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  Mercury - Gemini - Apollo
  Apollo 13: Recycling the crew for another flight

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Author Topic:   Apollo 13: Recycling the crew for another flight
Headshot
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Posts: 222
From: Streamwood, IL USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 11-07-2013 04:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Was any reason given for not recycling the Apollo 13 crew to the Apollo 14 mission? After the Apollo 13 mission ended, there were still six planned lunar landing missions left (the J-4 and H-4 missions had not yet been cancelled) and the decision was made by May to land Apollo 14 at Apollo 13's original target of Fra Mauro.

Shepard and his crew could have been bumped to the J-4 Apollo 15. It seemed wasteful to train Shepard's crew for something Lovell's crew had already trained.

I am just curious to find out if anyone knows anything concrete about this.

p51
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From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 11-07-2013 04:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good question. I always took it that when the Apollo 11 crew was promised they'd recycle to Apollo 12 if they decided they should not attempt the landing once they were getting ready (to keep them from taking too great a risk), they were outright lied to.

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 28092
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-07-2013 05:01 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 p51:
...they were outright lied to.
I don't think you can defend this assertion (or belief) as the variables are too great.

For example, had Apollo 11 had to abort the landing due to a significant spacecraft failure, the entire program would have stood down to resolve the issue, making it entirely feasible that, if they desired, the Apollo 11 crew could have flown again.

On the other hand, had the wave off been due to pilot error, then it is unlikely that the astronaut at fault, if not also his crewmates, would have re-flown the mission.

There are numerous other scenarios between and outside those two that would each have potentially different outcomes. Paine didn't swear in blood or sign a contract guaranteeing the crew a re-flight, but he extended the offer, letting them know it was a possibility.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 11-07-2013 05:05 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 Headshot:
Was any reason given for not recycling the Apollo 13 crew to the Apollo 14 mission?
Did the Apollo 13 crew want to fly again so soon after narrowly making it back to Earth?

Headshot
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Posts: 222
From: Streamwood, IL USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 11-07-2013 06:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another good question, but we'll probably never know for certain since Lovell and company were never actually offered another flight and did not have the opportunity to make the decision.

Of course an even thornier issue would have been, if a reflight was offered to Lovell, would his crew have included Jack Swigert or Ken Mattingly?

Skylon
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posted 11-07-2013 06:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skylon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There are a couple tricky reasons there.

First, only the Apollo 11 crew got made that "promise" from Paine. I'd heard the Apollo 12 crew had a similar "promise" but, the Apollo 13 crew never got it.

Second, the crew - Jim Lovell had stated his intention to retire after Apollo 13 (even though he did stick around until Apollo concluded). Slayton showed also little interest in sending Swigert back to the Moon as CMP - not because Swigert did a bad job, but because Slayton seems to have felt guilty that Swigert got thrown into the flight at the last minute, only to have it nearly kill him. Sending him back to the Moon to orbit it, didn't seem fair. It's part of why Slayton considered giving him another shot on ASTP. That leaves just Fred Haise for another Apollo flight.

Fra Mauro
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From: Maspeth, NY
Registered: Jul 2002

posted 11-08-2013 08:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Recycling the Apollo 13 crew would pose problems assuming they all wanted to fly again so soon and that Slayton and NASA management agreed with that — the Apollo 14 crew hadn't trained on the rover if they were bumped to Apollo 15 and it wouldn't have been fair to the crews in training. Personally, I would have liked to see Haise put on Apollo 14 as LMP.

Gonzo
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From: Lansing, MI, USA
Registered: Mar 2012

posted 11-08-2013 11:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gonzo   Click Here to Email Gonzo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Headshot:
Another good question, but we'll probably never know for certain since Lovell and company were never actually offered another flight and did not have the opportunity to make the decision.

There are an untold number of things that have happened behind the scenes that we will never know about. I suspect (although I have no proof of such) that it's entirely possible that they were never offered the flight because it was known from behind the scenes discussions that they didn't want to face that kind of decision. Whether they would ultimately accept it was irrelevant. That is, having just returned from such a harrowing flight, they may not have wanted to face the possibility of having to make the decision to do it again. So by not even offering, there was no (public) decision to make. No embarrassment for turning it down (had they done so) and no reason for NASA to "save face" by offering it to them.

Rusty53
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posted 11-08-2013 02:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rusty53     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Neil Armstrong always insisted that he and his crew were just one of many who could have been the first to land and that he was "not chosen to be the commander of the first landing, just the commander of apollo 11". So I wonder if he would have accepted Paine's offer to try again (at least for the first landing) since it would have meant another capable crew (Conrad's) would lose their chance at being first. It seems from all that I have read about the type of man he was, Armstrong may have accepted another chance at "a" landing but not another chance for the "first". He was the consummate team player.

Headshot
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From: Streamwood, IL USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 11-08-2013 04:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I read somewhere ("First Man"?) that Armstrong stated he would have definitely gone to Paine and remind him of his offer had Eagle not landed successfully.

Delta7
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From: Ossian IN USA
Registered: Oct 2007

posted 11-08-2013 07:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Lovell was quoted as saying something to the effect that he'd "Feel the pain of a million stab wounds" from his fellow astronauts if he went for flight #5. Not to mention a 3rd lunar trip.

Fra Mauro
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From: Maspeth, NY
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posted 11-08-2013 08:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can't imagine Al Shepard accepting a delay or being bumped from going to the moon.

Headshot
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Posts: 222
From: Streamwood, IL USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 11-09-2013 07:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Al Shepard, despite his connections, did not run NASA, nor even Apollo. Being assigned to a lunar flight was an honor, not a right. If he fussed too much, especially over something so trivial as a delayed mission, Paine had the authority and mentality to take him off the crew. Shepard knew this and did not fuss when his crew was switched from his originally assigned Apollo 13 to 14.

True, it might have upset Slayton and one or two other astronauts, had Shepard made a fuss and been canned, but Paine was their boss too. Slayton even admits there were many other astronauts who believed (correctly or incorrectly) that Shepard had unfairly jumped to the head of the flight eligibility line. Any one of them would have gladly filled Shepard's open slot if Paine had removed him from the crew.

Al Shepard, above all, wanted to walk on the moon and I do not believe he cared one wit if it happened on Apollo 13, 14 or 15.

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