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  John Healey, Apollo s/c manager (1922-2019)

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Author Topic:   John Healey, Apollo s/c manager (1922-2019)
Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-25-2019 03:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
John Patrick Healey, the North American Aviation manager who oversaw the redesign of the Apollo command module after the 1967 Apollo 1 fire, died on March 15, 2019. He was 97.

From a 2011 issue of NASA Kennedy Space Center's Spaceport News:

Healey was brought to North American Aviation as the vehicle manager for the command module. His task: Fix everything wrong with the spacecraft and deliver a working one to NASA for the Apollo 7 mission, the first crewed test flight of the new program. Mercury and Gemini veteran Wally Schirra would be in command. In the process, Healey was setting up a production line for all the command modules that would follow.

Healey said listening to the astronauts was not the same as doing everything they suggested, however.

"My arrangement with Wally was pretty straightforward," Healey said. "If it was something that was flight worthy or mission worthy or lifesaving, I would listen and make sure it got incorporated. But if it was a new idea off way in the blue, it wouldn't get in."

There were key decisions throughout the process, Healey said, but the main aspect was to change attitudes at the company and at NASA. Suddenly, even the highest-ranking officials were not allowed inside the spacecraft as it was being built, only the five workers who were supposed to be there.

By allowing a very limited number of people to work inside the spacecraft, which is cramped to begin with, the chances to make mistakes or do unintentional damage also are limited, Healey said.

A memorial service is planned for 10 a.m. on March 29, 2019 at St. Mary Catholic Parish in Littleton, Colorado. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to St. Mary's Catholic School (6853 S. Prince St., Littleton, CO 80120), with the memo line, "Tuition Assistance in Memory of John P. Healey."

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