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  Lovell and Young as CMP

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Author Topic:   Lovell and Young as CMP
trajan
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posted 03-02-2005 01:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for trajan   Click Here to Email trajan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I know the crew selection process, especially under Deke Slayton, has always been shrouded in a certain amount of mystique, but I have always been puzzled by the fact that Jim Lovell and John Young only got Command Module Pilot slots on their first Apollo missions, despite both having commanded a Gemini flight.

What I find even stranger is that, on Apollo 8, Lovell, with 2 flights, was "working" for Frank Borman, with only 1 flight to his name. I know that Mike Collins was originally slated for 8, but if his back hadn't played up, Lovell would still "only" have been CMP on 11, working for Neil Armstrong, again, only with 1 flight behind him.

I realise that John and especially Jim came from the tail end of Gemini and therefore may have joined Apollo somewhat later than others, but that didn't stop Pete Conrad getting his own crew straight away. I just wondered if anyone could shed any light on this detail, and whether anyone knows if any feathers were ruffled at the time?!

Tom
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posted 03-02-2005 03:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On a similar topic, back in early 1966, Charlie Bassett was selected as CMP on Frank Bormans Apollo 3 crew.

Bassett was to be pilot on Gemini 9 first. He was replaced by Stafford, who already flew on Gemini 6 as PLT and was now going to fly as CDR on Gemini 9.

Matt T
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posted 03-02-2005 04:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Matt T   Click Here to Email Matt T     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The factor that seemed to set both Lovell and Young up as CMPs was command seniority. Lovell (originally Armstrong's LMP on the Apollo 8 backup crew) certainly flew his Gemini mission (7) before Armstrong (8) did, but he flew it as a Pilot, not a Commander. Mike Collins' spinal surgery rotated Lovell onto Borman's Apollo 8 prime crew, where the same seniority still applied to Borman.

Similarly, Stafford through being moved from backup to prime crew of Gemini 9, flew as a Gemini Commander before Young did on Gemini 10.

As has been noted many times, the two guys with the most clout in the area of crew selection were grounded astronauts. Shepard and Slayton had a vested interest in attaching great status to seniority, (both of selection and flight), as both hoped to return to flight status - at the front of the queue.

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Matt

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WAWalsh
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posted 03-02-2005 09:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for WAWalsh   Click Here to Email WAWalsh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Completely off the top of my head. I do not recall seeing anything on this question and lack the immediate time to run CMP through the oral histories and NASA reports. One heck of an interesting question and I have no idea how Pete Conrad managed to pull ahead of John Young.

The seniority requirement for the CMP makes sense for the first two missions in lunar orbit (working on the basis that Lovell was originally intended to serve on Apollo 11). Both Lovell and Young had handled docking as the commanders of their Gemini missions and the ability of the CM to dock with the lunar module when it returned, while in lunar orbit, placed a critical burden in the hands of the CMP. Their actual flight experience, given the vital importance of the role, makes the decision sound.

As an odd thought, personality might have played a role in the decision. If Slayton was looking for two flown pros to accept the second fiddle (really, the third fiddle slot from a public perspective) as the CMP, John Young and Jim Lovell may well have been the best two to ask. My impression of both is that they would have gone up in whatever role they were given, just for the pleasure of being back in space ("heck yeah Deke, I'll do it. What else do you need").

Michael Cassutt
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posted 03-03-2005 10:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If Lovell's assignment to Borman's crew is odd, what about Lovell's original assignment as CMP under Armstrong? Lovell had two flights to his credit, something like 17 days in space, compared to Armstrong's one, for eight hours....

The answer is that Slayton -- wrongly or rightly -- identified four potential lunar-landing commanders among the 1962 astronauts in late 1963: Borman, McDivitt, Armstrong and Conrad. He planned, then, to structure Gemini and early Apollo assignments to give him six complete prime and backup crews when it came time to name the first lunar landing team. Those commanders were, in 1963, Grissom and Schirra, along with the four just named.

The others were ticketed for CMP seats in early Apollo -- very responsible positions, I might add, but not commands. Their Gemini rendezvous commands served to build experience for the whole flight control team, not just individual astronauts.

(I can't defend or justify Deke's judgments of, say, Young versus Armstrong... Deke was in a position to know, I'm not.)

Every astronaut was happy to salute, smile and say "Yes, Deke." But that doesn't mean they were happy about every assignment. Stafford wasn't pleased to be Borman's CMP on the first version of the Apollo 2 backup crew, and Young was very definitely unhappy about working for Stafford on the Apollo 7 backup crew.

Michael Cassutt

WAWalsh
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posted 03-04-2005 07:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for WAWalsh   Click Here to Email WAWalsh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Michael, thank you for the information, you would certainly have a leg up on the information. Since McDivitt, Borman and Armstrong were the first three out of the Next Nine to command, it certainly does appear that a rotation was in place early (but still leaves the question of how Conrad managed to leapfrog Young, or perhaps Stafford, in the pecking order, or where the anticipated fourth commander from Group 2, See, fit in).

It does strike me as a bit astounding that the decisions for Apollo commands were being made in 1963 (based on the names, I presume it had to be after the doctors diagnosed Shepard with Menieres), 14 or so months before the first Gemini mission and before any of the Group 2 people had even flown. Is there any details that you can add as to why, only a few months after keeping Faith 7 together, Cooper was already facing being frozen out of future command (seems a bit early for Carpenter and Glenn as well)?

carmelo
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posted 03-04-2005 10:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for carmelo   Click Here to Email carmelo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In mid-late 1963 the Gemini simulator was soon arrived (June-July 63), the Apollo capsule was only a not definitive mock-up, and the lunar module design was in development. On what was based the Deke's choice? Personal sympathy-aversion? I have always thought that give the command of the astronauts corps, and the choice for future crews, to an astronaut was a terrible error. NASA would have had leave the things like at Mercury times. Deke (and later Shepard too) was too many involved for have been objective.

trajan
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posted 03-04-2005 01:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for trajan   Click Here to Email trajan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Michael Cassutt:
The answer is that Slayton -- wrongly or rightly -- identified four potential lunar-landing commanders among the 1962 astronauts in late 1963: Borman, McDivitt, Armstrong and Conrad.
Thanks for the very interesting reply, Michael; it certainly makes a lot of sense and is very plausible. I also wonder on what criteria this selection was made. Perhaps they were all great at the jungle survival training! More seriously, Borman, Armstrong and McDivitt seem to have similar personalities - serious, studious, unflappable, etc. - but Conrad obviously sits at the polar opposite side of that particular spectrum, so bang goes that theory!

Jason

MoonMan Jeff
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posted 03-04-2005 02:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MoonMan Jeff   Click Here to Email MoonMan Jeff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think one of the many unanswered and tantalizing bits of manned space history is precisely how the astronauts were slotted into various roles in the Gemini and Apollo missions. Despite the claims that Deke Slayton finally came clean in his book "Deke", he really did not shed much light on his thinking or reasoning for assigning various astronauts to the rotation in any particular order.

Because the crews had to start training for Apollo missions months and years in advance, we know that many decisions WERE being made right during the Gemini program. Several astronauts, following their maiden Gemini missions, were then pulled out of the Gemini rotation and put directly in the Apollo rotation (Ed White was one, and I believe Gus Grissom, Borman, and McDivitt also went straight to Apollo planning from their Gemini flights).

I hope some of the posters here with more detailed knowledge of the crew rotations and assignments will continue to add to this thread, as this is a source of almost endless speculation and "what-ifs".

One thing that has always intrigued me is: how come none of the commanders of the Apollo flights before Apollo 11 ever flew again --- they all retired at times when several, if not all, had legitimate shots at moon landings. Schirra on 7 - never flew again. Borman on 8 - retired. McDivitt on 9 - retired to run the Astronaut Office. Stafford on 10 - retired until Soyuz, never flew another Apollo mission. Yet their sub-commanders DID command Apollo MOON missions: Lovell from 8 on 13; Scott from 9 on 15; and Young and Cernan from 10 on 16 and 17 respectively.

Would Gene Cernan have commanded a moonflight if Frank Borman had told Deke: you know what, I'd like another crack at a moon landing, put me back in the rotation.

carmelo
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posted 03-04-2005 03:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for carmelo   Click Here to Email carmelo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Schirra and Borman were not more interested. McDivitt not accept LMP role in the Shepard crew, Stafford preferred a managerial role in the astronaut office, Armstrong was victim of the "John Glenn-precious national icon" situation.

Michael Cassutt
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posted 03-05-2005 10:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Taking some of these valuable comments and questions in some kind of order:

For Group 2, the "potential commanders" were identified long before there was a Gemini schedule -- indeed, before they even showed up in Houston. Deke essentially hand-picked that group: certainly Borman and McDivitt were on his want list. (McDivitt had already been assigned to the X-15, and was even being nudged toward the X-20, until wise heads at Edwards "suggested" that he apply to NASA -- which he did, after the deadline....

Why Borman and McDivitt? Because they had been the first students/teachers at the Aerospace Research Pilots course, and seemed to have the best mix of skills to be not only lunar commanders, but leads for the development of lunar spacecraft.

Armstrong was also a logical, highly-recommended choice, and Pete Conrad, too.

(Deke wasn't recruiting based on his own knowledge, but on recs from Edwards, Pax, and higher ups in NASA, from Gilruth to Williams, etc.)

The rest of the 62s were people that Deke knew (like White) or knew of (Lovell, Stafford, possibly Young). They proved themselves in the selection process.

As for Cooper -- remember that the Mercury astronauts were detailed to NASA for three years (1959-62). When Deke took over the crew and astronaut selection job, he was determined to fly Gordo -- or send him back to the Air Force.

By 1963, early 1964, the Mercury guys were still in their second details, and there was some internal discussion about returning them to the Air Force or Navy in 1965. (I know it seems unlikely now, but it wasn't at the time.) Deke wasn't sure that ANY of them would still be available in 1966. So while he assumed he might have Shepard, Grissom. Schirra or Cooper Gordo around for Apollo, he couldn't COUNT on having all four. So he simply planned for two Mercury holdovers in projecting assignments through Gemini and the early Apollos.

Grissom and Schirra did stick around. By the time that was clear, Gordo had been ticketed for GT-5, and there were no "open" seats available beyond that, unless Deke bumped someone else.

Michael Cassutt

Michael Cassutt
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posted 03-05-2005 10:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For Carmelo, concerning the statement that NASA made a mistake in entrusting astronaut selections to Slayton--

Very possibly. Chris Kraft, among others, felt that Deke had too much power. When Deke returned to flight status and relinquished the assignment job, Kraft took it. Pete Conrad talked to Kraft about replacing Deke, and was told, bluntly, "There's never gonna be another Deke Slayton." That is, no astronaut is ever going to have that power again.

And they haven't. Kraft delegated astronaut selection and crew assignmnents to George Abbey for the rest of his tenure as JSC director (through 1982). Abbey kept the power, in fact, until 1987, then managed to claim it again from 1993 to 2001. (I kno there were chief astronauts and directors of flight crew ops, but Abbey freely rejected their preliminary crews.)

The Soviet selection process -- originally in the hands of a military-medical-political "mandate commission" (for cosmonaut selection), then an air force general (Kamanin, for crews) eventually evolved to a very unweildy process involving half a dozen organizations for selection, and a minimum of two (often more) fighting over crews.

Which system worked best?

Michael Cassutt

Michael Cassutt
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posted 03-05-2005 10:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Re Moonman Jeff's questions--

Several early Gemini astronauts did indeed move directly into Apollo -- Deke told me that he had always planned to give McDivitt and Borman early Gemini flights, then shift them to Apollo for development work, then bring them back on early Apollo for rendezvous experience.

White was in a different category: contrary to popular mythology, his move to Apollo was not a promotion, but a demotion. (He went from commanding his own Gemini team, with rendezvous, docking and EVA, to being the middle guy on a the first flight of a vehicle that was already obsolete.)

Grissom was also late getting to Apollo, though Deke included him in the "likely" lunar landing commanders.

Why did the astronauts who commanded the early Apollos not remain for later assignments? They had commanded key steps in reaching the Moon, and wanted to get on with their lives.

Astronauts like Young and Lovell stayed on to get those precious commands. (Young, of course, stayed on for decades....

Would Cernan have gotten a lunar landing command if Borman, for example, had asked to go back into the rotation? I would say, yes -- Deke was highly-sensitive to the plight of astronauts who lost flight assignments for medical reasons. (Obviously.) He felt that an astronaut in that position should be given the first available assignment -- hence Shepard (who lost GT-3) on Apollo 13, Collins (who lost Apollo 8) on Apollo 11.

Borman withdrew from the rotation for solid personal and professional reasons. For all his considerable respect for Borman's abilities, I doubt Deke would have simply given him a mission for the asking.

Michael Cassutt

MoonMan Jeff
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posted 03-05-2005 11:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MoonMan Jeff   Click Here to Email MoonMan Jeff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Michael: Your observations are both interesting and illuminating. Thanks.

I am scratching my head a bit about one of your points, though. The Ed White "demotion" point.

I am not sure why being put directly on the first Apollo crew, and going directly to the Moon Landing program from Gemini would be deemed a "demotion"... and not sure why Deke would want to "demote" Ed White to begin with.

Maybe its just mythology, but I thought that Ed White was one of the true "fair-haired boys" or "up and comers" who was being groomed for a key spot on eventual moon landing team. He got the coveted first spacewalk assignment. He got put on the first Apollo crew, and I thought being put on the FIRST crew of a series was a major vote of approval -- the first Gemini and first Apollo crews (both Ap1 and Ap7) all had former Mercury astronauts.

IF White had successfully flown as middle seat on the first Apollo earth-orbit mission, he'd have been in GREAT position to assume a Commander role in a MoonLanding mission later on, as Young, Cernan and Scott eventually did.

So why in your opinion would Deke have "demoted" White to Apollo and why is that considered a "demotion"? Simply because he would not have gotten a quicker Gemini command first?

Thanks for your observations.

mark plas
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posted 03-05-2005 12:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mark plas   Click Here to Email mark plas     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't think Lovell and Young can complain about their mission assignments both being one of three guys to fly to the moon twice.

Michael Cassutt
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posted 03-05-2005 12:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
MoonMan Jeff--

There are a number of assumptions in your post on White, many of which I shared for years.

White was, from all accounts, a very popular and engaging individual, and a good pilot.

But he was not ranked in the upper half of the 1962 group in terms of command, management or flight test credentials. (He went from test pilot school to Wright-Patt - remember Mike Collins' comments on such an assignment?)

For example, you speak of the "coveted" first EVA assignment. Remember, though, that when White was assigned to GT-4, the first EVA was scheduled for GT-6 (probably Stafford), then moved up to GT-5 (Conrad). While White turned out to be a good choice for the assignment, it fell to him by accident after Leonov's EVA in March 1965.

Look at the assignment on Apollo 1. It was a Block I spacecraft, one of two scheduled to fly. (And the second was cancelled.) There was very little rendezvous training for the crew, no work on the Block II CSM or the LM.

If Slayton had really wanted to give White experience for a lunar landing-related spot (mission commander or early mission CMP), he'd have used him as commander of GT-10. Instead he gave that to Young.

Deke told me, in fact, that he considered the senior pilots and pilots on the two Block I crews to be "weak". They were going to be "phased off" to AAP.

It was the McDivitt crew (Scott as rendezvous-experienced CMP) and the Borman crew (Collins as experienced CMP) Stafford's new crew (Young as experienced CMP) that were being set up for the first lunar landing.

With a successful Apollo 1, Grissom would have picked up an experienced CMP (likely Lovell -- Grissom would NEVER accept Aldrin) and probably gone directly to prime crew Apollo 4.

White, Chaffee, Eisele and Cunningham would have joined Cooper and Bean in the pool for AAP, which was (late 1966, early 1967) still scheduled for flights in 1969.

As for why White fell out of Deke's favor, no one knows for sure. But fall he did.

Michael Cassutt

Tom
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posted 03-05-2005 02:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Michael: Can you elaborate on Grissom / Aldrin? Any reason(s) why Grissom wouldn't fly with Aldrin? Thank you.

Michael Cassutt
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posted 03-05-2005 03:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Gus Grissom didn't like Aldrin and had lobbied against his selection as an astronaut.

For that matter, Borman was not an Aldrin fan, either. This was probably the only area where Grissom and Borman were in total agreement....

Michael Cassutt

Tom
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posted 03-05-2005 04:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very interesting. There must have been some tense moments during Apollo 8 training, with Aldrin part of Borman's back-up crew!

Michael Cassutt
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posted 03-05-2005 05:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not necessarily. While there were group meetings involving prime and backup crews, and support astros, most of the time the crews were on separate tracks, rarely crossing paths.

Michael Cassutt

Tom
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posted 03-05-2005 05:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As long as were on this topic, if Mike Collins flew as scheduled on Apollo 8 leaving Jim Lovell on Apollo 11, do you think Gene Cernan would have had a chance of commanding a lunar mission?

Michael Cassutt
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posted 03-06-2005 05:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Assuming a successful first lunar landing on Apollo 11, with a crew of Armstrong-Lovell-Aldrin, I doubt Cernan would have had a chance at command: Lovell would almost certainly have wanted a shot at commanding his own landing, and would have been rotated to backup CDR for 14, prime for 17.

But that's all speculation...

Michael Cassutt

MoonMan Jeff
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posted 03-06-2005 06:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MoonMan Jeff   Click Here to Email MoonMan Jeff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Michael Cassutt:
It was the McDivitt crew (Scott as rendezvous-experienced CMP) and the Borman crew (Collins as experienced CMP) Stafford's new crew (Young as experienced CMP) that were being set up for the first lunar landing.
Michael: First off, I very much appreciate your recollections and those of Deke himself regarding the crew selection/evaluation process. You certainly HAVE corrected some mis-assumptions on my part re: White.

I have two follow ups for you if you dont mind as I learn more about this whole "selection process". First off, (and to show my ignorance), what exactly was the crew on the second block 1 Apollo that didn't fly (the ones Deke apparently did not think that highly of)?

And secondly as you mentioned the setting up of the McDivitt, Borman and Stafford crews as possible first lunar landing crews, the obvious (to me anyway) question is: Whither the Neil Armstrong crew? Was he in the mix at that point along with McDivitt, Borman and Stafford as a possible first CDR? And also how did one of my faves, Pete Conrad, fit in the mix in this elite rank, as he very nearly got himself the first landing as well?

Thanks much.. I greatly appreciate your insights.

MoonmanJeff

Robonaut
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posted 03-06-2005 07:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robonaut   Click Here to Email Robonaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MoonMan Jeff:
what exactly was the crew on the second block 1 Apollo that didn't fly (the ones Deke apparently did not think that highly of)?
The crew for Apollo 2 (second block 1 Apollo) was Walter Schirra (commander), Donn Eisele (senior pilot), and Walter Cunningham (pilot).

When Apollo 2 was cancelled the crew became back-ups to Apollo 1 and then replaced them following the fire.

Best wishes
Rob Wood

ejectr
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posted 03-06-2005 07:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't get it.

Why would he think two of his Mercury buddies as well as accomplished Gemini pilots as weak?

He hadn't even held a capsule control stick in actual flight at the time.

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posted 03-06-2005 08:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MoonMan Jeff   Click Here to Email MoonMan Jeff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robonaut:
When Apollo 2 was cancelled the crew became back-ups to Apollo 1 and then replaced them following the fire.
Thanks for reminding me.. I must have had a brain-lock there not to recall the Schirra crew backing up on the Block 1 and then being the Apollo 7 crew after the fire.

But if Michael is right, there goes another long-held illusion, that Wally Schirra was one of the favored Mercury astronauts as opposed to someone Deke felt was "weak". Why Deke would feel the astronaut who accomplished the first space rendezvous and had flown two basically flawless flights was "weak" is beyond me. And why he would entrust the first ever flight of the Apollo CSM after a fatal fire to someone he didnt have TOTAL confidence in is bizarre too. You cant tell me that Wally's "personality" had anything to do with it because Pete Conrad was of the same cloth and he commanded Apollo 12.

So I certainly aint gonna say one bad, semi-bad, or remotely bad word about Wally, regardless of what Deke's opinion was 40 years ago.

MM Jeff

Michael Cassutt
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posted 03-07-2005 09:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Deke thought that Gus and Wally were just fine, good candidates for a lunar landing mission: it was the _other_ astros on the two Block I crews that he was planning to move on to AAP: White, Chaffee, Eisele, Cunningham. In fact, I think I mentioned those names....

I want to note again -- this wasn't seen as punishment or even exile. Deke said time and time again, if he had to, he would have assigned any astronaut to any mission. Or he would have simply gotten them out of the program, period. In late 1966, early 1967, AAP was gearing up for a pair of manned launches two years hence -- prematurely as it turned out -- but Deke had to make long-term plans.

As for Armstrong and Conrad, they were highly-regarded and in line for lunar landing command. They just weren't the top three, as Deke was setting up crews in 1967.

As for whether Deke was in a position to judge the other astronauts, _they_ thought he was. And remember, while he made the final selections, he didn't do so in a vacuum: he got reports from training supervisors, flight control directors and others at every step of the process. (And all his selections had to be approved by Gilruth and Mueller.)

He also relied on the opinions of other astronauts, in most cases giving commanders a veto over crew members.

Michael Cassutt

ejectr
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posted 03-07-2005 11:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mike:

Nope.. you didn't mention those names. You said...."Deke told me, in fact, that he considered the senior pilots and pilots on the two Block I crews to be "weak". They were going to be "phased off" to AAP."

I just figured you meant Wally and Gus when you said "senior pilots".

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posted 03-07-2005 11:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ejectr:
I just figured you meant Wally and Gus when you said "senior pilots".
'Senior Pilot' was a mission position designation on these early Apollo crews that did not have an LM. The three crewmembers were Commander (or 'Command Pilot'), Senior Pilot, and Pilot. Therefore Wally and Gus, as mission Commanders, were not Senior Pilots also.

FF

ejectr
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posted 03-07-2005 11:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oh, I see... you learn something new everyday!

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posted 03-07-2005 05:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MoonMan Jeff   Click Here to Email MoonMan Jeff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Michael: Thanks for the clarification on the two Block I crews. As long as Deke didnt mean to denigrate Wally and Gus's abilities, I am fine with his evaluations of the other guys.

You know, as we discuss and analyze and bandy about all the various crew assignment ans rotations here 40 years on, it is worth remembering just how GOOD all the chosen astronauts were and how well staffed ALL the Apollo missions were. There was not to my knowledge a single "bad" crew on any Apollo mission, meaning a commander or LMP who botched things up to the point of messing up a mission. Someone correct me if I am wrong, but the worst thing any crew member may have done on any Apollo missions were Al Bean pointing the camera at the bloody sun and John Young accidentally tripping over and pulling the plugs out of the heat flow experiment.. .and both were accidents.

Apart from that all the Apollo crews performed superbly and justified Deke's selection, even if it is fun guessing whethere this guy or that guy could have been on that crew or this crew instead.

A tip of the hat and a proud salute is due to ALL the guys, in whatever role they had, during those justly named "glory days" of manned space exploration.

All times are CT (US)

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Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





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