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  SL-4: Commander selection for Skylab 3

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Author Topic:   SL-4: Commander selection for Skylab 3
billshap
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posted 09-09-2012 10:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for billshap     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It seems like Gerry Carr's selection as SL-4 Commander was an upset — the first rookie CDR (since Gemini), the first Group 5 CDR, picked over many already flown candidates, etc.

How big an upset was this? Were there other serious, legit candidates?

Skylon
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posted 09-10-2012 08:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skylon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Manpower.

At the time the Skylab crews were named, I'm not sure what "Veterans" you are referring to (other than Walt Cunningham and Rusty Schweickart who I will get to later) could have been assigned.

When the Skylab crews were announced, the flight line looked like this for Apollo:

  • Apollo 16 - Young, Mattingly, Duke
    Backup: Haise, Roosa, Mitchell

  • Apollo 17 - Cernan, Evans, Schmitt
    Backup: Scott, Worden, Irwin

  • Jim Lovell (not interested in flying) and Jack Swigert were working the shuttle program. Dick Gorden was retiring after Apollo 15 with Apollo 18 no longer on the horizon (he was offered a backup position for Skylab). Tom Stafford was Deke's deputy and was not enthusiastic about a long duration flight.
So, throw in the planned retirement of Ed Mitchell after 16, the scandal that axed Scott, Worden, Irwin and Swigert's careers — never mind that there was no time to rotate anyone on 16 and 17's prime or backup crew — there were only two other veterans who could have been assigned — Rusty Schweickart and Walt Cunningham.

Carr and Pogue were assigned to Skylab after Apollo 19's cancellation in 1970 and removed from 16's backup crew to avoid dead-ending them and to give them a shot to get familiar with Skylab. Pete Conrad (heading the Skylab branch) may have been Gerry Carr's angel as he had been impressed by him when he served on Apollo 12's support crew.

Walt Cunningham was the most upset - he'd worked Skylab since after Apollo 7. He was offered backup commander for the first crew and declined. Slayton states he wasn't willing to "rule him out", but I think this makes it clear he was lukewarm about the prospect of putting Cunningham on a prime crew. He resigned from NASA.

Schweickart stuck it out as a backup Commander, in spite of working the program since Apollo 9. I suspect he expected he would not fly again, but stuck it out anyway. He served as a fine backup, and helped devise a number of the repair techniques used by the first Skylab crew to free the solar array and erect the sun-shade.

Delta7
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posted 09-10-2012 08:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
At the time the Skylab crews were selected there were many more unflown/un-assigned astronauts than crew positions. Rookie commanders had worked out just fine before (McDivitt, Borman, Armstrong), so why not again? Especially for a mission that did not involve testing new hardware or a complicated endeavor such as a lunar landing. Slayton obviously had confidence in Carr's abilities, so it seems like an easy decision.

If it had been decided that the CDR needed to be a veteran, Cunningham, Schweikart and Swigert would seem to be the most likely choices. Or Dick Gordon on the 2nd flight and Al Bean on the third, as Pete Conrad probably envisioned. Gordon learned he wouldn't be commanding Apollo 17 during the summer of 1971, and Skylab crews were announced in February 1972 (one month after Gordon left NASA), so there was a period where he could have easily been selected for a Skylab command if both he and Slayton desired it.

I can think of one possible scenario:

SL-1 Conrad, Kerwin,Weitz.
SL-2 Gordon, Garriott, Carr.
SL-3 Bean, Gibson, Lousma.

Michael Cassutt
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posted 09-10-2012 10:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Delta7:
I can think of one possible scenario
This could easily have been the line-up, had Gordon chosen to move to Skylab after Apollo 12. But one point of fact: while the Skylab crews were publicly announced in early 1972, they had been assigned inside the astronaut office in December 1970, over a year earlier. So the Skylab ship had long sailed for Gordon.

billshap
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posted 09-10-2012 12:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for billshap     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I didn't realize the Skylab crews were assigned as early as 1970. So, were all the Apollo guys assigned at that time eliminated from consideration? In that case, there wasn't as big a pool available as I first thought.

It just seems unusual to pick a CDR for an important, long-term mission with no flight experience. Cunningham and Schweickart were the obvious experienced candidates — and both with a science leaning — but as discussed in many places, neither was going to get the nod. And, if Conrad made a big push for Carr, that certainly made a difference.

Fra Mauro
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posted 09-10-2012 12:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I also get the sense that any rookies who had been bounced from possibly flying Apollos 18-19-20, like Carr and Pogue, had a better shot at a Skylab flight.

Delta7
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posted 09-10-2012 02:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've always wondered why Don Lind wasn't selected for a prime crew slot. With his PhD. in Nuclear Physics, research background AND flying experience, NASA would have had in effect 2 Science Pilots on the crew while meeting the desired requirements for the Pilot slot.

Skylon
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posted 09-10-2012 03:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skylon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fra Mauro:
I also get the sense that any rookies who had been bounced from possibly flying Apollos 18-19-20, like Carr and Pogue, had a better shot at a Skylab flight.

Correct for 2 flights. This is what happened with Carr and Pogue when 19 was canceled. Don Lind was moved over when 20 was canceled. The Apollo 18 rookie (Vance Brand) was stuck backing up 15 because they were too far into the training cycle. Even so, due to attrition of potential backup CDR's (Cunningham and Gordon) Brand wound up as backup for Skylab. Weitz, Lousma and McCandless seem to have been the Group 6 guys working Skylab the longest. And Joe Engle of course, seemed to have only eyes for the Shuttle Program after he was bumped from Apollo 17.

Also, keep in mind, the Group 6 Astronauts were partially chosen for Apollo but mostly to prepare for Apollo Applications (which became Skylab). The 19 members were chosen to meet the optimistic flight plans for that program - under those plans, some of them would have had to fly as rookie CDR's, while the most experienced Astronauts of group 2 and 3 would have completed the lunar landings (with some Group 6ers working in). As attrition set in however, more of the Group 6 Astronauts wound up on lunar crews.

moorouge
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posted 09-10-2012 03:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Michael Cassutt:
.... they had been assigned inside the astronaut office in December 1970, over a year earlier.
I'm curious as to know the source for this statement.

As a matter of interest, the early history of Skylab goes thus -

  • Conceived even before 1st manned Apollo launch. 1st recorded mention November 1962 by McDonnell Douglas for using S1VB stage. (Note – can't trace this reference so would appreciate some help.)

  • 1965 – Apollo Extension System. Idea took root and became adapted to Apollo Applications Programme. Definitive announcement shortly before Apollo 8 mission. Bore little resemblance to original intentions. Original plan to use 5 S1VB launches. Workshop was to be S1VB stage using own engine to get into orbit. M/D contract to attach solar panels, meteorite shield and grid flooring into hydrogen tank. In orbit tank to be purged by 1st crew who would then fit it out during 28 day stay. ATM launched during 3rd crew visit and fitted to structure.

  • Second plan conceived use of Saturn V. Eliminated need to launch ATM separately and need to have workshop fuelled.

  • July ’69 NASA switched finally to 2nd option.

  • February 1970 – renamed Apollo Applications Cluster – i.e. Skylab.

Michael Cassutt
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posted 09-10-2012 04:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by moorouge:
I'm curious as to know the source for this statement.
Of course you would, since it doesn't appear in your chron lists.

Try these:

  • Joseph Kerwin's JSC oral history (erroneously, but tellingly) dates the announcement to "early 1970." (That cant' be correct, because he conflates the crew announcement with the news that Conrad was becoming Skylab branch chief. That took place in summer 1970.)

  • Jerry Carr's oral history dates the news to "a few weeks after" the cancellation of Apollos 18 and 19 (September 1970).

  • Walt Cunningham's memoir THE ALL-AMERICAN BOYS notes that he learned of his assignment as backup to Conrad and chose instead to resign; Cunningham left NASA in March 1971.

  • Bill Pogue's oral history dates his assignment when "we were still waiting to fly 14", or prior to February 1971.
And I have Stafford's verbal recollection of the timing.

Ken Havekotte
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posted 09-10-2012 04:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No, I don't think the early planning crews for Skylab were laid out in early 1970.

It was more like a year later in early 1971, as Slayton had indicated for planning purposes, what the prime and backup crews might look like.

There were more than 30 astronauts eligible for a Skylab flight assignment. Slayton had wanted an experienced pilot-commander for the first Skylab crew, therefore, Conrad was a good choice.

During a visit to my home in 2001, when Cunningham was asked why he didn't fly on Skylab, he indicated to me that he had been promised a command position on the maiden space station flight since he had "paid his dues" as the first assigned astronaut office representative working exclusively for America's first space station program since 1968.

In fact, right after his return from Apollo 7 in late Oct. 1968, he went to work as the primary astronaut assigned to the Skylab astronaut support office and continued on as the lead Skylab astronaut for 2 years until 1970.

But when offered the Skylab backup commander slot in early 1971 and not a prime position, Cunningham said it was time for him to leave the astronaut corps. That same year, in August, he resigned from the space agency.

The public announcement of the three named Skylab crews was released on Jan. 18, 1972. At the time, besides the three chosen crews along with their backups, the following active astronauts not chosen for Skylab were pilot candidates Stafford (at the time, though, he was the #2 man in charge of flight crew ops. under Slayton), Gordon (would resign Jan. 1972) Haise, Mattingly, Mitchell (would leave in Oct. 1972), Swigert (left in 1973), Roosa, Crippen, Truly, Fullerton, Hartsfield, Bobko, Overmyer and Peterson, along with scientist-astronauts Allen (went over to NASA HQS), Parker (but served as the non-flight Skylab chief scientist), Henize, Chapman (left NASA in Spet. 1972), England (came back to fly for NASA in 1979), Holmquest (took a leave of absence in May 1971 and resigned from NASA in Sept. 1973), and Thornton.

I have always wondered why Bill Thornton, after serving as a crew member of the crucial 56-day Skylab Medical Experiments Altitude Test that got underway at JSC in the summer of 1972, was never assigned a prime or backup Skylab slot. His crewmates aboard SMEAT were Bobko and Crippen.

David C
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posted 09-10-2012 04:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One thing puzzles me about Mr. Carr's Skylab crew. I seem to recollect that Mr. Pogue was originally penciled in as back-up CMP for Apollo 16 with Mr. Carr as back-up LMP. This may have resulted in their flying as Apollo 19's prime crew in those seats. Now to my understanding the solo CMP role was always considered as more demanding and higher "seniority" than the LMP job.

If the preceding details are correct, how did Mr. Pogue and Mr. Carr wind up swapping seniority positions for Skylab?

Michael Cassutt
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posted 09-10-2012 05:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ken Havekotte:
No, I don't think the early planning crews for Skylab were laid out in early 1970.

It was more like a year later in early 1971, as Slayton had indicated for planning purposes, what the prime and backup crews might look like.


Given your syntax here, I can't tell whether you're agreeing or disagreeing. I don't say the crews were announced in "early 1970," only that Kerwin said so in a 1999 or 2000 oral history. But there are multiple sources indicating that it was December 1970 — with the possibility that it could have been as early as November of that year, or as late as January 1971. Either way, the crews were in place — with the exception of Cunnningham — a year prior to the public announcement.

I'm not quite sure I buy your "more than 30 astronauts eligible," either. Many of those you name were committed to Apollo jobs while some, like Holmquest, had zero chance of being considered. (And none of the MOL transfers really had a chance, either. At least some were told, upon arrival in Houston — and this may have varied, because they didn't all transfer at the same time -- that they wouldn't fly until the new Space Shuttle came along.)

Skylon
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posted 09-10-2012 07:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skylon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by David C:
Now to my understanding the solo CMP role was always considered as more demanding and higher "seniority" than the LMP job.
Don't read too much into the "seniority" aspect of the CMP - at least where the Group 6 Astronauts were concerned. Fred Haise was considered the strongest member of group 6 and he was assigned as a LMP, and the first of his group to be assigned as a crew commander.

Ken Havekotte
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posted 09-10-2012 07:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Michael, Just saw your post and always a pleasure in hearing from you as I am one of your biggest fans. You are indeed one of the world's leading aerospace authors and researchers.

While I am not in disagreement with anything said in your prior post above, I did however, come across some papers and files in Slayton's own hand that are now a part of my own Slayton memorabilia collections.

One such report, written by Slayton himself, had indicated in 1971/72 that there were about 30+ astronauts on an active spaceflight status when the final Apollo lunar landing missions were underway.

Of course, though, of those names listed -- I am sure some like Holmquest were very low on any of Slayton's "pick list" of either future prime or backup crew selections. But Slayton did include him on the list that I have.

I did forget to include Ron Evans on my list. But he was working as a crewman for Apollo 17 all throughout 1972, and later, as backup CMP for Apollo-Soyuz.

But did you see my question about Thornton? As a Group 6 scientist-astrtonaut, he goes back to 1967 with an impressive air force background in space medicine research.

On top of that, Michael, Thornton did work hard as a SMEAT crewman in 1972. But yet he wasn't considered nor selected, not even as a Skylab backup crew member.

Any thoughts why? Maybe personal.

Michael Cassutt
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posted 09-10-2012 09:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ken, thanks for the kind words. Regarding the Slayton list, well, there were indeed 30 or so astronauts in the office in 1971-72 — which is to say, pilots or scientists who were current on the T-38 and eligible for flight assignment.

But my point is that some number south of that were in the selection pool for Skylab — especially when you realize that the crews were named in late 1970/Jan 1971 — at a time when many were still committed to Apollo. (Joe Allen, for example: he has said that by accepting a mission scientist job for Apollo 15, he willingly and knowingly eliminated himself from Skylab. Parker and England were in the same situation — not considered for Skylab after some point in late 1969.)

As for Thornton and why he didn't get selected, who knows? Obviously Kerwin had seniority as the "medi-naut", so it was really a choice between Musgrave and Thornton for backup. (And the presence of the doctor in the first Skylab crew was the reason for two different backup crews. Had the doctor not been considered vital, there would have been a single backup crew.) Why Musgrave over Thornton? Who can say? Why Conrad over Cunningham? Somebody thought Musgrave was a better choice.

As for Thornton's work on SMEAT, he was teamed with Crippen and Bobko — and they weren't selected for any of the Skylab crews, either. So that assignment had no bearing that I can see.

moorouge
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posted 09-11-2012 01:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The previous post briefly mentions the ASTP mission. Negotiations began for this in 1970 with astronauts becoming increasingly involved as plans were discussed and finalised. The crews for this were named in early 1973 with Brand joining the prime crew full time once his duties as a back-up for Skylab were completed.

One wonders what impact this had on astronaut availability and selection for Skylab.

Delta7
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posted 09-11-2012 09:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Putting myself in Deke's mind for a moment, another possibility comes to mind if the desire was to have a veteran command the third Skylab crew: Stuart Roosa.

Even though Roosa was tapped as backup CMP for Apollo 16 (and much later for Apollo 17 after Scott, Worden and Irwin were grounded), Deke could have left Bill Pogue in as Apollo 16 backup CMP, with the idea he would later be assigned to fly on ASTP as CMP or DMP. There's a good chance Roosa would have commanded Apollo 20 had it flown, so Skylab 3 would have been a natural progression.

Roosa/Gibson/Carr? Or Bean/Garriott/Carr and Roosa/Gibson/Lousma (since Lousma was likely to have been Roosa's LMP or CMP on Apollo 20).

Michael Cassutt
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posted 09-11-2012 10:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by moorouge:
One wonders what impact this had on astronaut availability and selection for Skylab.
Likely very little, given the timing — Skylab crews circa Dec 1970. While the ASTP flight was in the wind by that time, it was not a done deal, and wouldn't be until 1972. So while a few astronauts — Stafford and later Scott — were circling the project, it wasn't real enough to affect Slayton's planning at that time.

Delta7
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posted 09-11-2012 12:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another interesting consideration is the likelihood that had he remained in the astronaut corps, Duane Graveline would have been assigned to the first mission. The only real question is as prime or Joe Kerwin's backup.

carmelo
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posted 09-11-2012 01:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for carmelo   Click Here to Email carmelo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Delta7:
There's a good chance Roosa would have commanded Apollo 20 had it flown.
Is not improbable that Conrad would have Apollo 20, if he had want. Pete was very influential and powerful.

Michael Cassutt
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posted 09-11-2012 03:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by carmelo:
Is not improbable that Conrad would have Apollo 20, if he had want. Pete was very influential and powerful.
Without in any way diminishing Conrad's skills and influence, no: after Apollo 12, he sat down with his new chief astronaut, Stafford, and discussed future options... including staying in the Apollo rotation for a shot at 20. "Nope," Stafford told him. "When it comes to commanding lunar landings, you only get one of those."

billshap
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posted 09-12-2012 11:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for billshap     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Michael, wasn't the one-lunar-landing-per-customer policy true for the LMPs as well...meaning down the road Aldrin, Bean, and the rest of the LMPs were not going to command remaining Apollo missions--even before 18-20 were canceled? If the LMPs were so excluded, was Fred Haise going back through the loop targeted for 19 only a result of 13's problems? If 13 would have landed as planned, would someone else been backup CDR on 16, slated for prime on 19?

Fra Mauro
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posted 09-12-2012 11:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If 13 had succeeded, it would be very unlikely that Haise would have been given a second chance to walk on the moon. It makes sense that Swigert would have gone the Apollo 16/19 route.

Michael Cassutt
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posted 09-12-2012 12:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by billshap:
Michael, wasn't the one-lunar-landing-per-customer policy true for the LMPs as well... meaning down the road Aldrin, Bean, and the rest of the LMPs were not going to command remaining Apollo missions -- even before 18-20 were canceled?
To this question and the follow-up, who knows? The "policy" against commanding two lunar landings was limited in theory and practice. (Ultimately both Scott and Young were recycled as backup Apollo lunar commanders, meaning they had a chance, however slim, at that 'second' bite of the apple.) I do believe that, as things existed in 1970, Slayton preferred to promote Haise, Mitchell and Irwin to lunar commands -- while holding the door open for Mattingly, Roosa and Worden in case one or all three of these men packed it in, post-lunar landing. But even then Slayton really didn't need to look beyond Apollo 20, so it was a case of considering Haise-Mattingly for Apollo 16 backup/19 prime, and Mitchell/Roosa for 17/20. It could have gone either way, and as we saw, it went in a different direction.

Flyboy7077
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posted 09-13-2012 03:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Flyboy7077   Click Here to Email Flyboy7077     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's where I get confused, how was Jim Irwin still in the rotation at all. If I remember correctly, it was Andrew Chaikin's book A Man On the Moon that told the story how the medical team realized that Irwin had a heart attack on the moon and figured a low gravity, 100% oxygen atmosphere was probably the best place he could be. If that's true, how was Irwin still cleared for flight status?

WAWalsh
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posted 09-13-2012 06:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for WAWalsh   Click Here to Email WAWalsh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I suspect the critical phrase here is "as things existed in 1970." By the time Irwin got back after Apollo 15, Apollos 18-20 were already canceled. At that point, no need to worry about flight status. [will admit, I do not recall a view that Irwin had a heart attack on the Moon and want to go back and look at that]. Equally, I suspect aspects of their missions, if history had otherwise gone the same, would have prevented both Mitchell and Irwin from serving as commanders for later flights.

carmelo
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posted 09-14-2012 12:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for carmelo   Click Here to Email carmelo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Michael Cassutt:
...after Apollo 12, he sat down with his new chief astronaut, Stafford, and discussed future options... including staying in the Apollo rotation for a shot at 20. "Nope," Stafford told him. "When it comes to commanding lunar landings, you only get one of those."
But Apollo 20 was not cancelled short after Apollo 11 and before Apollo 12?

Michael Cassutt
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posted 09-14-2012 12:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The official announcement of the Apollo 20 cancellation was January 4, 1970, after Apollo 12 (November 1969). Most astronauts figured it for cancellation prior to that, of course. Don't make too much of my use of "Apollo 20" in recounting the conversation... it dealt more with Conrad's future, Apollo lunar vs. Skylab, not a specific mission.

ilbasso
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posted 09-14-2012 12:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another factor to consider is: would the individual have wanted a 3-month ride on Skylab? Even at the end of the Space Shuttle era, there were a number of pilot astronauts who simply did not want to take a long-duration mission to the ISS.

carmelo
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posted 09-15-2012 10:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for carmelo   Click Here to Email carmelo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Michael, is true that Conrad, after Apollo 12, wanted Gordon on Skylab, but Dick bet on Apollo 18 and (unfortunately) lose?

Michael Cassutt
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posted 09-16-2012 03:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So Gordon has said, and it makes sense. I think we can all picture Pete Conrad telling both Gordon and Bean, after Apollo 12, "if you guys wanna fly again, follow me to Skylab".

(There was a question up thread about Thornton, and looking back over my notes, I find that there was some question in the 1970s about Thornton's medical eligibility to fly T-38s. I don't know whether this was early 1970s... I do know that I heard about it around 1976.)

Skylon
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posted 09-16-2012 07:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skylon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One question I always had in regards to Skylab crews - why is it assumed that if Skylab 5 became an actual flight that the Skylab 3/4 backup crew of Brand, Lind and Lenoir would fly it as opposed to Schweickart, McCandless and Musgrave? Is it due to the stigma of flying Schweickart again? Or because of Brand and Lind's additional training for a Skylab rescue mission?

Fra Mauro
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posted 09-17-2012 10:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm not sure that Brand would have flown — the mission had a planning date of 1974 but the Apollo-Soyuz crew was selected in the spring of 1973.

BMckay
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posted 09-17-2012 02:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BMckay   Click Here to Email BMckay     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We are hosting Jerry Carr next month so if you have any questions, let us know.

John Charles
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From: Houston, Texas, USA
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 09-18-2012 10:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John Charles     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Michael Cassutt:
I don't know whether this was early 1970s... I do know that I heard about it around 1976.)
Mike, the AP published this story on Aug. 26, 1969. He had a vision issue that impeded his ability to land the T-38 but had received corrective lenses from a NASA optometrist in June. He eventually soloed on July 8 but the Air Force grounded him on July 14 and barred him from soloing when he was later un-grounded. An Air Force review panel returned him to flight training on Aug. 25. He had commenced training in April 1968. If I recall correctly the course was 53 weeks, so he seems to have been held back due to his vision problem.

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