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  Space shuttle backup crew members

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Author Topic:   Space shuttle backup crew members

Posts: 131
From: Cork, Cork, Ireland
Registered: Oct 2005

posted 02-20-2007 08:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for johntosullivan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've read many times that the standard crew rotation model for Gemini and Apollo was that the backup crew would skip two flights and be prime crew on the third.

The backup crew received all the same training and support as the prime crew (within reason). I know this didn't always go smoothly.

In this system, if a crew member got ill, his backup replaced him. i.e. the whole crew were not replaced.

What is the backup situation with the shuttle? Now and in it's earlier years? Is there a whole seven-person backup crew training alongside the prime crew or does NASA maintain a team of proficient backups for each role?

New Member


posted 02-20-2007 12:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JGJ   Click Here to Email JGJ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From STS-1 through STS-3, there were indeed full back-up crews, but since these were 2-man missions it wasn't hard to do. From STS-4 on, each crew member has his/her own backup.

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-20-2007 01:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Originally posted by JGJ:
From STS-4 on, each crew member has his/her own backup.
From STS-4 on, shuttle crew members have generally not had backup crew members assigned.

There are exceptions, though. Most of the payload specialists had backups, though some did not (e.g. John Glenn). NASA also assigned backup crew members for time sensitive missions (e.g. Greg Harbaugh on STS-61, less an EVA prime crew member needed to be replaced).

The Mir and ISS resident crews have also had backups.

All times are CT (US)

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