and Now" Scott photos in that spot.
During the 2008 Astronaut Scholarship Foundation weekend at Kennedy Space Center, a fellow cS'er took a picture of me next to the Mercury 7 group mural in the museum area of the Debus Conference Center. I thought it was clever pose; me leaning with my elbow propped up against the right arm of Scott Carpenter, trying my best to blend in with The Right Stuff guys.

When I got home and showed the image to my wife, I asked her, "who do think is the best looking of the Mercury astronauts?", hoping she'd pick me. She took a quick glance at the photo, and said, without a moment's hesitation, "Carpenter". So much for my ego...

LM-12
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posted 02-09-2014 10:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It looks like there were also individual photos of the Mercury astronauts taken at the F-106 (59-158) aircraft.

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