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  Mercury - Gemini - Apollo
  Astronaut personalities and crew compatibility

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Author Topic:   Astronaut personalities and crew compatibility
Duke Of URL
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Posts: 1308
From: Syracuse, NY, USA
Registered: Jan 2005

posted 11-10-2013 07:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Duke Of URL   Click Here to Email Duke Of URL     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think the term for fuels that ignite on contact is "hypergolic", and that word may have been used to describe the relations between astronauts.

Everything I've read about Buzz Aldrin and Frank Borman leads me to think their personalities weren't compatible (at best). Can anyone comment on other pairings, real or speculative, that may have lead to the crew cabin being more explosive than the booster fuel? And have any crews had disagreements in space that impacted the mission?

AstroAutos
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From: Co. Monaghan, Ireland
Registered: Mar 2009

posted 11-10-2013 09:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AstroAutos   Click Here to Email AstroAutos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think it's safe to say the pairing of Jim McDivitt and Gene Cernan would've been interesting to say the least...

moorouge
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From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 11-11-2013 01:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There were unconfirmed (?) reports that Mike Collins had to separate Armstrong and Aldrin after a disagreement prior to their '11' flight.

Skylon
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Registered: Sep 2010

posted 11-11-2013 08:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skylon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ironically, at one point Cernan was on a crew backing up McDivitt (Apollo 205/208)

The only outburst between Armstrong and Aldrin, Collins recalled in his memoir didn't involve him separating the two, but going to bed and letting them sort it out (which it seemed like they did). That said, one gets a sense from "Carrying the Fire" that Collins did not care for Wally Schirra much.

Gus Grissom and Frank Borman it was quickly realized were a poor pairing - they were pegged to fly on Gemini together at one point. Buzz Aldrin in general I think butted some heads. Rusty Schweickart, it sounds like may have done the same as the "token hippie", though not to the extent as Buzz.

Alternately, it always sounds like Jim Lovell and Pete Conrad were two guys everyone got along with.

In general Slayton seems to have had a good sense on how to match people during Gemini and Apollo. I don't recall ever reading about any crew disagreements, let alone ones that impacted major mission objectives. Compatibility with MOCR however... (Apollo 7 and Skylab 4).

WAWalsh
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From: Cortlandt Manor, NY
Registered: May 2000

posted 11-11-2013 04:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for WAWalsh   Click Here to Email WAWalsh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Skylon:
In general Slayton seems to have had a good sense on how to match people during Gemini and Apollo.
This rings true to me. Slayton did a fine job of pairing up people, while also aware of the nature of the mission. Jim Lovell teamed up perfectly with Frank Borman on Gemini 7, but I can imagine a few other combinations with Borman creating some problems while floating inside a phone booth for two weeks. Back to the idea of pairing an experienced commander with Alan Shepard for Apollo 14. While McDivitt may have turned down the opportunity to go to the Moon, Pete Conrad would have jumped at the chance and, I suspect, enjoyed the months of needling his "rookie" commander.

Given the nature of each man's training and background and the relative short duration of each mission, however, the explosive pairings would be few and far between. As many have noted, the success of the Apollo 11 crew downplays the importance of crew compatibility for missions.

Ronpur
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Posts: 360
From: Brandon, Fl
Registered: May 2012

posted 11-11-2013 08:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
At the opposite end of the issue, crews that had great compatibility.

From what I have read, Apollo 12 seams like a dream team.

Any others get along so well that they have been close friends for so long?

star61
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Posts: 268
From: Bristol UK
Registered: Jan 2005

posted 11-12-2013 05:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for star61   Click Here to Email star61     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Some fun to be had with this!

So Apollo 20 launches with the mega crew of: Armstrong, Young and Stafford.

Three days in... "Apollo 20, Houston, are you there yet? Please, anyone?"

"Houston, 20, Yup..."

And Walter Cronkite passes out...

moorouge
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Posts: 1591
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 11-13-2013 01:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ronpur:
From what I have read, Apollo 12 seams like a dream team.
According to Al Bean in his recent lecture at Pontefract this was not the case at the beginning of their training. It only became a 'dream team' after Conrad had a long heart to heart with Bean. The result of this talk was that Bean still regards Conrad as the 'best of the best' among all the astronauts.

Peter downunder
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Posts: 24
From: Lancefield, Victoria, Australia
Registered: Apr 2012

posted 11-13-2013 02:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Peter downunder   Click Here to Email Peter downunder     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What was the substance of Pete's heart to heart with Beano? This is why I'm on this site: the human stories.

moorouge
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From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 11-13-2013 05:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Basically it was on a theme of laying fault or criticism on others. Conrad said that before one did this one should examine one's own actions to see if they had played a significant part in the disagreement. All too often, this was the case.

Delta7
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Posts: 1192
From: Ossian IN USA
Registered: Oct 2007

posted 11-13-2013 07:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Gene Cernan and Ron Evans were good friends from pre-NASA days. I've wondered if that had something to do with Evans' assignment to Cernan's crew, and if there might not had been a different CMP on Apollo 17 if Mike Collins had accepted Slayton's offer to command.

carmelo
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Posts: 808
From: Messina, Sicilia, Italia
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 11-13-2013 10:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for carmelo   Click Here to Email carmelo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Skylon:
Alternately, it always sounds like Jim Lovell and Pete Conrad were two guys everyone got along with.
What about John Young?

Ronpur
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Posts: 360
From: Brandon, Fl
Registered: May 2012

posted 11-13-2013 07:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by moorouge:
Conrad said that before one did this one should examine one's own actions to see if they had played a significant part in the disagreement.
Pete Conrad... wow, such wisdom. World needs more Pete Conrads.

Skylon
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Posts: 156
From:
Registered: Sep 2010

posted 11-13-2013 07:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skylon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by carmelo:
What about John Young?

Tricky. Since there are two John Young's recalled - John Young the Astronaut and John Young the Chief Astronaut.

The former, everybody seemed to get along with on flights. In some ways Mike Collins, in "Carrying the Fire" sounds like he enjoyed flying with Young more than Armstrong and Aldrin. However, he notes that Young was the most uncommunicative with him, after flying.

All times are CT (US)

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