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  Apollo astronaut selection and assignment order

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Author Topic:   Apollo astronaut selection and assignment order
RobertB
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posted 12-13-2013 11:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for RobertB   Click Here to Email RobertB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One thing many of the astronaut books makes perfectly clear is the importance of the Pecking Order; the Original 7 astronauts will always get better positions than Next Nine, within the 14 the test pilots will get better positions than the non-testers and so on.

This creates a strange situation where the "better" position, the LMP, goes to the "lower in the pecking order" astronaut. The best example is probably (third group) Alan Bean going to the moon while (second group) Dick Gordon stays in orbit.

Even though it would be a "demotion" in one way, why wouldn't the higher in the pecking order astronaut try to jockey towards the better position? Perhaps they did and Deke just said "No"?

onesmallstep
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posted 12-13-2013 01:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As discussed earlier in this and other forums, the selection often came down to who was the 'best' candidate at the time, with seniority, qualifications and yes, oftentimes bias on the part of Deke Slayton (and later Al Shepard). But luck and happenstance played roles too; in the case of Al Bean, if CC Williams, the prime LMP, had not died, Bean would probably have never gone to the Moon and would have remained in the Apollo Applications program (later called Skylab) instead of being chosen by Conrad for Apollo 12.

As is well known, Grissom had the inside track for an early moon flight, had the Apollo fire not happened. Then again, Carpenter and Cooper were effectively 'blackballed' after their flights and were never chosen for future missions. Others openly campaigned and got what they wanted, while some maybe more qualified were denied a flight slot. Politics sometimes played a part; witness Joe Engle being bumped from Apollo 17 to be replaced by Jack Schmitt, the only geologist to walk on the moon.

Tom
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posted 12-13-2013 06:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by RobertB:
The best example is probably (third group) Alan Bean going to the moon while (second group) Dick Gordon stays in orbit
Not true... Gordon was also third group.

4allmankind
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posted 12-13-2013 07:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 4allmankind   Click Here to Email 4allmankind     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Actually, Cooper flew twice.

moorouge
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posted 12-14-2013 01:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Small correction — Carpenter didn't fly again because he lost his flight status following a scooter accident that left him with impaired mobility of his left elbow.

He may have been unpopular with Kraft, but this didn't necessarily preclude a further flight.

RobertB
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posted 12-14-2013 02:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for RobertB   Click Here to Email RobertB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Tom:
Not true... Gordon was also third group.
Looks like my central theme was based on a mistake... CMPs didn't really have any meaningful seniority over LMPs. Sorry guys, moving on...

Delta7
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posted 12-14-2013 07:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The CMP position involved a little more responsibility and autonomy on flights involving the LM, than the LMP position. While LMPs duties were largely that of support (both in the CM and LM), the CMP spent time as the sole pilot and de facto commander of the CM.

In addition, in Deke Slayton's system CMPs were rotated into CDR slots after the mission had flown (Lovell, Scott, Young, Gordon; Collins was offered but declined. Roosa could very well have commanded Apollo 20 had it flown, and Mattingly was probably pointed at commanding Apollo 19 while training for Apollo 13.)

The only exception is Eisele, whom Slayton and others did not deem CDR material following Apollo 7.

robsouth
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posted 12-14-2013 08:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One of the deciding factors for who flew as CMP up to and including Apollo 12 was previous flight experience. Gordon had flown before, Bean hadn't.

Grissom had no inside track to a moon landing. Slayton could have put him back in the mix after Apollo 1 but there was no guarantee that he would get the first landing or any landing at all.

Test pilots didn't always get preference over non-test pilots, Schmitt got preference over Engle. It would be more accurate to say that test pilots got preference over non-test pilots in Slayton's opinion.

The pecking order wasn't always adhered to, plenty of Group 2 astronauts were given Apollo commands over Cooper who was a Group 1 astronaut and McDivitt might have been given a shot at the Apollo 13 LMP slot with Roosa as the CMP on that flight who was a Group 5 astronaut.

Cooper wasn't black balled, his approach to the Apollo 10 backup role meant he was an easy target for Slayton and Shepard to play office politics for the Apollo 13 commander role.

Skylon
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posted 12-14-2013 09:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skylon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A few comments:

Cooper flew twice due to a hole created in the Gemini rotation by Alan Shepard's medical disqualification - he was not in Slayton's original Gemini rotation (at least as a prime crew member).

As for Carpenter - his disqualification from flight status is tricky. Even if he was medically fit for flight, I don't see him getting reassigned because Slayton, somewhat unequivocally states in "Deke!" that Carpenter was "unacceptable to management." I read that as Kraft, but I don't think Slayton was too inclined to fly him again.

Going back to the original question, about astronauts jockeying for a "better" (LMP) position - the only jockeying examples I can think of were tied to flying as CDR versus LMP and they are Jim McDivitt and Gene Cernan. One didn't work - the other did.

For crews assigned (as prime or backup) to Apollo's 7 thru 11 - the CMP's had no room to maneuver - Slayton mandated CMP's have one spaceflight under their belt for CM/LM missions. That only actively took the LMP position from one Astronaut, Mike Collins, who went from LMP to CMP when early Apolo crews got shuffled, but really pigeon-holed Dick Gordon. - he would really have no basis to jockey as flying as LMP on Apollo 12 - he had been training since 1967 as a CMP - as backup to Apollo 9 - that would be an utter waste of years of specialization to suddenly turn him into a LMP - even if he used seniority. Similar for Mike Collins - when he was back on flight status, Slayton could have put him on Apollo 11 as LMP just as easily, but Collins had spent more time with the Command Module, and Aldrin, in spite of the "promotion" to CMP for the Apollo 8 backup crew, was focused more on the LMP seat.

The Group 5 guys would have had far less room to jockey. They had to know the lunar flights were finite by the time they were getting crew assignments. You can understand the jockeying efforts by McDivitt and Cernan, because they at least had flown in space.

Tom
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posted 12-14-2013 09:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Skylon:
Cooper flew twice due to a hole created in the Gemini rotation by Alan Shepard's medical disqualification - he was not in Slayton's original Gemini rotation (at least as a prime crew member).
I could never understand that. If I remember correctly, didn't Cooper fly what most consider a "perfect" flight aboard Faith 7? Why would Slayton not want to use his expertise on Gemini?

Tom
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posted 12-14-2013 10:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Skylon:
...the only jockeying examples I can think of were tied to flying as CDR versus LMP and they are Jim McDivitt and Gene Cernan. One didn't work - the other did.
I don't believe you can say that McDivitt was jockeying for the CDR position on Apollo 13, when in fact the LMP position was never officially offered to him.

moorouge
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posted 12-14-2013 11:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Skylon:
As for Carpenter - his disqualification from flight status is tricky.
Hardly. Carpenter's accident was in July 1964 so he was out of the reckoning from that date whatever Kraft or Slayton might have thought.

Duke Of URL
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posted 12-14-2013 02:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Duke Of URL   Click Here to Email Duke Of URL     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by onesmallstep:
Then again, Carpenter and Cooper were effectively 'blackballed' after their flights and were never chosen for future missions.
Scott Carpenter received a grounding injury in 1964 during the Sealab experiment.

Chris Kraft has claimed "credit" for grounding Carpenter but Deke Slayton, who was responsible for crew selection at that time, wrote about this specific circumstance in his autobiography. "It wasn't his (Kraft's) choice to make" was what Slayton had to say.

Carpenter may have fallen afoul of astro-politics but in 1964, the year before Gemini (and four years before the first Apollo flight), he was medically disqualified from further flights. He was never chosen for missions because he couldn't have been.

mach3valkyrie
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posted 12-14-2013 02:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mach3valkyrie   Click Here to Email mach3valkyrie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Carpenter broke his arm badly in a motor scooter accident in Bermuda. It never healed properly and it kept him out of the rotation on a medical.

I never really understood why Cooper fell into such disfavor after his Mercury mission either, Tom. The automatic control system failed and he flew the reentry manually and made a safe splashdown, among other noteworthy events.

I've read he took a less than serious approach to training for Gemini, according to some astronaut biographies, but did well backing up Gemini 12 and even better for Apollo 10.

Shuttle Endeavour
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posted 12-14-2013 03:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Shuttle Endeavour   Click Here to Email Shuttle Endeavour     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On Wikipedia, it says that his casual attitude towards training and spaceflight caused him not to fly Apollo 14, among other flights.

Delta7
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posted 12-14-2013 03:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mike Collins in his book Carrying The Fire, said Cooper "Did a great job on Mercury, not bad on Gemini, but Apollo seemed too much..."

I get the impression Cooper increasingly did not fit in well as NASA evolved into a bureaucracy with boxes to check off with regard to training and procedures which became more extensive and complex. He was a "kick the tires and light the fire" kind of pilot who preferred to leave the non-flying details and systems knowledge to others. He refused to play by management's rules and paid the price.

Rusty53
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posted 12-14-2013 11:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rusty53     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe that it was in "First Man" where I read that Deke Slayton approached Neil Armstrong with the offer of rotating Jim Lovell and Mike Collins to his crew as LMP and CMP, respectively. But Armstrong felt that Lovell deserved a command of his own and that (paraphrasing here) no way Collins should be lower rank than Aldrin.

Thus Aldrin (who was at this point training as CMP), was demoted to LMP while Collins was promoted to CMP for Apollo 11. It seems that at least in Armstrong's mind the CMPs outranked the LMPs on Apollo crews.

Skylon
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posted 12-15-2013 09:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skylon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Remember, Aldrin had already trained as a LMP for some time. He had become a CMP when Collins had to undergo surgery, and Jim Lovell got reassigned to CMP. Collins had also been focused on the Command Module since 1967 - Essentially between the two, Collins had more experience and training with the Command Module, while Aldrin had been intended as a LMP originally.

To switch back to my earlier comment's on McDivitt and Carpenter - Slayton made it sound like it was offered, or maybe discussed. In any case, McDivitt had a lot of job offers beyond flying on 13 going on at the time (both from the Air Force and NASA). I will concede I used the term "jockeying" liberally there - I was just trying to think up anything close to it, and struggling - there wasn't too much position jockeying in Apollo.

Carpenter may have been out of the running medically, and Kraft may never had been able to formally kill his career, but that said, I can't see Carpenter getting assigned to a crew by Slayton unless it was something he absolutely needed somebody for.

Duke Of URL
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posted 01-03-2014 10:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Duke Of URL   Click Here to Email Duke Of URL     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by onesmallstep:
Then again, Carpenter and Cooper were effectively 'blackballed' after their flights and were never chosen for future missions.

Scott Carpenter may have been "blackballed" by Chris Kraft, but Deke Slayton said, "It wasn't his call to make."

Other astronauts had much worse "errors" than on Aurora 7, including an incorrect switch setting that almost crashed Apollo 10, Gene Cernan's flat-hatting helicopter crash and a valve left open in the ASTP flight that hospitalized, and very nearly killed, the crew.

Compared to these, "looking out of the window too much" seems like small potatoes, and Carpenter may very well have been selected for a second (and third) mission.

onesmallstep
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posted 01-03-2014 11:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
True enough. There always seems to be a big difference between a perceived error/fault on the part of an astronaut or crew, and the outcome of a mission. The fact that Eisele and Cunningham never flew again after Apollo 7, and the 'crew strike' on Skylab 3, the first and only flight for the three astronauts. Although both missions were successful, things always go on behind the scenes that the public is not aware of until years later. A case in point is Dave Scott and the whole insurance cover/stamp dealer controversy, already covered in another topic thread on cS. I guess 'second chances' are few and far between in the spaceflight business.

Fra Mauro
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posted 01-03-2014 12:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Like many people in their professions, there are certain people who can get away with things and others who can't. Maybe Carpenter had a strike against him because he didn't fly jets, for example.

onesmallstep
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posted 01-03-2014 02:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not true about Carpenter 'not flying jets'. After duty flying prop-powered P2V Neptune patrol planes off Japan during the Korean War, he reported to Patuxent River for training as a test pilot, graduating in the top third of his class. He then spent 1954-57 testing almost every new plane that came into the Navy inventory, including jets.

And of course, he had to learn to fly the Air Force's F-102/F-106 as a training/chase plane then in use by NASA. And it was certainly not his lack of engineering credentials that held him back: although he completed all his courses save one exam for graduation, he eventually received his degree after the Aurora 7 flight, with the University of Colorado counting his spaceflight as credit that "..more than made up for the deficiency in heat transfer (studies)." An understatement, to be sure!

mooncollector
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posted 01-03-2014 11:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mooncollector   Click Here to Email mooncollector     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I might be out of the loop on this but I always had the impression that there was an unspoken meritocracy about the Commander's role in Apollo... up to a point.

To make this post short, I cannot understand for the life of me how McDivitt was never afforded the chance to command a lunar landing. He and Borman (who retired after 8) always seemed to be the creme of the crop.

Frankly, Alan Shepard was not a very accomplished commander on 14 and that has been told to me by people who are involved with the space program peripherally. Shepard got the left seat through cronyism with Slayton. That messed up the entire rotation and made 14 a somewhat diminished flight (McDivitt WOULD have found the rim of Cone Crater, among other things) and it is understandable that McDivitt would have seen an LMP slot as a slap in the face. Between he and Shepard it was 15 minutes in space vs. Four Days, and Shepard was the one for whom his parking orbit was his first and only orbit around the earth... ever.

For what it's worth, I think 13's crew should have been given another shot, too. Maybe not together. McDivitt and Haise would have made a nice 14 pairing (Haise would have already trained for essentially the same mission at the same landing site), then bring in Lovell, Scott and Young as CDRs of 15-17. It is rumored that Mitchell was a weak link and that Cernan (although he did a spectacular job on 17) was before that flight, not really trusted by Slayton.

I am not sure the best available 12 astronauts walked on the moon. Not in the least.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 01-04-2014 12:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mooncollector:
For what it's worth, I think 13's crew should have been given another shot, too. Maybe not together.

Lovell said 13 would be his last. Haise was given another shot, but Apollo 19 was canceled.

David C
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posted 01-04-2014 03:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mooncollector:
I am not sure the best available 12 astronauts walked on the moon. Not in the least.
Of course not. In fact you can argue that some of the best Americans available didn't make it into Apollo at all. Selections are made for numerous reasons, "best" is a luxury that is rarely an option. Usually, qualified, willing, available, known quantity (my buddies), external pressure and other reasons never made public are involved. I served as a squadron training officer and putting the program together was about filling seats and filling squares. Sure Apollo was different but the same principles apply.

But yeah, without being privy to the inside gouge it does seem that Slayton let personal feelings exert excessive influence on the 14 crew selection.

ea757grrl
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posted 01-04-2014 08:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ea757grrl   Click Here to Email ea757grrl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I may be making a point that's been previously made, but...when these discussions of "why didn't Astronaut X or Y go on to fly/command another mission?" it's also worth considering there may have been personal reasons - the months/years-long responsibility and grind of training and preparation meant sacrifices in their personal and family lives, or perhaps they had other goals they wanted to pursue.

Tom
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posted 01-04-2014 09:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Exactly... which are most likely the reasons why Borman, McDivitt and Stafford did not command lunar landing flights.

Bram
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posted 01-04-2014 11:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bram   Click Here to Email Bram     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As far as I know:

Borman: didn't want to; he decided to quit after Apollo 8 to spend more time with his family.

Stafford: was highly involved in management roles and preferred that over another mission. He was later assigned to ASTP because of his contacts with the Russians.

Skylon
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posted 01-04-2014 03:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skylon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To say Shepard's assignment "messed up" the entire rotation is something of a stretch. It primarily knocked two people out of it (Cooper and Eisele) and led to Lovell, Haise and ultimately Jack Swigert, flying a mission ahead of "their turn." Scott and Young commanded missions when they were supposed to by the rotation. Cernan got lucky with the hole created in the rotation by Mike Collins leaving, plain and simple. Had that not happened, he would have never made it to the Moon due to his gamble.

Shepard was considered by Slayton to be their "most capable" pilot since Mercury. Slayton would have given him Gemini 3, or Apollo 1 if Shepard had been medically cleared to fly. Shepard clearly had the backing of Bob Gilruth all the way back to Mercury. Cronyism I think is a bit of a harsh term, because I think Slayton, sincerely felt, even with a mere 15 minutes of experience, Shepard was on par with McDivitt, and anyone else.

You could also go deeper I guess and argue what such a move also said about Slayton's aspirations if he returned to flight (such as how he recommended himself as CDR for ASTP, with NO spaceflight experience).

Ed Mitchell a "weak link"? Astronauts had issues with him, but he was the second member of his group assigned to a crew, a graduate of ARPS and regarded as very knowledgeable about the Lunar Module. Unlike the other members of the Apollo 10 backup crew, he managed to hold onto his place on the flight line and that must say something about his work ethic.

I'm not going to debate if Shepard and Mitchell did or did not to best job of a lunar landing team. Merely that they played their cards right, and did their jobs on the ground to get themselves to the position to walk on the Moon. I certainly agree Jim McDivitt should have landed a lunar flight, but McDivitt also weighed a number of management opportunities following Apollo 9 - Slayton offered him the job of Astronaut Office Chief when Shepard returned to flight status, the USAF wanted him back to run MOL and, ultimately the job he picked, Apollo Program Manager as MSC.

I want to say the most "Fair" option would have been assigning McDivitt to 13, and Shepard as his backup, but then you still mess up the rotation, since John Young gets bumped back a flight. Not to mention that for all we know then McDivitt doesn't get to try and find Cone Crater since there would be no reason to bump him to 14, and avoid possibly having an O2 tank blow on him.

Rusty53
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posted 01-04-2014 03:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rusty53     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Do you think that Slayton also hoped that Shepard's assignment to command a landing crew would also establish a precedent for himself as a fellow medically-grounded astronaut?

Skylon
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posted 01-04-2014 04:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skylon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
At minimum, its clear Slayton followed a precedent for medically grounded Astronauts to get the first available flight that had no assigned crew, if they were cleared for flight status.

It happened to Michael Collins (Apollo 11).

It happened to Alan Shepard (Apollo 13 was the first available crew - bumped to 14 for extra training).

It happened to Deke Slayton (the Skylab crews were named when he returned to flight status - ASTP was literally the only thing unassigned, and his only shot to fly).

robsouth
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posted 01-04-2014 05:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Slayton made the decisions on crew assignments, not Kraft. If Slayton had assigned Carpenter to a Gemini crew, Kraft would just have had to wear it. The legend of Kraft ending Carpenter's career probably grew because he did never fly in space again but that was due to a medical reason.

On the 23rd of January 1963 Carpenter was assigned to LM development and Slayton was planning on the Group 1 astronauts commanding the early Gemini missions so Carpenter might have been assigned a second mission.

If he had flown again Kraft would have probably not been so vocal on the subject.

osizz
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posted 01-08-2014 07:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for osizz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The other angle on Shepard that I never hear discussed is that he was a heck of a chip to be able to play when public interest began to wane after the first two landings. He was back in the rotation by '68/'68, so I know it wasn't designed this way, but it paid off in spades to have the first American in space "bring Apollo back" (what I have to assume was the general public thought in 1970-1971) from the disaster of 13.

robsouth
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posted 01-12-2014 07:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Regards the question of the command module pilot (CMP) being a promotion up from lunar module pilot, didn't the CMP ride the re-entry phase in the commander's seat? During which mission did this start?

And did every CMP, following that first mission to do so, return in the commander's seat?

Lou Chinal
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posted 01-12-2014 09:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good point Rob. I know that Dave Scott did on Apollo 9. The CMP had to know how to do it. What if a rendezvous had not been successful? I'm not sure about 7 and 8.

Skylon
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posted 01-12-2014 10:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skylon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'd read that on Apollo 8 Borman stayed in the left-hand seat for re-entry, which surprised me since originally his crew had been training for a flight with the LM. But, based on that I assumed Schirra did the same on 7. From 9 onward the CMP's flew re-entry since all those flights involved the LM, and the CMP had to train for the grim possibility of returning alone, so why not have the CMP fly it?

On ASTP Brand flew re-entry - which he'd have trained on as Apollo 15's backup CMP - but that flight seemed to break up major "flying" tasks between all three Astronauts - Stafford, DM retrieval and the docking, Slayton the undocking/re-docking test and Brand, entry.

I've wondered who flew the left-hand seat on Skylab for re-entry since the launch seating apparently was not what I expected (SL 2 and 3 at least had the science pilots in the center seat). Did the Pilots (Weitz, Lousma and Pogue) get any "stick" time on the CM?

robsouth
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posted 01-12-2014 10:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Maybe, like you say, it was a requirement of the CMP, on missions carrying a LM, to be able to control the CM during re-entry in the event of any kind of failure leading to a solo return, and if you've trained one of the crew to do it, then why train two? It also passes responsibility away from the commander who already had so many other tasks to master, not least of all learning how to fly, and on later missions, land the LM on the moon.

Another point that has been raised in this thread is the statement that some astronauts could make errors and still get selected. Take the case of Scott Carpenter's issues during re-entry alignment, re-entry and post mission comments. Kraft blew a gasket over all these and yet what has he said over the years about James Lovell erasing the navigational data off the computer during the TEC?

It's my opinion that Kraft has pinned down Carpenter's non return to space on his say so alone. In his book, 'Flight', Kraft wrote, 'I swore an oath that Scott Carpenter would never again fly in space. He didn't'. The first part of that sentence doesn't automatically equate to the second part.

Something that is not often mentioned about Carpenter is the fact that he only had two months as prime crew member to train specifically for MA7. Also, everyone was suddenly coming up with all kinds of experiments to include on the flight. I think Kraft should cut the 4th American in space some slack and actually show him more respect.

BBlatcher
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From: Savannah, GA, USA
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posted 01-12-2014 10:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BBlatcher     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Skylon:
Remember, Aldrin had already trained as a LMP for some time. He had become a CMP when Collins had to undergo surgery, and Jim Lovell got reassigned to CMP. Collins had also been focused on the Command Module since 1967 - Essentially between the two, Collins had more experience and training with the Command Module, while Aldrin had been intended as a LMP originally.
Aldrin was CMP when Fred Haise, an unflown astronaut, was put on the crew, which fit Slayton's earlier rule that a CMP should have flight experience.

As mention before, Armstrong himself thought Collins was the more capable of the two and should be in charge piloting the Command Module.

Both Collins and Slayton say in their respective books that Collins was offered the chance to get right back in rotation as a Commander, while training for Apollo 11. There is no known record of Aldrin being offered such a position.

BBlatcher
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Posts: 50
From: Savannah, GA, USA
Registered: Aug 2011

posted 01-12-2014 10:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BBlatcher     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by RobertB:
Even though it would be a "demotion" in one way, why wouldn't the higher in the pecking order astronaut try to jockey towards the better position? Perhaps they did and Deke just said "No"?
Simply put, the CMP was responsible for doing most of the actual piloting of the mission and was responsible for docking and potentially "rescuing" a Lunar Module stranded in low orbit. You want a experienced and capable pilot in that position and that's usually why the "better" pilot was a CMP untested of an LMP. The latter did no actual piloting, Alan Bean got quit lucky on Apollo 12.

Besides, when you're offered a flight to the Moon, you don't say no, even if you don't have the best seat on the mission.

By all accounts, including Alan Bean's, Dick Gordon was nothing but a gentleman team player on Apollo 12, even though Bean was the least experienced astronaut. Gordon didn't say no, he just dug in and did the job, hoping he'd get to be Commander of a lunar mission further down the line. He was slated to Command Apollo 18, but the program was canceled with Apollo 17 and by that point he had missed out on getting a seat on Skylab or ASTP. Had he stuck around he would have been commanding Shuttle flights, he was well liked and well respected as great guy and pilot.

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