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  Why didn't these astronauts walk on the moon? (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   Why didn't these astronauts walk on the moon?
taneal1
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posted 09-02-2004 12:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for taneal1   Click Here to Email taneal1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Tom:
McDivitt was offered the LMP position on Apollo 13 with Shepard as CDR, but I don't think he was offered the CDR position after they turned down Shepard.
The words are straight from McDivitt's mouth. He says he could have commanded Apollo 13.

Personally, I can't imagine him making that up or being mistaken.

Captain Apollo
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posted 09-02-2004 03:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Captain Apollo   Click Here to Email Captain Apollo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I guess the difference between us "fans" (who would have gone in any capacity) and astronauts who were career military professionals is that ultimately it was a job,and questions of status, promotion, command, etc. were part of the mix.

I wonder if any regret it? Do Borman or McDivitt ever think at 3am, "I wish I'd..."? Anyone ever asked?

Voskhod
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posted 09-02-2004 04:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Voskhod   Click Here to Email Voskhod     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Theres some interesting bits in this interview with Jim McDivitt. Especially about his X-15 chances.

Captain Apollo
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posted 09-02-2004 07:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Captain Apollo   Click Here to Email Captain Apollo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow - I didn't know about these oral histories. Hours of happy reading! thanks

KC Stoever
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posted 09-02-2004 11:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just now noticed that unusual Deke-Wally exchange noted upthread ("Mercury astronauts weren't hired to go to the moon").

This is way harsh, as my daughter would say, and also sounds like Deke's, ahem, innovation over time.

The 1959 selection process selected men (and declared in memos it was selecting men) who were likely to stay healthy and likely to remain in the astronaut corps for at least ten years. Anticipating more than a decade of service from the seven it chose helped NASA justify the enormous costs of training ($1 million per man in 1959 dollars). Gilruth expected Group 1 astronauts to be in the mix for lunar missions.

But NASA needed more astronauts, to be sure, once the lunar program was announced in 1961--Al couldn't do it all by himself, after all. Still, the accession of Groups 2 and 3 did not superannuate Group 1, as Deke's words to Wally suggest. Imagine Deke saying these words to John Glenn, or Al Shepard.

As it happened, time and chance "superannuated" some of the Mercury guys(Carpenter, 1964 accident, medical grounding; Glenn, 1963 JFK assassination, early retirement; Grissom, 1967 Apollo 1 fire, death; Shepard, 1963?? temporary grounding, Menieres). Wally and Gus were the only ones who stayed healthy until, well, until one of them died, and the other retired. Glenn regained his flight status as a Marine, but by that time had retired from the astronaut corps. Al too recovered to fly in space again. But not Carpenter, as has been discussed elsewhere.

Deke may have "superannuated" other astronauts against their will, like Cooper, simply because he could. And the record's pretty clear that he would have tried to do the same (denied flights) to his first peers, the Group 1 astronauts, had they asked for a flight. Again, because he could.

Does this make sense?

KC Stoever
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posted 09-02-2004 02:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ooops. I wrote:

"As it happened, time and chance 'superannuated' some of the Mercury guys (Carpenter, 1964 accident, medical grounding; Glenn, 1963 JFK assassination, early retirement; Grissom, 1967 Apollo 1 fire, death; Shepard, 1963?? temporary grounding, Menieres). Wally and Gus were the only ones who stayed healthy..."

My apologies: I omitted Cooper here, who maintained his flight status and health (no injuries or illnesses as far as I know) until retiring.

And Slayton -- the other Mercury astronaut I neglected to mention in the health summary, eventually regained active-duty status--as we all know; Gs at launch by then, however, had become only about four times the normal gravitational load.

Interesting that more than half the original Seven (Carpenter, Glenn, Grissom, Slayton) failed to provide the hoped-for ten-year + active-duty careers in the astronaut corps. But only one of these, Grissom, due to his fatal exertions on behalf of the space program and the country.

FFrench
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posted 09-02-2004 02:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KC Stoever:
Interesting that more than half the original Seven (Carpenter, Glenn, Grissom, Slayton) failed to provide the hoped-for ten-year + active-duty careers in the astronaut corps. But only one of these, Grissom, due to his fatal exertions on behalf of the space program and the country.
As you mention, Slayton was off flying status for much of his NASA career. Yet, bizarrely, Deke had the longest astronaut career in many ways - flying the 1975 ASTP flight, the last spaceflight by a Mercury astronaut still with NASA (Glenn's shuttle ride decades later is really a whole other category, of course...)

KC Stoever
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posted 09-02-2004 04:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, Francis. I wasn't clear on Slayton's tenure but figured it was lengthy. He's active duty, astronaut corps from, what, mid-April 1959, to March 15, 1962? So he logs nearly three years during Project Mercury. Resumes active-duty status again. When, though? Is there a date, I wonder? And when did he officially retire?

Thanks for any help. I have packed my copy of DEKE!

FFrench
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posted 09-02-2004 05:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There's an advantage I have... we still have signed copies of "Deke!" in our store from Mike Cassutt's last visit here (and copies of your book too, I should add, though all the signed ones were snapped up long ago!)

According to the book, Deke took the test in December 1971 which allowed a doctor to sign his health recertification. The official announcement was made on March 13, 1972, as it coincided with a Skylab press conference, but that was apparently a release of news that was already internally agreed by then - he was back on flight status.

The chest X-ray immediately following ASTP in 1975 turned up a benign but previously undetected spot on his lung, which Deke says would have grounded him pre-flight if detected. So he was probably off flight status once again at that moment (a moot point, as there was nothing else to fly for the rest of the decade). He went into running the ALT program, then in 1977 moved into managing orbital flight test at the Cape. He "dropped a few hints" around 1980 about flying a Shuttle mission, but had no response. He officially retired from NASA in 1980, but actually stayed under a special consultancy arrangement until 27 Feb 1982.

Whether Slayton was, even on paper, a NASA astronaut after 1975, I don't know - sounds like he may have been, as well as being a manager, much as John Young still does. An interesting question that perhaps Mike Cassutt could answer.

R.Glueck
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posted 09-02-2004 11:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for R.Glueck   Click Here to Email R.Glueck     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the book, Deke says that he "fell out of favor" with NASA's new management. He outlines that he was not impressed with some of the slick short cuts being taken with flight and vehicle design. He would have loved another flight, but it was apparent that he was regarded as "old school", and they wanted a new team to initiate the new era of shuttle missions. My opinion is that the space program, and ultimately, two crews probably were lost as a result of the new methods which Deke found unimprssive. For what it's worth, Deke remained very active in private rocket development and extremely proud of his status as a Mercury and ASTP astronaut. I sent photos of a project built by my students to him, and he was generous and gracious with his response. I only wish I had known him personally.

FFrench
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posted 09-05-2004 10:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had lunch with Mike Cassutt yesterday, and asked him - he tells me the benign lung spot was removed and Deke was then back on active status - and remained so until he left NASA. So that meant he was a NASA astronaut until 1980 - the only Mercury guy to have done so.


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