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  Gordon Cooper and the JFK assassination? (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   Gordon Cooper and the JFK assassination?
Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-04-2013 10:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by moorouge:
An intriguing possibility to explain why Cooper might have been at Brooks AFB...
We now know why Cooper was at Brooks; he traveled there on behalf of NASA as a guest of honor for the dedication ceremony.

moorouge
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posted 08-04-2013 01:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With all due respect Robert, all the post says is that Cooper will be attending the opening with Berry. He might well have been at Brooks AFB doing something else and been invited as an astronaut immediately to hand.

Two plus two should equal four, but it doesn't always!!! As in why Kennedy was visiting Texas for example.

kr4mula
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posted 08-05-2013 01:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's possible that Cooper (and/or Dr. Berry) did some multi-tasking on their trip. As I think was pointed out earlier, the dedication coincided with a 42-chamber test, which Kennedy viewed. NASA was a co-sponsor of that test, so it's possible that Cooper observed in his Gemini liaison capacity.

Even if that happened, Occam's Razor makes me agree with Robert, that any visit to the chamber was just tacked on to the primary purpose of being a VIP for the ceremony.

kr4mula
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posted 08-06-2013 07:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've found a few other things from the archives, particularly the Aerospace Medical Division (AMD) History for that period.
  • The president arrived at Brooks at "approximately 2:40 p.m.", though the ceremony was well underway by that point.

  • The list of people who actually attended included "Major Leroy Gordon Cooper Jr., Astronaut, and Mrs, Cooper" as well as "Dr. Charles A. Berry, Manned Spacecraft Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and Mrs. Berry"

  • I found a photo of Kennedy delivering his speech at Brooks, but could not see Cooper in the VIP section behind him. Jackie Kennedy and LBJ, among others, are clearly visible. There aren't many women on the platform, so Cooper should be next to his wife somewhere. I'll see what I can do about posting the picture later.

  • The AMD history makes no mention of Cooper, other than on the roster. It describes Kennedy's visit to the test chamber and so forth.

moorouge
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posted 08-06-2013 11:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wonder if you found the same photo I did - a low level shot looking up with Kennedy standing at the rostrum. I couldn't see Cooper either.

I'm waiting for a response to a requested search of the Tarrant County archives to see if they have anything. States side you might have better luck.

Cozmosis22
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posted 08-06-2013 11:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cozmosis22     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by moorouge:
Tarrant County archives
That photo taken at Brooks AFB in San Antonio might be found in the Bexar County archives instead. Good luck!

YankeeClipper
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posted 08-06-2013 05:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by kr4mula:
I've found a few other things from the archives...
Any chance you could post a link to where they mention the attendees or any publication references? Thanks.

kr4mula
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posted 08-08-2013 12:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Send me an e-mail and I can forward some stuff to you.

Cozmosis22
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posted 11-12-2013 12:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cozmosis22     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Saw a good new two-hour special on the National Geographic channel Sunday night. It was an in-depth look at the 1963 Kennedy campaign swing through Texas. The itinerary was to go San Antonio, then Houston, then Fort Worth, then Dallas, then Austin eventually ending with a presidential overnight at the LBJ ranch in the Texas Hill Country.

There was a LOT of original video footage from the time in both black and white and color. It showed the president meeting with a few volunteers in a barometric chamber at Brooks AMC experimenting with long duration stays. He spoke with them over a headset.

That was after he had given a short speech just outside the building. Next to the podium was a beautiful full size X-20 mockup, those were the days! Nowhere in that documentary did they mention President Kennedy meeting with an astronaut during his visit in San Antonio.

It is a very good documentary regarding John F. Kennedy's last 24 hours and would highly recommend it. Though it doesn't show his complete speeches it does show some of all his public events.

mjanovec
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posted 11-12-2013 11:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Cozmosis22:
Nowhere in that documentary did they mention President Kennedy meeting with an astronaut during his visit in San Antonio.
They didn't mention it, but if you watch the documentary again and look at the footage of the speech outside the building, you'll see Cooper on the platform a few rows behind the president. You will get a good, but brief glimpse of his face at the end of the speech when he stands up and applauds.

mjanovec
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posted 12-04-2013 12:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was finally able to get a halfway clear screen shot from the JFK: The Final Hours documentary which shows Cooper on the platform behind Kennedy during the speech at Brooks AFB in San Antonio on November 21, 1963. The screen shot was taken right after Kennedy finishes his speech and people begin to stand up and applaud. Cooper can be seen to the right of JFK's head in a dark suit.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-04-2013 05:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Mark. I had been trying to get enough together to do an article for Nov. 21, but ran out of time.

I did contact the Kennedy Library and had them send me the thumbnails for the photos they have on record from the San Antonio visit and not one shows Cooper.

I also spoke briefly with Suzy Cooper, who recalled Gordo talking about that day.

kr4mula
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posted 12-05-2013 11:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Now that I know where Cooper was sitting, I re-examined the photos I have from Brooks of that day. I can spot the other men in this photo who are sitting around him, but the angle of the photographer and positioning of their heads blocks where Cooper should be. One distant shot shows who I think is Cooper's wife, who accompanied him according to documents I have. She's sitting in a position that seems to be next to where he is in this photo.

mjanovec
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posted 12-05-2013 08:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From other photos and footage I saw, it appears Cooper's wife was sitting to his right. We would probably see a glimpse of her in the photo posted above if JFK wasn't standing in the line of sight.

Indeed, the only reason we see Cooper in the photo is that he was quick to stand up and applaud, once the speech was over. A second later, he is obscured by everyone else who stood up in front of him.

YankeeClipper
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posted 01-25-2014 05:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As can be seen from these two images from the JFK Library Archives, Cooper had prior experience of riding in the Presidential Limousine in May 1963.

ST-C168-14-63 and ST-C168-20-63 taken at the NASA Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) presentation ceremony at the White House on 21 May 1963, just 6 months before the invite at Brooks AFB on 21 Nov 1963.

YankeeClipper
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posted 03-14-2017 02:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
There's one other element of Cooper's story that should be able to be researched: the nature of the system tests that meant he needed to be at the Cape on Nov. 22, 1963.
Although there were important Titan II R&D Flights scheduled in the Nov-Dec 1963 period, the answer may lie with a significant pioneering rocket launch that was planned for late November.

Atlas-Centaur 2 (AC-2) was Dr. Abe Silverstein's 'baby' and was scheduled for launch on Tuesday 26 November 1963 from LC-36A of the Air Force Eastern Test Range. Centaur was a high priority project as it was a vital stepping stone for the Surveyor and Apollo Missions. The development of Liquid Hydrogen (LH2) fueled engines would be crucial in providing the higher specific impulse needed to lift heavier payloads for advanced space missions.

Silverstein's technical perfectionism, zeal for testing, and temper were legendary and Deane Davis (General Dynamics Centaur Project Manager) called testing "Abe's commandment". This extreme diligence was necessary as mastering the use of Liquid Hydrogen involved many unusual technical challenges and extensive prelaunch systems testing.

NASA delayed the launch of Atlas-Centaur 2 by one day to allow the Atlas-Centaur launch team to mourn Kennedy and to refocus on the arduous job of preparing for launch. On Wednesday 27 November 1963, AC-2 lifted off from Cape Canaveral at 2:03PM. At an altitude of 150 miles, the Centaur upper stage separated flawlessly from Atlas and fired its two RL-10 engines. This was the first successful launch of a Liquid Hydrogen fueled upper stage, and paved the way for the January 1964 test flight of the Saturn S-IV stage which boosted US lift capability ahead of the Soviets.

Source: Taming Liquid Hydrogen: The Centaur Upper Stage Rocket 1958-2002

YankeeClipper
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posted 03-15-2017 02:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The systems testing associated with the launches of Atlas-Centaur 2 from LC-36A on 27 November 1963 and/or Titan II R&D Missile N-29 from LC-15 on 12 December 1963, is the most likely reason for Cooper's presence at the Cape on Friday 22 November 1963.

Other work in progress around this time may have provided additional reason(s).

According to Project Gemini Technology and Operations - A Chronology Gemini Spacecraft No. 1 arrived at the Atlantic Missile Range (AMR) on October 4. After laboratory test and checkout, its instrument pallets were reinstalled November 26. Individual and integrated communications, instrumentation, and environmental control systems tests were then performed. Air Force Space Systems Division had formally accepted Gemini Launch Vehicle 1 on October 25, and on October 26 GLV-1 had arrived at the Atlantic Missile Range and was transferred to LC-19.

The Scientific Passenger Pod Program, funded by the Air Force Office of Aerospace Research, was also operational in November-December 1963. Utilising Titan II R&D Test Launches N-24, N-25, N-29, N-31 and N-33, test objectives included the testing of personnel oxygen breathing equipment for the Apollo Program.

Finally, according to On the Shoulders of Titans: A History of Project Gemini :

Escape system development trials had come to a halt in August 1963 as the system went through another series of design changes and some of its key parts, particularly pyrotechnics, remained hard to get. Active testing resumed on 22 November, with the first in a projected series of about 30 drops of the ballute, which had been added to the crew parachutes for the sake of high-altitude stability.
The Ballute (contraction of balloon-parachute) was a Goodyear Aerospace Corporation deceleration and freefall stabilization system. The testing commenced on 22 November, however, was performed at the Naval Parachute Facility, El Centro, California.


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