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  Apollo astronauts waiting for the space shuttle

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Author Topic:   Apollo astronauts waiting for the space shuttle
NASAROB
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Posts: 38
From: Astoria NY
Registered: Feb 2009

posted 09-06-2010 10:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NASAROB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA planned for the space shuttle to fly earlier and more often.

Besides Fred Haise (and I believe Alan Bean), did any other Apollo era astronauts who flew consider sticking around to fly on the shuttle but left the program because of all the delays?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30789
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-06-2010 11:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mike Mullane, in his book "Riding Rockets," describes the first "Monday morning meeting" that he attended as a member of the first class of shuttle astronauts.
Besides John Young, there was Alan Bean, the only other moonwalker remaining in the office. There were also some astronauts from the Skylab program: Owen Garriott, Jack Lousma, Ed Gibson, Paul Weitz and Joe Kerwin. One astronaut remained from the Apollo-Soyuz program, Vance Brand. One of the Apollo 13 crew was still aboard, Fred Haise. Ken Mattingly, the original Apollo 13 astronaut who was exposed to the German measles and replaced at the last moment, was still with NASA and at the table. He had later earned his wings on Apollo 16.

The rest of the office included seventeen astronauts who were still waiting their first spaceflight. Seven had been dumped on NASA in 1969 by the USAF after the Manned Orbiting Laboratory program was canceled. The others had been selected in the late years of the moon program and had been in line to fly on Apollo 18 through 20...

Jeff
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Posts: 269
From: Fayetteville, NC, USA
Registered: May 2009

posted 09-06-2010 11:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jeff   Click Here to Email Jeff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We can't forget Stu Roosa. In Andrew Chalkin's "A Man On The Moon," he states that Roosa was assigned to the space shuttle program, but as the dates continued to push back, he decided to leave NASA.

Delta7
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Posts: 1240
From: Ossian IN USA
Registered: Oct 2007

posted 09-06-2010 11:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jerry Carr did a lot of work with early shuttle development, although I don't know if he ever planned on sticking around to fly it.

Skylon
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Posts: 188
From:
Registered: Sep 2010

posted 09-06-2010 11:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skylon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Deke Slayton, in his book, stated Dave Scott hoped to stick around to fly the shuttle, but the entire Apollo 15 stamp incident torpedoed that. Had Scott stayed active, I'd say he was the only astronaut who could have been seen as a possible alternative to John Young for commanding STS-1.

Al Bean I'd heard was considered to command STS-9 (Spacelab 1) before he retried.

Joe Kerwin hoped to fly the Solar Max repair mission (STS 41-C), but was offered a Spacelab flight instead, which he declined, and went to Life Sciences at JSC.

A couple of the 1966 intake of astronauts stayed around into 1977 when ALT flights began, and had duties related to shuttle development, so they may have intended to fly, but ultimately decided not to as STS-1 kept moving later and later. Those two are Ron Evans and Gerry Carr.

Lou Chinal
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Posts: 1095
From: Staten Island, NY
Registered: Jun 2007

posted 09-06-2010 02:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Don't forget that Deke Slayton wanted to stick around for another flight, but was passed over.

Delta7
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Posts: 1240
From: Ossian IN USA
Registered: Oct 2007

posted 09-08-2010 10:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Gene Cernan and Rusty Schweikart both considered sticking around to fly the Shuttle, but ultimately left NASA to pursue other interests.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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Posts: 2603
From: Toms River, NJ
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 09-08-2010 05:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wasn't there in the book "Apollo 13" where Lovell was designing the cockpit of a proposed shuttle, looked around, and realized he was back to where he started (e.g., in the same building)? After that, he left.

Skylon
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Posts: 188
From:
Registered: Sep 2010

posted 09-09-2010 11:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skylon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I highly doubt Lovell had any intention of staying to fly the Shuttle as he announced his plans to retire prior to Apollo 13, however his final duties in the Astronaut Office were Shuttle related.

Jack Swigert I believe was the head of the Shuttle Branch for the Astronaut Office when the program was approved. If he had any intention of staying around to fly the shuttle, we don't know. The stamp incident happened, and he went into politics.

Most of the office's manpower was still focused on the final Apollo flights, Skylab and eventually ASTP. Either as prime, backup or support crew members. Lovell and Swigert (though he was later considered for ASTP), were in line for nothing after Apollo 13, so giving them shuttle related tasks makes sense.

carmelo
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Posts: 840
From: Messina, Sicilia, Italia
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 11-13-2013 05:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for carmelo   Click Here to Email carmelo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Why Alan Bean leave NASA in 1981, before to fly on the Space Shuttle? Health or contrasts?

Editor's note: Threads merged.

onesmallstep
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Posts: 750
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 11-13-2013 05:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bean basically retired after 18 years an astronaut to devote himself full-time as an artist. Having taken painting lessons since Navy flight school, Bean (paraphrasing his 1993 NASA bio) had seen sights in space and on the moon no other artists' eye could see, and wanted to express what he saw through the medium of art.

carmelo
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Posts: 840
From: Messina, Sicilia, Italia
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 11-13-2013 05:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for carmelo   Click Here to Email carmelo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
But you believe in this story? In that case why not leave NASA in 1974 or 1975?

Why train for the shuttle all those years and go away when STS has finally started, when he could have have the chance to return in space within two years?

In early 80s, Bean had still a whole life for paint.

bwhite1976
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Posts: 199
From: belleville, IL USA
Registered: Jun 2011

posted 11-13-2013 06:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bwhite1976   Click Here to Email bwhite1976     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Astronauts can still enjoy working at NASA and not fly in space. Maybe Bean found his work at NASA interesting and meaningful. Maybe it was monetary? Maybe he just enjoyed working there? It could be any number of perfectly normal reasons.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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Posts: 2603
From: Toms River, NJ
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 11-13-2013 07:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In 1977, at best, Spacelab-1 was three years away. When the shuttle finally flew in 1981, that flight was still two and a half years away. Speculation, but I would like to think that plus the number of astronaut selected in 1978 and 1980 led Bean to step away so they would have a chance of flying. He's been to the moon; he's been on a space station; what more is there to do?

But here's a speculation: If Bean had commanded STS-9, what flight would Young have as his sixth? Waiting for the Hubble deploy? Or would he have had the Solar Max rendezvous?

Skylon
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Posts: 188
From:
Registered: Sep 2010

posted 11-13-2013 07:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skylon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It always sounded to me like Alan Bean, gradually got drawn into painting. There was a JSC Oral History interview with Bean in which he recalls that eventually he just reached a point where George Abbey called him into his office and said he had noticed that Bean was logging nearly zero flight time in T-38's. I forget exactly, but some point soon after that (or maybe at that meeting) he decided to retire.

It sounds like the man's passions in life just changed as the time between Skylab and Shuttle passed.

astro-nut
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Posts: 604
From: washington, Illinois USA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 12-01-2013 10:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for astro-nut   Click Here to Email astro-nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I remember reading an article that Alan Bean was Acting Chief of the Astronaut Office when the actual Chief John Young was training for STS-1. I do believe that Bean was schedule for the Spacelab-1/STS-9 flight, but he wanted to devote his time to his painting career.

I also remember watching one of the early shuttle flights on the television networks and Astronaut Gene Cernan made the comment that he was going to have to come out of retirement and get in line to command of these missions. I'm not sure if he was serious or just joking?

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