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  Why didn't these astronauts walk on the moon? (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   Why didn't these astronauts walk on the moon?
SCAstro
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posted 06-30-2004 01:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SCAstro   Click Here to Email SCAstro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I know that the stress and strain in the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo years were enormous and that it "consumed" a person.

However, I still wonder why some key astronauts from Groups 1 and 2 did not push forward for a moon landing. I am interested particularly in the the following:

  • Schirra
  • McDivitt
  • Borman
  • Stafford -- active but did not get landing
I know that "attitude" or "burn-out" may be partial answers; however, I would like any fact-based info available.

Matt T
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posted 06-30-2004 01:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Matt T   Click Here to Email Matt T     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Summing up briefly from his biography - Schirra valued the test piloting aspect of space flight over any other mission goal. Given that he was unlikely to rotate around in time for Apollo 9 (first LM flight) or Apollo 11 (first LM landing) there were no significant piloting 'firsts' left in Apollo.

He also felt that he had reached an age where if he ever wanted a second career the time was upon him.

Matt T
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posted 06-30-2004 02:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Matt T   Click Here to Email Matt T     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
McDivitt was offered a landing on Apollo 13 (later 14) - but as Shepard's LMP. He declined (presumably preferring to go as commander or not at all) and instead sought new challenges within the NASA administration.

I think this may partly explain his opposition to Cernan's assignment as Apollo 17 commander, given that Cernan had taken the gamble of refusing an LMP seat in hope of landing a commanders slot.

WAWalsh
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posted 06-30-2004 03:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for WAWalsh   Click Here to Email WAWalsh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In "Countdown," Frank Borman states that he had informed NASA prior to Apollo 8 that that would be his last mission. As of January 1969, he would be 18 months short of the 20-year mark for time in the service and then able to leave the Air Force with full retirement benefits and find a new career. He adds that he told NASA that he would like an administrative job for those last 18 months.

cklofas
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posted 06-30-2004 11:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cklofas   Click Here to Email cklofas     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Stafford has said that he was looking post-NASA after Apollo 10. He wanted to gain some management experience and diversify his resume a bit. Since NASA would send him to business school, why not?

Gordon Reade
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posted 07-01-2004 12:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gordon Reade   Click Here to Email Gordon Reade     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I understand that the ultimate goal of every Apollo astronaut was to command a moon landing mission.

Even so I can't imagine how anyone who was offered the LM pilot seat could turn it down.

Shepard must have been a real S.O.B. if he couldn't find even one spaceflight veteran who was willing to fly with him.

SCAstro
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posted 07-01-2004 01:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SCAstro   Click Here to Email SCAstro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the feedback.

When I look at McDivitt (or even Cooper), I find it hard to believe that anyone would turn down a chance to walk on the moon (regardless of rank within the mission).

Since these are hard charging and competitive individuals, the desire to be commander must have been intense. Personally, I would have put my ego on hold and taken any seat or title necessary for this great honor.

Tom
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posted 07-01-2004 05:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Lovell and Young evidently put their egos aside by accepting CMP positions after commanding their prior Gemini flights.

As for McDivitt, except for a very brief period as back-up CDR on Apollo 1, his only other assignments were as prime crew CDR.

Tom
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posted 07-01-2004 07:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Reade:
Even so I can't imagine how anyone who was offered the LM pilot seat could turn it down.
I'll bet you Cunningham would have jumped at the chance of flying with Shepard on "14". I think another veteran which would have been a good choice is Schweickart. He definitely knew all that was needed to know about the LM.

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posted 07-01-2004 08:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gordon Reade   Click Here to Email Gordon Reade     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Too bad Sheperd didn't ask Gordon Cooper or Scott Carpenter to fly with him.

Can you imagine having two members of the Mercury 7 on the moon together!

SCAstro
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posted 07-01-2004 10:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SCAstro   Click Here to Email SCAstro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Shepard and Cooper/Carpenter on the moon's surface would have been great.

Nothing against the first time flyers who got to walk on the moon (i.e. Bean, Mitchell, Irwin, Duke, Schmitt), but I would have loved to see the earliest pioneers get that prize. Schirra, Gordo, Carpenter, Borman, McDivitt, Stafford earned the right and would have been a great reward for the original "right stuff" guys.

Cougar20
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posted 07-01-2004 11:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cougar20   Click Here to Email Cougar20     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Had Lovell stayed around, it would have been nice to see the crew of Apollo 13 get another chance to land on the moon. A shame one of Lovell's biggest dreams was never fulfilled.

RichieB16
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posted 07-02-2004 12:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for RichieB16   Click Here to Email RichieB16     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Tom:
I'll bet you Cunningham would have jumped at the chance of flying with Shepard on "14". I think another veteran which would have been a good choice is Schweickart.
Weren't the possibilities both of those guys having a second flight fairly questionable at the time? If I remember right, the crew of Apollo 7 had gotten in trouble because they refused to wear their helmets during reentry (due to bad colds). I thought that NASA was angry about that and didn't want them to fly anymore. Also, didn't Schweickart have a problem with space sickness on Apollo 9 which concerned NASA about letting him fly again?

WAWalsh
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posted 07-02-2004 08:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for WAWalsh   Click Here to Email WAWalsh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Tom:
Lovell and Young evidently put their egos aside by accepting CMP positions after commanding their prior Gemini flights.
I do not believe that this is accurate at all. Both men were assigned those slots early in the Apollo program. The CMP had an absolutely vital role in the rendevous with the LM and this is not something to be left to a rookie (keep in mind that M. Collins was originally on the Apollo 8 crew, but surgery caused Lovell's substitution). A calm and experienced hand was needed for the initial lunar orbit dockings. The position was far more important than the LMP slot. Further, both knew that Apollo was suppose to go another 7 or 8 missions and that they would be at the front of the line for the command of a future lunar landing (as indeed they were).

I do not know whether or not ego had anything to do with McDivitt turning down a second seat on Apollo 14. It may well be that his administrative position was more important to him at that point, rather than going back into a nine month training cycle and all the time away from family that went with that. Moreover, as oppose to Lovell and Young, who backed up Borman and Stafford, men with comparable experience and previously commanded missions, McDivitt's experience (commanding GT-4 and Apollo 9) lapped Shepard's experience (15 minutes) several times.

trajan
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posted 07-03-2004 02:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for trajan   Click Here to Email trajan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's a good question, and one I've often thought about, too. Let's hope some of those "second / business" careers were worth giving up a Moonwalk for!

In Dave Scott's new book, he says that, just before re-entry on Apollo 9, McDivitt told him that he was effectively burnt out and was too tired to carry on for a third flight.

Tom
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posted 07-03-2004 02:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by WAWalsh:
The CMP had an absolutely vital role in the rendevous with the LM and this is not something to be left to a rookie (keep in mind that M. Collins was originally on the Apollo 8 crew, but surgery caused Lovell's substitution).
You are right about Lovell replacing Collins on "8", but if he didn't, he was still scheduled to be CMP on "11", which "may" have put him in line for "17" Commander ...maybe.

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posted 07-31-2004 09:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for R.Glueck   Click Here to Email R.Glueck     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Schirra's retirement surprised me too, but the fact is that he had seen one of his closest friends killed in a fire, then went ahead and vindicated the program by flying Apollo 7. Note that Wally doesn't even fly a private plane anymore, stating that as a test pilot, he believed he was living on borrowed time anyway. Other points about a post 40's career have already been stated. Cunningham's not flying after putting his life into perfecting Skylab and backing up other missions is simply another example of Kraft's blood letting personality, cursing some of his trained staff. Cunningham, no doubt, carries hot and bitter feelings about Kraft to this day.

McDivitt would have gone again if he could have Commanded, but essentially, his ego, take it or leave it pride, put him out of the loop. He could be happy doing other things, so he simply tossed in his chips and left.

Stafford is not as clear to me. He probably thought that Apollo 10 was enough to "qualify" as one of the moon men. Stafford got the prize of Commanding ASTP with Deke, and he bonded further in the "inner-circle". Stafford's auto-bio has a great deal of personality between the lines. Basically, he takes responsibility for successes but none for failures, including his own marriage. It's easier for Stafford to point his finger at others and say, "that's not how it's done".

Shepard should not have commanded when he did, but it was a chance to get in on the "goodies" and he had the clout, so he used it. You need to clearly recognize that Shepard's personality, the one most of us who met him saw, was totally redefined after Apollo 14. Prior to that, he was total jerk about his place and role as the first astronaut, and what that conveyed as "divine right". Mitchell and Roosa were "blessed and annoited" when their chance came up to fly as Shepard's crew, and therefore, instant blessings.

Gordo was not playing the training game as it needed to be played. I'm guessing he figured that he could sit in anything that could be flown and instantly get a feel for it. He had proven on Mercury 9 and again on Gemini 5, that he could fly in space with precision and aplomb, so as a two mission qualifier, why not him? When he didn't get it, he figured everyone watching the space program would notice and cry foul. They didn't. I'm not sure he was cut out for the stress of seriously training for another mission, at least not one a lunar landing's magnitude.

Carpenter, as I've stated before in other forums, was screwed by Kraft's minimal personality. Kris Stoever asserts that Scott was no longer interested in that challenge, and she would be the final voice on that subject. I think a very interesting mission would have included Carpenter's understanding of what the human race was doing in space. His 'feeling" for being one of the first humans in space was exactly what the Mercury program needed, although the engineers were oblivious to that fact. Carpenter's ability to express what was out there built a great deal of public enthusiasm for being in space. One has to go back to 1962 and recognize that space flight had just gone from science fiction to science fact. Everyone wanted in on what was out there.

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posted 08-03-2004 10:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Capcom1   Click Here to Email Capcom1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think Shepard's case was certainly unique-who else with only 15 min (suborbital) would be given command of a landing mission?

I think having the LMP and CMP being rookies was the only way to justify it.

He wanted it, hated sitting Gemini out, and since him and Deke were so tight, it was only a matter of time. According to Chaikin's book, (IIRC) he was 'along for the ride', leaving the serious, in-depth training to the eager rookies.

Don't get me wrong, he WAS a moonwalker, but the guy just seemed like a jerk. I'm sure you all read Moon Shot.

He's also the one who started the "Red stripe on the Commander's helmet" I believe...

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posted 08-03-2004 10:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for R.Glueck   Click Here to Email R.Glueck     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You make a few very good points. Amongst equals, Shepard's claim to fame was being #1. In terms of the American astronaut line-up, that was extremely important to him. Losing the crown to John Glenn was devastating to his ego (he told that to a group of teachers in Boston, years ago). Shepard was a damn fine pilot too. Whether that made him a good candidate to command is debatable. His crew certainly thought he was great, but possibly only for selecting them and giving them a ride. One thing I know from talking to others who had close access to Shepard; the man who revealed himself so genially to the public post-Apollo, was almost an entirely different man than the one who rode out the space program. He went from being a bitter, self-centered, egotist, to a guy who wanted to tell the story in a compassionate manner to others. Clearly, getting on the moon was at the heart of that change. When I met Big Al, he was full of time to explain to others, and grateful for the opportunity to share his life experiences.

Regarding helmets, Shepard might have instituted the red stripe, but Lovell's lunar helmet bore a blue stripe with a naval insignia on it. While it never made it to the moon, it can be seen at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.

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posted 08-17-2004 11:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jonathan Block   Click Here to Email Jonathan Block     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've always wondered how Stafford got the command of Apollo 10 over Young. But I guess it worked out for John since he got to walk on the moon.

I wonder if the program had kept going for more missions if any of the mission commanders would have commanded twice. It seems the way the rotation worked some of the rookies (Mitchell, Irwin, etc.) would have commanded the later missions.

Given the rotation, and that no one commanded twice, I guess Ed White or Roger Chaffee may have been the first to walk on the moon, not Gus. Or maybe it should have been Cunningham or Eisele?

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posted 08-17-2004 11:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for R.Glueck   Click Here to Email R.Glueck     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Training for the space program pretty well eats up an astronaut. There are those who would hang around until they are wheeled out (Story Musgrave and John Young are two), but generally, Commanding a mission to the moon is a capper that couldn't be topped. Test piloting is damn dangerous work, so why risk it. Roosa wanted to command, as did Gordon, Haise, Bean, and a few others. For most, leaving their tracks in the dust was enough. Cunningham, for all he talks about Kraft's unfairness, was a voluntary part of Schirra's mutiny on Apollo 7. Though capable, he was not going to get a Command assignment. He should have gotten a flight to Skyab at the very least. Eisele's personal life was not going to be shown by NASA in their front window, leaving a wife and child for another woman. The Apollo 15 crew was out over the stamp fiasco. That left Pete Conrad, who would have gladly done it over and over again. I doubt if any other Commanders would have tried to top themselves at that level. One always has to feel pain for Jim Lovell. Lovell might have rescinded his retirement for one more try, but that is merely speculation on my part.

WAWalsh
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posted 08-17-2004 12:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for WAWalsh   Click Here to Email WAWalsh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jonathan Block:
I've always wondered how Stafford got the command of Apollo 10 over Young.
The following is pure conjecture but makes some sense.

Due to the loss of See and Bassett, Stafford got his command ahead of Young (GT 9A to GT 10). This would have placed him just ahead of John Young in the rotation. I also suspect that Stafford had a bit more pull within the front office. Shepard had originally selected him as his pilot for Gemini 3, before Shepard was grounded (and he had also flown with Schirra). Having Big Al on your side would not be a bad thing when crew selections were made.

Given the importance of the first docking in lunar orbit, there really is no question about the qualifications of either gentleman.

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posted 08-17-2004 12:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jonathan Block   Click Here to Email Jonathan Block     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by WAWalsh:
Given the importance of the first docking in lunar orbit, there really is no question about the qualifications of either gentleman.
I can't argue with that.

And, I find the "what ifs" in this thread fascinating.

ColinBurgess
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posted 08-17-2004 07:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Consider this: If Ted Freeman had not died in that T-38 crash, it seems from what Deke Slayton told Michael Cassutt during his research (which is not in "Deke") that he was going to be named as backup pilot on GT-9 with Tom Stafford. See and Bassett fly a successful GT-9. Stafford and Freeman then rotate and fly GT-12. Aldrin does not get to fly a Gemini mission, and CC Williams survives his plane crash. Given those scenarios, and allowing for the Apollo 1 tragedy, who are the first men on the moon? Who follows? Here's my "dream team":
  • Armstrong - Bean - Givens
  • Conrad - Williams - Gordon
  • Bassett - Aldrin - Collins
  • Cooper - Freeman - Anders
  • Lovell - Cernan - Worden
  • McDivitt - Young - Mattingly
  • Scott - Schmitt - Haise

WAWalsh
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posted 08-18-2004 10:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for WAWalsh   Click Here to Email WAWalsh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Colin, recognizing your outstanding book might colour your perspective somewhat, I see no way that those teams form. Presuming that you are listing them in order of landing from Apollo XI through XVII, the first lunar landing would not have been made by Neil Armstrong and two rookies. There were two many variables for that to be possible.

If history otherwise stays the same, so the Fire occurs and Michael Collins requires surgery placing Lovell on Apollo 8, under your scenario, the first probable consequence occurs with the crew of Apollo 10. Here, Young and Stafford would probably switch roles (Young as mission commander would probably result in a different LMP, but we will keep Cernan in the slot). Identifying Apollo XI's crew then becomes interesting. The first question would become whether or not Slayton would stick with the three mission rotation system when he flipped Apollo 8 and 9, or for different reasons keep the original back-up crews in line. If he alters the system, then Conrad-Williams-Gordon have the best shot at the first landing. If not, then the question becomes who would have served as the back-up LMP to Apollo 8. Given the apparent desire to avoid a rookie for the first lunar landing, my best bet on your "what if" scenario would have Bassett as the LMP, making the first team Armstrong-Bassett-Collins. I suspect that under this "what-if" you need to continue to presume that Cooper does not get the tap on the shoulder, McDivitt moves into management and See does not make the cut (something you seem to accept). Given the surgery, I also see no way you keep Alan Shepard off the Moon.

  • Armstrong - Bassett - Collins
  • Conrad - Williams - Gordon
  • Lovell - Freeman - Aldrin
  • Scott - Anders - Mattingly
  • Stafford - Bean - Haise
  • Young - Schmitt - Engle
  • Shepard - Cernan - Roosa
Just some thoughts. With the reshuffling of events, I do not foresee anyone who was not in the first three groups ever setting foot on the Moon, with the one exception of Schmitt. The CMPs is a matter of picking from some great pilots; Givens, Worden, Swigert and Evans could all be substituted in as well.

DavidH
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posted 08-18-2004 10:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Why the delay of Shepard's flight?

And why, in either of these scenarios, would Cernan accept a non-commander seat?

WAWalsh
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posted 08-18-2004 04:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for WAWalsh   Click Here to Email WAWalsh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I will confess to a little humour and sense of history on the decision to make the Apollo 17 crew Shepard and Cernan. Like it or not, Shepard should have served as back-up before commanding, so I slot him in as back-up for 14 and then flying the last lunar mission. This gives Shepard the chance to serve as the bookends for the pioneering days.

As to why Cernan as the LMP, 1) he cannot beat out any of the commanders, so in this alternate reality he would have realized he had no shot at command and 2) I want to see him argue as the LMP for 17 that he was the last man on the Moon.

ColinBurgess
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posted 08-18-2004 07:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, a little sentiment mixed in there without too much regard for practicalities, and I was also trying to look at the personalities and who would make the best teams. The only problem with placing Bassett on Apollo 11 is that, had he lived, he was slated - according to Deke Slayton - to fly on Apollo 8, which would have theoretically put him out of contention for an early lunar landing mission. With Apollo 8 under his belt, and assuming he had done as good a job as he would have on Gemini 9, then I believe he would have received the command of a later Apollo mission. As for See, Deke was not a big fan, and I believe he would have used his influence to cast him off to AAP/Skylab. It would also have been very interesting to see what Deke would have done with Ed White in the rotation had Apollo 1 flown successfully.

Tom
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posted 08-18-2004 08:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very interesting topic. For what it's worth, I just finished reading David Shaylers great book "Apollo...The Lost and Forgotten Missions", and his thoughts on Ed Whites future had him (along with Roger Chaffee and Rusty Schweickart) going on to the Apollo Applications space station program. I was very surprised by that scenario. His reasoning was that Grissom would go on to command the first lunar landing, along with Dave Scott as CMP and Jim McDivitt as LMP. Definately a capable first lunar landing crew!

Jonathan Block
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posted 08-19-2004 09:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jonathan Block   Click Here to Email Jonathan Block     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the notes section of Chaikin's Man on the Moon, he says that Schirra's mission was cancelled in Dec. 1966 as it was deemed redundant to the first flight, making McDivitt, Scott and Schwieckert the second Apollo mission.

I wonder where this placed Schirra's team in the rotation?

Tom
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posted 08-19-2004 09:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When Schirra's Apollo 2 flight was cancelled in late '66, that crew became the back-up for Grissom's Apollo 1.

In Dekes rotation, that would make them the prime crew for Apollo 4. However, this would have been a pretty ambitious "dress rehearsal" lunar mission using all the hardware, possibly in lunar orbit.

Many people doubt that this high profile flight would have gone to Schirra and his 2 rookie crew members.

There was talk of moving Eisele and Cunningham over to the AAP station program, and as far as Schirra, that was a big question mark at the time.

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posted 08-19-2004 11:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for R.Glueck   Click Here to Email R.Glueck     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Of course, most of what has been posted is speculative at best. If it carries any weight, one would have to wonder if Wally Schirra was always damned to be #2 simply because he was competant and could get the mission done. Perhaps Deke saw Wally as "insurance" against a disaster. That Wally played that role in Apollo is actually fact.

FFrench
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posted 08-19-2004 03:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by R.Glueck:
Eisele's personal life was not going to be shown by NASA in their front window, leaving a wife and child for another woman.
Somewhat in Donn Eisele's defense, that is not strictly true. Eisele's son Matt, who had Down Syndrome, died the same year as the Apollo 1 fire. Eisele did not separate from his wife until late 1968 and they did not divorce until mid-1969.

FFrench
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posted 08-19-2004 04:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jonathan Block:
In the notes section of Chaikin's Man on the Moon, he says that Schirra's mission was cancelled in Dec. 1966 as it was deemed redundant to the first flight, making McDivitt, Scott and Schweickart the second Apollo mission. I wonder where this placed Schirra's team in the rotation?
According to Schirra, in a recent interview I conducted with him, he was told about his relegation to Gus's backup in a meeting with Shepard, Slayton and Grissom. In the same meeting, he was told that he would probably never fly again, as he and Gus had trained on Block I Apollo, and once the Block II spacecraft was being used the Block I crews would probably not get another look-in on Apollo lunar-objective missions. By then Apollo 1 was the only Block I mission on the books. He was understandably furious, and only agreed with great reluctance. He believes he would not have flown Apollo at all if it had not been for the fire.

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posted 08-20-2004 09:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jonathan Block   Click Here to Email Jonathan Block     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Chaikin's book also notes that Slayton offered Borman command of the first moon landing and that he turned it down.

He must have really had enough.

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posted 08-20-2004 06:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for R.Glueck   Click Here to Email R.Glueck     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If we are to believe Borman, his concern and devotion to his wife was far more important to him than walking on the moon. Borman may have been brittle, single-minded , and focused, but his value of his responsibility to his family tells a great deal about his character. Borman was focused on the greater mission, which was to beat the Soviets to the moon. In that light, he fulfilled his flight mission and then went on to do some essential politicking. He commanded the first mission around the moon. One would have to consider that almost as great as standing on the surface.

taneal1
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posted 08-31-2004 11:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for taneal1   Click Here to Email taneal1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Matt T:
McDivitt was offered a landing on Apollo 13 (later 14) - but as Shepard's LMP. He declined (presumably preferring to go as commander or not at all)
McDivitt told Slayton that Shepard wasn't ready to command a mission and should take a turn on a backup crew first. Straight from Jim McDivitt himself; when NASA HQ turned Shepard down as CDR for Apollo 13, McDivitt was offerred command of 13. Instead he accepted the position of Apollo Program Manager. I doubt that ego was a factor in his decision.

McDivitt and Borman were NASA's primary candidates for the first landing so it seems unlikely that McDivitt couldn't have had a lunar landing IF he wanted one.

taneal1
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posted 09-01-2004 12:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for taneal1   Click Here to Email taneal1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by FFrench:
...he was told that he would probably never fly again, as he and Gus had trained on Block I Apollo...Block I crews would probably not get another look-in on Apollo lunar-objective missions.
Presumably this meeting is why Wally has stated that despite what Slayton has said, there were no plans for Grissom to make a lunar landing. According to Wally, Slayton also said that the Mercury astronauts weren't hired to go to the Moon - their job was done.

You have to wonder if Slayton told Wally that he and Grissom wouldn't be going to the Moon at all, yet simultaneously told Grissom he would be first. Either way, Slayton wasn't being straight with Schirra or he wasn't being truthful about Grissom as the first man on the Moon...

You also have to believe that either Grissom didn't know he was in line for a Moon landing or he wasn't being straight with Schirra either. The less likely alternative is that Schirra made the whole thing up.

Quite the dilemma.

FFrench
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posted 09-01-2004 01:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In an interview I did with Schirra many years ago (which is still live on this website), we covered that - here is the extract:
In the "From the Earth to the Moon" TV series dramatizing Schirra's Apollo flight, there was a scene in which Schirra is shown telling Slayton he will be leaving NASA, but hinting that he might stay if he were given command of a flight to the Moon. Schirra says that this was artistic license:

"That was overplayed, no. The rule had been established by then, that was a published rule, that he who commands an Apollo flight will not command a second one. And it turned out to be true. The only one who flew two was Stafford, who had Apollo 10, and Apollo-Soyuz, which doesn't really count. There were a lot of guys waiting in line."

"I could see that I was out of line already. If Cooper was already out of line, how the heck could I get back in again? Betty Grissom said that Gus was in line to land on the Moon - that's a bunch of hogwash. That was pretty well bent out of shape. Deke never said that. In contrast, Deke said that we of the original seven are done, there's a whole new crew now. That I even got that Apollo flight was unusual. The second group was brought in to go to the Moon. We were supposed to be out of there by then. It just turned out they needed me, so I stayed for the Apollo 7 flight. That was unique."

The following is merely my opinion, nothing more:

I think there are a few things to consider here. One is that Schirra is someone who holds strongly to his opinions, and we are also talking about decades-old memories.

It is also fairly clear by what happened to Cooper and Carpenter that not all of the Mercury 7 were kept in the loop when it came to the big decisions. Gus apparently had more of an 'in' with Slayton than Schirra, so there may well have been things that Gus knew that Schirra didn't.

My overall impression is that Deke liked to keep his cards very close to his chest. He probably never promised anything to anyone, although he may have dropped a few hints to close friends in an unspoken way. A Grissom "promise," if ever given, would probably have been a very understated "if you still happen to be around by then..." kind of thing, which has probably been inflated a little over time in astronaut lore and biographies written decades later. It may be nothing more than a nice thought rather than an historical fact.

Tom
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posted 09-01-2004 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 taneal1:
McDivitt and Borman were NASA's primary candidates for the first landing so it seems unlikely that McDivitt couldn't have had a lunar landing IF he wanted one.
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. When Shepards crew was turned down for "13" it was offered to Lovell and his "14" crew.

In my opinion, if McDivitt accepted as LMP on "13", Shepard, Roosa and McDivitt would have been the 13 crew, with Lovell flying on 14 as originally planned.


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