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Author Topic:   Multiple astronaut applications statistics
John Charles
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Posts: 327
From: Houston, Texas, USA
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 05-21-2017 03:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John Charles     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Has anyone catalogued the number of applications by individual astronauts? Clayton Anderson claims he applied 15 times. Both Pete Conrad and Jim Lovell applied twice, if I recall correctly. Are there stats? How many were selected on the first try, or the second, third, etc.?

I tried to search but couldn't think of good search terms. Thanks for any info.

YankeeClipper
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Posts: 508
From: Dublin, Ireland
Registered: Mar 2011

posted 05-21-2017 04:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Popular Mechanics published this excerpt in 2015 from Clayton Anderson's The Ordinary Spaceman.

Duane Ross, ‎former manager for Astronaut Candidate Programs at NASA, and Teresa Gomez, former assistant manager of the Astronaut Selection Office, look like the people most likely to have the stats. Alternatively, you could ask his protégé and current ASCAN manager Anne Roemer.

Some additional insight on selection is available here.

John Charles
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Posts: 327
From: Houston, Texas, USA
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 05-21-2017 08:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John Charles     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the links.

Since I asked the question, I also spent a couple of hours going through the data for Groups 1 (1959) through 6 (1967), excluding the MOL transferees in 1969 who, technically speaking, did not apply. I used data from spacefacts.de.

There were 66 men selected in those six groups. Of them, nine had applied twice before being selected, and one succeeded on his third try. Thus, nearly one in six astronauts had to apply more than once. But if we subtract Group 1, who by definition were selected on their first try, it was better than one in six. And excluding the two scientist-astronaut groups of six and 11 men who were all selected on their first try, then nearly one in four pilot-astronauts needed at least two applications to be successful.

I would still like to see similar stats on the later groups. If anyone has already done that, please share!

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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Posts: 3274
From: Toms River, NJ
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 05-21-2017 11:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A few of the early shuttle astronaut classes did not have new applications per se; they went to those that didn't make the cut and went through them again.

Some of the Class of 1980 would had actually been selected for the Class of 1978, except that they wanted more women and minorities in '78.

Michael Cassutt
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Posts: 346
From: Studio City CA USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 05-22-2017 10:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is entirely incorrect. All astronaut applicants in the early Shuttle era were required to re-apply. The 1980 group did, and so did 1985, following the 1984 selection.

The idea that the number and composition of the 1978 group was changed in order to include more women and minorities is also false — and I speak as someone who thought so for years. The truth is this: in the fall of 1977, JSC submitted 40 names to NASA HQ — where administrator Frosch, at the last minute, ordered JSC to reduce the number of pilot candidates from 20 to 15.

Headshot
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Posts: 692
From: Streamwood, IL USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 05-22-2017 10:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the early manned space program (pre-Shuttle) was not there a restriction on the number of times a candidate could apply to become an astronaut? I seem to recall the limit was three. Does anyone recall such a condition?

Michael Cassutt
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From: Studio City CA USA
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posted 05-22-2017 10:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I never heard of it and doubt that it was necessary. The real limiting factor for astronaut application in those days was age.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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Posts: 3274
From: Toms River, NJ
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 05-22-2017 01:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I stand corrected, then, taking my info from the 1993 "Who's Who In Space." Is this then also incorrect: "Group 11: ... no (outside) applications were solicited for the 1985 group. NASA simply reexamined the 126 qualified applications for 1984 and invited fifty-nine to JSC for interviews."

Michael Cassutt
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From: Studio City CA USA
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posted 05-22-2017 02:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, my "Who's Who" contributor and I were both misinformed. As a public service, we continue to examine past statements in light of new data.

Skylon
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Registered: Sep 2010

posted 05-22-2017 07:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skylon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I actually recalled that comment about the number of pilots in 1978 being cut and replaced by women as coming from "Deke!" I honestly wrote it off as hearsay Slayton may have picked up at some point, since I'd never seen anything to corroborate it (and it sounds like I never should).

Michael Cassutt
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From: Studio City CA USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 05-23-2017 10:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It was indeed hearsay — gossip passed around the space community for a decade or two.

NukeGuy
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From: Irvine, CA USA
Registered: May 2014

posted 05-24-2017 10:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NukeGuy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would not be surprised to learn that the reduction in pilot positions was a backdoor way to increase the percentages of women/minorities.

Greggy_D
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From: Michigan
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posted 05-24-2017 02:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by John Charles:
Clayton Anderson claims he applied 15 times.
How is that even possible?

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 38471
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-24-2017 02:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Clay applied for the first time in 1983 for Group 10; he was selected with Group 17 in 1998. He submitted an application (revised his application on file) every year until he was selected 15 years after his first submission.

Michael Cassutt
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From: Studio City CA USA
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posted 05-24-2017 05:35 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 NukeGuy:
I would not be surprised to learn that the reduction in pilot positions was a backdoor way to increase the percentages of women/minorities.
That was what many believed for years. As noted about two inches upscreen, this wasn't the case. HQ under Frosch encouraged the inclusion of women and minorities in the 1978 astronaut selection, but NASA as a whole — and JSC management, which did the selecting, in particular — was pushing for such a change, too.

Michael Cassutt
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Posts: 346
From: Studio City CA USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 05-24-2017 05:38 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 Greggy_D:
How is that even possible?
As Robert notes, Clayton applied every year. There weren't selections every year, though when he started, JSC was doing annual intakes (1984, 1985 and there would have been a 1986, which became 1987). Add 1990, 1992, and 1995 and you come up with success on selection process no. 7. I think Don Pettit had a similar score, if you look at it that way.

Bill Nelson
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From: Lakewood, Colorado U.S.A.
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 05-28-2017 05:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bill Nelson   Click Here to Email Bill Nelson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In relation to the first few astronaut groups, the first group of possible astronauts from which the original seven astronauts were picked for did not "apply." The individual branches of the military decided which of their pilots were submitted as candidates. The branches then informed the pilots that they were among the pilots under consideration to become astronauts.

The Manned Orbiting Laboratory program also was a case where pilots names were submitted without the pilots knowing. The ones who were selected were then informed that they had been selected as an MOL aerospace research pilot (astronaut).

John Charles
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Posts: 327
From: Houston, Texas, USA
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 12-14-2017 08:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John Charles     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow — I should really check back more often.

You are right that Group 1 did not apply, but Group 2 did — and the story is that Armstrong's application was late but that somebody put it into the active pile.

Likewise, MOL Group 1 didn't apply per se, but MOL Groups 2 and 3 did, and sometimes had to choose between NASA and MOL.

All times are CT (US)

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