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  Gene Cernan's assignment to backup Gemini 9

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Author Topic:   Gene Cernan's assignment to backup Gemini 9
DJS
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posted 06-26-2011 09:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DJS   Click Here to Email DJS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anybody know why Deke Slayton assigned Eugene Cernan as back-up pilot of Gemini 9? Cernan was not a test pilot and was the third youngest astronaut in his group. He graduated from college in 1956, served two Western Pacific tours, and earned a master's degree before being selected for the astronaut corps. Why was he even selected for the third astronaut group? Why was he given command of Apollo 17 after his helicopter crash?

Steve Procter
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posted 06-26-2011 09:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steve Procter   Click Here to Email Steve Procter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I expect only Deke would have been able to tell you why in full. Cernan himself concedes in his own autobiography that he was surprised to make each cut in the selection process.

Once in he seemed to be able to get on with just about anyone which probably helps and in spite of the well documented mishap was a very competent astronaut.

From the tone of your question however I get the feeling that you have a problem with him?

DJS
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posted 06-26-2011 10:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DJS   Click Here to Email DJS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes I do have a problem with him. There are several reasons for this, but this is where I'll start. Deke Slayton offered him the job of being back-up LMP for Apollo 13. This strongly indicated rotation to the prime crew of Apollo 16. Charlie Duke was assigned in Gene's place and did walk the moon on 16.

Gene wanted to command his own mission. It seems to me that the ultimate prize in the Apollo program was walking on the Moon. To do it as commander would, at most, be icing on the cake. Cernan took an enormous risk here. Slayton's first choice to back-up commander for Apollo 14 was Michael Collins. Collins turned it down because he wanted to retire from the Astronaut Corps altogether. If Collins took the job, Cernan would probably have never walked the Moon.

Deke Slayton's three mission rotation was not written in stone. For example, he did not follow it with Gordo Cooper and Donn Eisele. The back-up crew for Apollo 15 was Gordon, Brand and Schmitt. Schmitt replaced Joe Engle as LMP on Apollo 17 because he was a geologist. Why not rotate the entire Apollo 15 back-up crew to being the prime crew of Apollo 17? Cernan said in his own book that if Schmitt had to fly the logical thing to do was to keep a well trained crew together. Furthermore, Richard Gordon, in addition to having not helicopter crash on his record, was the most experienced test pilot in his group. In fact, he was more experienced as a test pilot than some members of the next nine. Cernan was not a test pilot at all. Vance Brand was a test pilot and Ronald Evans was not. Jack Schmitt was not a test pilot. However, he became at least an adequate pilot of both Fixed-wing jet aircraft and helicopters and he knew the LM inside and out. Joe Engle was an outstanding test pilot, but Cernan himself said the he was not up to speed on the LM's systems. Schmitt was and was a geologist.

Both Gordon and Cernan had one Gemini mission and one Apollo mission before Apollo 17. Their Gemini missions were similar. Cernan and Gordon both orbited the moon on Apollos 10 and 12 respectively. Cernan was LMP on 10, the dress rehearsal for the lunar landing. Gordon was CMP on 12 an actual Lunar landing. Slayton considered the job of CMP to be more difficult than LMP because the former was a solo pilot.

Gordon, Brand and Schmitt were a better crew than Cernan, Evans and Engle. Furthermore, even if one disagrees withe the preceding statement, Deke was forced to put Schmitt on 17. Why then not also put Gordon and Brand on?

I also do not like the way that Cernan bad mouths other astronauts. For example, several times in his book he strongly criticizes Buzz Aldrin. Like Cernan, Buzz Aldrin was not a test pilot. However he was the most experienced non test pilot of his group. He even had combat experience. He shot down two MIG 15s in Korea. He also had a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from MIT. He was more qualified than Cernan.

Deke Slayton apparently lied to the press and to NASA officials about Cernan's helicopter crash. Also the investigation board for the crash seemed to have deliberately dragged their feet. The crash occurred on Saturday, January 23, 1971. The board was established on Monday, January 25, 1971. Their press release about the accident came out on October 18, 1971. This was about two months after the Apollo 17 crew assignment was made.

Delta7
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posted 06-26-2011 12:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Did Tom Stafford have any say in who his Gemini pilot would be? He was quoted somewhere as saying he "liked" Gene because he had a cooperative, can-do attitude, I think the term used was "did what he was told" or something close to that. Walt Cunningham in his book discusses the seemingly improbable rise of Cernan to top-tier astronaut and attributes it directly to the coattails of Stafford. I also suspect Stafford played a role in Cernan's decision to hold out for a lunar landing command slot; the way the system worked there was little chance that Cernan's gamble would pay off, and as such it doesn't really make sense. Unless Cernan had inside info (unbeknownst to Deke) that Collins had or would turn down the backup Apollo 14/prime Apollo 17 CDR slot, along with encouragement from Stafford (taking over from Shepard as Astronaut Office Chief).

And I always wondered why Cernan was picked for Gemini before Al Bean. The Stafford influence would explain it.

DChudwin
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posted 06-26-2011 12:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DChudwin   Click Here to Email DChudwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am curious whether the original poster has any particular axe to grind regarding what is a legitimate question for discussion.

Cernan performed well on all of his missions and also seemed to have had a knack for getting along with his colleagues (with the exception of Aldrin and Jim McDivitt). From what I have read, there were internal politics involved in the Astronaut Office and Cernan benefited. The fact that he was a Navy man was also a plus. Having said all that, Deke's decisions were his own and we unfortunately don't have him around anymore to answer such questions. I hope Mike Cassutt, Deke's co-writer, might comment on this issue.

Tom
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posted 06-26-2011 12:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Delta7:
And I always wondered why Cernan was picked for Gemini before Al Bean. The Stafford influence would explain it.
Simple... astro-politics.

Keep in mind, Al Bean was the first of his group to be named commander of a crew... albeit a back-up position.

Delta7
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posted 06-26-2011 12:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Tom:
Keep in mind, Al Bean was the first of his group to be named commander of a crew... albeit a back-up position.
All the more reason why the fact that Cernan was chosen to fly Gemini over Bean is curious. Slayton apparently had a high degree of confidence in Bean (who was also Navy, so that angle doesn't explain it) to assign him to a command role. Again, I suspect the Stafford influence on the selection.

DChudwin
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posted 06-26-2011 12:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DChudwin   Click Here to Email DChudwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Certain junior astronauts, through friendship or otherwise, had "guardian angels" among more senior astronauts.

Pete Conrad was Al Bean's "angel," and Tom Stafford was Gene Cernan's "angel."

Who had more clout with Astronaut Office management? That's probably the answer to why Cernan received a Gemini mission and not Al Bean. Tom Stafford is a very persuasive man.

Tom
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posted 06-26-2011 01:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Delta7:
All the more reason why the fact that Cernan was chosen to fly Gemini over Bean is curious. Slayton apparently had a high degree of confidence in Bean (who was also Navy, so that angle doesn't explain it) to assign him to a command role. Again, I suspect the Stafford influence on the selection.
I believe you answered it... Slayton had a high degree of confidence in Bean, and if Slayton was flying Gemini, he may have chosen Bean as his pilot.

On the other hand, Stafford chose Cernan for that same reason.

I really think Slayton's (pilot) selections had a lot to do with the CDR's input.

stsmithva
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posted 06-26-2011 01:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for stsmithva   Click Here to Email stsmithva     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by DJS:
I also do not like the way that Cernan bad mouths other astronauts.

Public bad-mouthing at the time would have been detrimental to the program. But 30-40 years later, astronauts including facts and well-explained opinions about their colleagues in their memoirs just helps more completely tell the history of the space program.

Not every astronaut is portrayed as perfect in every book by another astronaut, but as long as pertains to the space program, so be it. I don't go looking for dirt in books by astronauts, but I'd also consider unreliable a book that was 300 pages of "And we were all the bestest of pals!"

I just re-read the part in "Last Man on the Moon" about Aldrin I believe you were referring to, and he says that Aldrin was campaigning so hard to be first to walk on the moon that it was a big distraction. I don't think that needed to be left out for any reason.

DJS
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posted 06-26-2011 01:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DJS   Click Here to Email DJS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In a way I do have an ax to grind. I feel that Dick Gordon was cheated. He was one of the Navy's best test pilots and he never turned down an assignment. Cernan was not a test pilot, turned down a LMP assignment, and recklessly crashed a helicopter. These things should have been taken into account when assigning the Apollo 17 crew.

Also, I feel that Cernan had irrational reasons for insulting some of his colleagues. Aldrin because he talked about rendezvous, Cunningham because he drove a Porshe instead of a Corvette, and Schweikart because he was an intellectual.

Steve Procter
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posted 06-26-2011 02:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steve Procter   Click Here to Email Steve Procter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think 'insulting' is too strong a word to use in Cernan's defense in his description of three of his colleagues. In reality he said nothing different to what Mike Collins said in 'Carrying the Fire' about the three.

Maybe Mike has a better way with words...

DJS
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posted 06-26-2011 02:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DJS   Click Here to Email DJS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mike definitely has a better way with words. First of all Mike wrote his book himself, without the help of a ghost writer. He also gives a more thoughtful description of his peers.

ColinBurgess
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posted 06-27-2011 03:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Without wishing to go into the lesser aspects of this debate, there's another element to this little story. A few years ago, Tom Stafford said he seemed to recall that Ted Freeman was actually going to be paired with him on the GT-9 backup crew, prior to Ted's death. Unfortunately Tom wasn't 100% sure, and there's no supporting documentation that I know of, but it's an interesting scenario to consider.

Delta7
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posted 06-27-2011 06:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Being that Freeman died in October 1964, I wonder if NASA was looking that far ahead in the crew selection process. Stafford was still training as backup Pilot of Gemini 3 at the time, then presumably would go on to fly as Pilot of Gemini 6 before consideration would be given to the next assignment. It would be theoretically possible to look ahead to a Gemini 9 assignment using Deke's system of astronaut rotation, but I wonder if there was actually any discussion of it that far in advance.

I do, however, believe that had Freeman lived he would have flown Gemini and we wouldn't be having this discussion about Cernan. And I don't mean to take anything away from Gene; he was a most capable astronaut. But he did have a lot of competition.

freshspot
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posted 06-27-2011 06:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for freshspot   Click Here to Email freshspot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We're talking humans here. There are personal qualities such as leadership skills and chemistry that don't come through in CVs or "qualifications". And sometimes the boss just likes someone better for some reason. Maybe they are more fun on the golf course.

In business the person who gets the promotion is unlikely the one with the best resume. It is the one who can, in the eyes of management, get the job done. The person who is given a book deal is not the best writer, it is the one who can sell the most books.

Fra Mauro
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posted 06-27-2011 10:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You are right that Gordon deserved to walk on the moon. To be blunt, he was cheated out of that chance by his country, that turned its back on the Apollo program when they moved on to something else.

Cernan did have an "angel" in Stafford. In turn, I'm sure he wanted Ron Evans on Apollo 17. How many of us have had someone look out for us in our jobs? As for his helicopter crash, one factor in keeping Cernan on Apollo 17 was that NASA didn't need any more bad publicity.

Looking back, Cernan has been a great proponent of spaceflight and its probably for the best that he commanded 17.

ilbasso
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posted 06-27-2011 12:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Alan Bean had an angel in Pete Conrad. (Has anyone EVER called Pete Conrad an angel before???) Bean was relegated to Apollo Applications (Skylab) at the end of Gemini, but we all know the story about how Pete pulled him for Apollo 12.

Shepard was also Ed Mitchell's angel, too, insisting that Mitchell be his LMP on Apollo 14 because of Mitchell's deep knowledge of LM systems.

carmelo
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posted 06-27-2011 02:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for carmelo   Click Here to Email carmelo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by DChudwin:
Pete Conrad was Al Bean's "angel," and Tom Stafford was Gene Cernan's "angel."
John Young was the "angel" of?

Michael Cassutt
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posted 06-27-2011 07:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by DJS:
In a way I do have an ax to grind. I feel that Dick Gordon was cheated. He was one of the Navy's best test pilots and he never turned down an assignment. Cernan was not a test pilot, turned down a LMP assignment, and recklessly crashed a helicopter. These things should have been taken into account when assigning the Apollo 17 crew.
While you're free to decide that Gordon was cheated -- Gordon doesn't seem to think so, by the way -- your assertions are only outside opinions. Was Gordon one of the Navy's best test pilots? How do you know? What bearing did Cernan's lack of test-pilot training have on his performance as an astronaut?

Cernan certainly crashed a helicopter: so did at least two other astronauts in that era. There were many other violations of aircraft operating regs -- check out Walt Cunningham's book, which suggests (wrongly) that these were the rule rather than the exception. Zero zero takeoffs, failing to file flight plans, etc. etc. etc. Cernan had a public mishap... which, by the way, was investigated. Had he not been cleared, he wouldn't have been assigned.

quote:
Also, I feel that Cernan had irrational reasons for insulting some of his colleagues. Aldrin because he talked about rendezvous, Cunningham because he drove a Porshe instead of a Corvette, and Schweikart because he was an intellectual.
It's never easy to read people's minds, so I wouldn't apply "irrational" to someone I didn't know. Or even to someone I was close to. Besides, how irrational is it to air these personal differences forty years later? Some of these guys just didn't like each other. Aldrin was FAMOUS for talking about rendezvous and NOTHING ELSE... can you imagine that some of his less-cerebral fighter jock/test pilot colleagues might have found that tiresome? (Cernan wasn't alone in mocking Aldrin -- worse, there were at least two senior astronauts who refused to have Aldrin on their crews... not just because he was a bore on one subject.)

To go back to the original topic -- Stafford had no input into Cernan's selection aside from a single conversation with Slayton, which went like this: "Hey, how about Cernan as your pilot on the 9 backup crew?"

As to why Cernan and not, say, Bean... several reasons, most of them related to Slayton's growing perception, post Gemini 4 and White's EVA, that EVA was going to require a pilot who was in great physical condition. (That was the reason See was shifted from putative pilot GT-8 to commander GT-9; Slayton didn't think he was physically strong enough for the rigors of EVA.)

Cernan had performed well in his technical assignment (Apollo propulsion systems and Gemini-Agena). He personally got along with potential commanders... he, like Anders and Schweickart, was being groomed for an Apollo LM spot... and he did fairly well in the group's peer ratings (not at the top, but not in the bottom third).

We can never know the exact reason, but I'm fairly sure it's a combination of these things.

(And, yes, Al Bean would have been a good candidate, too, but Shepard had problems with Bean... hence his exile to AAP and other dismal jobs.)

Michael Cassutt
co-author DEKE! and WE HAVE CAPTURE

Michael Cassutt
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posted 06-27-2011 07:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by carmelo:
John Young was the "angel" of?
Robert Gilruth and Gus Grissom

DJS
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posted 06-27-2011 10:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DJS   Click Here to Email DJS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In Deke! it says that Dick Gordon was one of the Navy's best test pilots. On NASA's website, in the archives, I saw the accident report for Cernan's helicopter crash. It said that it was caused by pilot error. I know that Joe Engle crashed a helicopter. Who was the other helicopter crasher?

Michael Cassutt
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posted 06-27-2011 11:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I know what Deke said, since I was the one he said it to -- it was a bit of personal hyperbole looking back from the perspective of thirty years. Hardly an objective ranking. (Assuming there could be such a thing.) And it shows that Deke had high regard for Gordon... yet stuck to his original plan and gave Cernan 17.

Lots of astronauts were guilty of pilot error at one time or another. Granted, few were as spectacular as Cernan.

Gibson was the other helicopter cruncher.

leslie
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posted 06-28-2011 05:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for leslie   Click Here to Email leslie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I for one am surprised this post reached the stage it has. The personal bile being spewed by the new member is surprising.

EVERY astronaut was human, risked their lives for their country and each was far from perfect, however, in Cernan's case he ensured his crew completed their final moon mission successfully with professionalism and much dignity.

My suggestion to the new member is to speculate less and dwell on what we do know,
Apollo 17 was a great mission executed by a great crew!

garymilgrom
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posted 06-28-2011 07:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No one has mentioned the LM ascent anomaly on Apollo 10. I'm not sure what happened except the LM took off on an unexpected trajectory, I think caused by some switch in the wrong position. My point is - was this caused by Cernan or did he react quickly to fix the problem? If the latter that may argue in favor of his skill set. Whatever his qualifications were I agree that he has been a great ambassador for NASA and manned spaceflight in recent times. And I have my own bias for Gene - he was the first moonwalker I met and he was very friendly and talkative.

Delta7
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posted 06-28-2011 07:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My impression is that Deke was above all a fair manager. He stuck with Cernan on Apollo 17 because it was his mission, he had trained himself and his crew well as backups to Apollo 14, and bottom line he had earned it. In fact, Deke originally submitted the entire crew (including Engle) even though he knew the upper brass insisted on Schmitt. It was Gordon's mission that got cancelled,not Cernan's, and in Deke's mind giving Gordon Apollo 17 simply because Gordon was a test pilot, or for whatever other reason wasn't necessary or fair. Cernan's crew was qualified, Deke had confidence in them, so he made his decision based what made sense and not emotion or personal bias. Just my 2 cents.

albatron
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posted 06-28-2011 10:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for albatron   Click Here to Email albatron     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well since Deke is gone, and Michael was his biographer, I think that pretty well sums it up.

Thanks Michael.

mark plas
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posted 06-28-2011 10:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mark plas   Click Here to Email mark plas     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Gene is my favourite astronaut so maybe I am a bit prejudged.

Cernan chosen as an astronaut was maybe a surprise, he was no test pilot and he had not that much of a cv that some of the others in his group had.

But after he got selected he managed to get himself the grandest career of his group.

Of course faith played a big role but to say it is Bean's words: "We started all as equals but in the and Gene developed more and worked harder to become one of the very best."

It seems that Gene in addition to being a great professional had a great way with people. In Guenter Wendt's words, "someone that people who worked for the space center liked to introduce to their friends."

Michael Cassutt
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posted 06-28-2011 04:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While it's gratifying, in a smug, self-centered way, to have the last word on a lot of these matters, I'm also aware that it engenders resentment... and is never actually the last word.

So, for the original poster and others: we probably all have favorite astronauts, much as we have favorite athletes. It's human and fun and completely fair to prefer one to another.

DJS, you're not alone in wishing that Dick Gordon had gotten a lunar landing. You aren't even alone in looking at Gene Cernan's career with amazement -- I think it's fair to say that, from a baseline of January 1964, when the 1963 group reported to MSC, few would have predicted that young, non-test pilot Geno would tie Dave Scott for the most productive and visible astronaut career.

I just found the stated reasons to be either incomplete, outright incorrect, or plain unfortunate.

In evaluating an Apollo astronaut's career, one common failing for outsiders like us, looking back almost fifty years later . . . is to lean too much on original qualifications and experience at selection, and not performance on the job.

We are hampered in this, of course, because WE DON'T KNOW how people performed on the job -- not just the mission, but the year of training prior to the mission (how did the astronaut work with flight controllers in sims? with other astronauts? with MSC management on technical issues? with contractors?), the backup assignment before that, etc. etc. etc. Oh, yes, and flying skills and performance, and personal deportment.

More than that, we don't know what the gate-keepers, Slayton and to some extent, Shepard, were thinking -- or how their thinking about various individuals changed. (I was never able to ask Slayton why he went so sour on Ed White, for example... but he clearly did.)

We don't even know all the ins and outs of careers. You have "a problem" with Cernan because he "turned down" a backup LMP spot in hopes of getting command of a lunar mission. I don't get your "problem," but, okay:

Dick Gordon "turned down" Skylab in hopes of getting command of a lunar mission. Now, this was late 1969, early 1970, a year before the actual crew assignments were announced inside the astronaut office . . . but Pete Conrad, who was taking over Skylab at that time, was very clear to Gordon and Bean: if you want to get another flight, come to Skylab with me. Bean did; Gordon took the chance there would be an Apollo 18.

Just another example of why it's best to be temperate in posting: you may not have all the information. (I'm aware that I don't have it all, either.)

MCroft04
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posted 06-28-2011 08:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Michael Cassutt:
We don't even know all the ins and outs of careers. You have "a problem" with Cernan because he "turned down" a backup LMP spot in hopes of getting command of a lunar mission. I don't get your "problem," but, okay
Had Cernan accepted the A16 LMP assignment, he would have gone down in history as the only pre-shuttle astronaut to fly 3 missions without a command. I don't know if he thought of this, but obviously he wanted to command. I think he writes about the need for command in "The Last Man on the Moon."

Fra Mauro
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posted 06-29-2011 07:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Don't forget that if Cernan flies 16, then Charlie Duke, a great guy, never gets his shot.

ilbasso
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posted 06-29-2011 07:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have to add that whether or not you agree with his opinions on life post-Shuttle, Cernan has been an eloquent spokesman for Apollo and what it was like to be there. Of the many astronauts I've talked to, he is best able to describe what was going through his mind on the Moon - both as someone who was experiencing it for himself as a person, but also as someone knowing that he might be the last human to pass that way for a long time. He's approachable and easy to talk to and seems genuinely happy to share his enthusiasm for the program with people young and old.

ejectr
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posted 06-29-2011 09:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Like the old saying goes...it is what it is. You can wish it another way all you want, but it isn't going to change anything.

Cernan did all of us well. We couldn't have asked for a better last flight to the moon.

Michael Cassutt
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posted 06-29-2011 09:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fra Mauro:
Don't forget that if Cernan flies 16, then Charlie Duke, a great guy, never gets his shot.
Maybe not. In the long delay (the Apollo 13 and 14 crews weren't announced until early Aug 1969, in the case of A13, two months later than expected) Duke has said that he heard he was about to be named backup CMP -- not LMP -- for 13.

Which would make sense: while the 1966 group largely split into CM and LM specialists, there were a couple of guys -- Roosa and Duke in particular -- who worked on both vehicles.

4allmankind
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Posts: 715
From: NJ
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 06-29-2011 10:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 4allmankind   Click Here to Email 4allmankind     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ejectr:
Like the old saying goes...it is what it is. You can wish it another way all you want, but it isn't going to change anything.

Cernan did all of us well. We couldn't have asked for a better last flight to the moon.


Well said, ejectr!

wickball
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Posts: 74
From: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 06-29-2011 05:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wickball   Click Here to Email wickball     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As a Gene Cernan fan, I have to jump in here and say Bravo to Leslie, the "new member" can find another outlet to vent his bile.

Blackarrow
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Posts: 2024
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 06-29-2011 05:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree. Gene Cernan served his country, and NASA, with great distinction. After his astronaut career he has been a great and eloquent ambassador for spaceflight. I sincerely hope he lives to see his title as "last man on the Moon" passing (very briefly!) to someone else.

Fra Mauro
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Posts: 1017
From: Maspeth, NY
Registered: Jul 2002

posted 06-29-2011 06:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I really enjoy this give-n-take stuff over crew selection. That's something we can't do in the shuttle era. Honestly though, I don't understand the anti-Cernan feeling by some on here.

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