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  Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight (Jay Barbree) (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight (Jay Barbree)
cspg
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posted 11-25-2013 08:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight
by Jay Barbree
The definitive biography of Neil Armstrong by Jay Barbree, the Emmy Award-winning space journalist who knew him for nearly 50 years. Timed to coincide with the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch, the book is packed with never-before-seen photos and personal details written down for the first time — like what that giant step for mankind really felt like.

To date, everything written about Armstong's life and flights has been written from the outside looking in; Barbree is the only person whom Armstrong trusted to share close personal details about his inspiring life story.

Working from his years of notes, and with the full cooperation of the Armstrong family, Barbree has written the definitive biography of America's most famous astronaut and one of our greatest modern heroes. Much has already been written about Armstrong and the major players who helped him fly to the moon, but he wanted this book to emphasize his two passions — family and flight. Barbree and Armstrong discussed everything, from his two marriages and the death of his baby daughter, to his love of flying, the war years and of course, his time in space.

The book, timed to coincide with the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch and full of never-before-seen photos, includes many personal details that have never before been written, such as what Armstrong really felt when he took that first step on the moon, what life in NASA was like, his relationships with the other astronauts, and what he felt the future of space exploration should be.

In the course of his 55-year career with NBC News, Jay Barbree is the only reporter to have covered all 166 American astronaut flights and moon landings. He received an Emmy for his coverage of Neil Armstrong's first walk on the moon, broke the cause of the Challenger accident, and he still covers space for NBC's TV networks and NBCnews.com. Barbree was also the lead writer for the New York Times bestseller Moon Shot with astronauts Alan Shepard, Deke Slayton, and Neil Armstrong.

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books (July 8, 2014)
  • ISBN-10: 125004071X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250040718

328KF
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posted 11-25-2013 08:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I enjoy reading Jay Barbree's work and I'm going to be interested to see how he looks at Armstrong's life. First Man is going to be a tough act to follow, even though that effort was more "scholarly" and Jay tends to write in a more entertaining style.

The cover art looks great, although my first impression was to notice the same photo that makes up the First Man cover was used.

David C
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posted 11-25-2013 12:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I thought "Moonshot" was so bad that I've not read anything else by him. Barbree is well known for producing a less than objective view of the program. However, so long as he sticks to the facts this should be an entertaining read.

dom
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posted 11-25-2013 12:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dom   Click Here to Email dom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A strangely boring cover choice...

onesmallstep
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posted 11-25-2013 02:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hopefully, the book will live up to its title and include many accounts by fellow pilots/astronauts/engineers who knew Armstrong in Korea, Edwards and NASA. I'm sure they have lots of tales to tell.

spkjb
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posted 11-25-2013 07:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spkjb   Click Here to Email spkjb     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"Live from Cape Canaveral" (another book by Jay) is a fascinating read.

Henry Heatherbank
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posted 11-26-2013 06:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Henry Heatherbank     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I will not be wasting my own money to read this book, after the very disappointing "Live from Cape Canaveral".

If I bother to read it at all, I'll wait until I see it in a library somewhere.

Fra Mauro
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posted 11-26-2013 08:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's interesting that someone else has decided to write a book about Armstrong after First Man. I wonder what he wants to add to the story.

cspg
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posted 12-02-2013 04:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Got word from the publisher today. Special thanks to Katie Bassel for providing the proposed jacket copy, which has been added to the first post above.

dom
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posted 12-03-2013 04:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dom   Click Here to Email dom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm prepared to give this one a go, as I found 'First Man' too dull and academic.
I hope this book's more informal...

thump
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posted 06-20-2014 10:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for thump   Click Here to Email thump     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jay Barbree is scheduled for a signing of this at the downtown National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, July 6, from 1 to 3.

lordolsen
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posted 06-20-2014 10:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for lordolsen   Click Here to Email lordolsen     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If anybody goes for the signing can they get a copy for me?

ozspace
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posted 07-06-2014 09:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ozspace   Click Here to Email ozspace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I haven't read this but it strikes me as a little 'timid' to wait to write and release this book after Neil's passing. For me, First Man, remains the definitive text.

In this video Jay explains his reasons and motivations for writing the book, not sure I follow the logic...

chet
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posted 07-09-2014 12:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wasn't crazy about "Moonshot", but based on what Jim Lovell and Gene Cernan (two of Armstrong's closest friends) had to say about Barbree's book, I think it's probably worth a read:

Lovell: "This is a great book and does much to preserve Neil's legacy."

Cernan: "You'll find the Neil Armstrong I knew in these pages."

james f. ruddy
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posted 07-09-2014 05:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for james f. ruddy   Click Here to Email james f. ruddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just finished reading it on my iPad. A well written book that should be read by all of our non collectSPACE friends. This story may enlighten them about our passion. I've already told my friends to read it.

Richard Easton
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posted 07-22-2014 09:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard Easton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jay was recently interviewed on C-SPAN.

Jurg Bolli
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posted 08-01-2014 10:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jurg Bolli   Click Here to Email Jurg Bolli     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Are there any more reviews on this?

I also was very disappointed with "Live..." but I am willing to listen to positive opinions.

MCroft04
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posted 08-01-2014 04:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I liked the book; it was very well written. Most space buffs are well aware of the early space flights and how they played out so nothing new here. But I particularly liked the quotes from Neil and personal anecdotes that Mr. Barbree added based on his friendship with Neil. I feel I know Neil a little better now. I didn't particularly like the ending (with the story of Mr. Gorsky). There are a few hiccups e.g. the story of cosmonaut Komarov speaking to his wife prior to his reentry.

David C
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posted 08-30-2014 05:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well I didn't think much of it, schmaltzy and sloppy. The only thing that was nice to see was some unofficial corroboration of Slayton's attitude to Armstrong's selection as Apollo 11 commander. Despite comments to the contrary from all official sources over the years, I'd long ago deduced (not suspected) the same answer — so it was nice to see it "confirmed".

Not quite as bad as "Moon Shot", but I won't be wasting my time with anymore of Barbree's work.

Blackarrow
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posted 08-30-2014 08:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I expect I will buy this book, but on a quick perusal in a book-shop, I was disappointed to see an old mistake: a TV-grab showing Armstrong's "one small step" is actually Aldrin's first step.

cspg
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posted 09-04-2014 04:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Paperback edition due June 9, 2015.

robsouth
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posted 09-04-2014 05:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by David C:
Despite comments to the contrary from all official sources over the years, I'd long ago deduced (not suspected) the same answer — so it was nice to see it "confirmed".
What was Slayton's attitude to Armstrong's selection as Apollo 11 commander?

David C
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posted 09-05-2014 09:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rob, in Chapter 14 "Hello Moon", Barbree writes that he told Armstrong the following off the record:
As you know Deke and our man Harold Williams are fishing buddies, and he told Harold straight out he wanted you first, and if you had to abort he knew Conrad could handle the job on Apollo 12, or if not Conrad, Jim Lovell could get it done on 13.
There is a slight flaw however, in that at the stage of this supposed conversation (Apollo 8) Lovell was scheduled for 14. Since Barbree is pretty slack on chronology it's entirely possible that this conversation actually took place as a retrospective remark after Apollo 11.

Sorry that I don't have a page reference but I'm using a Kindle.

robsouth
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posted 09-06-2014 08:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I always assumed that Armstrong was not first, second, third or even fourth choice on Slayton's list of men to command the first landing.

Also, I had thought that at the time that the original Apollo 9 backup crew for Borman was chosen, Armstrong was put in that slot because, apart from Lovell, there wasn't anyone else available.

Ken Havekotte
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posted 09-06-2014 10:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The main factor from my understanding would be of Armstrong's Apollo 8 backup commander assignment.

With a moon surface flight-ready Lunar Module for Apollo 11, in skipping two flights with a third as a primary command slot, that would put the "First Man" right in line for Apollo 11's command post.

capoetc
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posted 09-06-2014 02:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
True, but as you know, McDivitt was slated to fly Apollo 8 in earth orbit with a LM... that would have put Conrad's crew into the catbird's seat on 11.

robsouth
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posted 09-10-2014 01:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bottom line is when Slayton picked the early Apollo crews in 66/67 there was no way of knowing who would be the first on the moon. It was a complete lottery.

David C
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posted 09-10-2014 05:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by robsouth:
It was a complete lottery.
Unfortunately Rob that's far from being the bottom line which is why this topic always resurfaces. Please bear with me on this slightly long reply.

For various reasons, the "it was pure luck" explanation has always been the official line. Pre-mission, any other line would have been divisive; post-mission it could be seen as unnecessarily demeaning to others who had worked hard in the service of their country.

Fortunately for all, in Armstrong, you have an individual who resisted all efforts to single him out as special — for very good reasons. The relevant NASA managers have also continued to exercise an admiral degree of discretion on the subject. Things are also complicated by the fact that the first landing attempt pilot (commander), and the first person out of the hatch (at one stage a single man EVA was planned) were by no means obviously going to be one and the same.

For argument's sake, let us say that the Space Age began on 3rd October 1942 when A-4 number V-4 was launched from Peenemünde and reached 85-90km. Back then such a height was quite ample to be considered space, which had yet to be formally defined. At that time the date of the first moon landing and nationality of the first person on the moon were impossible to predict. Say around 1980 and a citizen of any one of maybe 7 or 8 nations would have been reasonable guesses.

So from a 1942 perspective the identity of the future first person on the moon is probably any one of, pick a number — 100,000 future individuals of the correct age, nationality and background, some of which had yet to be born. Definitely a lottery.

Move forward to the early '50s. America has launched fruit flies on a suborbital spaceflight in 1947 and several primates since 1948. Test pilots are riding rockets out at the recently renamed Edwards AFB. The Cold War is in full swing, Korolev is running the Soviet rocket program and is catching up. They have launched dogs on suborbital spaceflights and just tested their first H-bomb. The pace of rocket development is such that a human in space within 10 years is likely, and we're down to only two nations with both the technology and money to do it. A future moon landing however still seems a pretty distant dream and the identity of that first individual has not really narrowed much further.

On 25th May 1961 that all changed with President Kennedy's announcement to Congress. Overnight the pool drops from thousands to not more than a couple of hundred Soviet and American men — at the very generous outside. Every year after that the cone narrows.

By the end of 1966 the pool is down to 19 Soviets and 23 Americans. Preliminary Apollo planning does not designate a first landing attempt crew, or a "first out of the hatch" but does aim to produce an Apollo qualified pool of man power. Slayton certainly had in mind a small number of potential commanders headed by Grissom and including Armstrong. The landing was the focus not the walking. For the Soviets the lander would be the walker since LK only carried one man.

The Apollo 1 fire removes Grissom from the list of potential commanders and White and Chaffee from potential walkers. A compressed schedule is completely re-written and by the end of that year Williams' death means that the American pool is down to nineteen possible first walkers. By then the Soviet pool of walkers is down to just five. Now you can call 1/24 a lottery if you like, I'll have some of those odds please.

Slayton's choices for landing attempt commander after Grissom have been stated by him as being Borman and McDivitt. This was to be achieved by breaking the crew rotation and recycling both crews to prime on Apollo 11 and 12. This thinking seems to have applied prior to the Apollo 8/9 crew swap and Apollo 8 mission change. (Michael Cassut may wish to step in here). Concurrent to this several astronauts flew familiarisation flights in the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle (since the LLTV was not ready). However, serious exposure was pretty much confined to the back-up commanders for those missions — Conrad and Armstrong.

Apollo 8 resulted in the Soviet withdrawal from the race. Also, Schirra and Borman had withdrawn themselves. By then an LLRV and LLTV had been lost, emphasising the tricky nature of these vehicles and by implication the LM as well. December 1968 is Slayton's last chance for considered crew selection for the first landing attempts, to allow a "normal" training schedule.

Now at this stage I suggest it would be naive to assume that either Slayton or NASA program management were content to let this rest on the roll of the dice or a "lottery." Nor is it believable that a decision of this magnitude on a program of this scale came down simply to how the "boys in the ready room" or their boss (Slayton) felt about it. There is no doubt in my mind that the announcement of the Apollo 11 crew was very carefully considered in advance. To say that was not the case is tantamount to stating that all those responsible were basically derelict in their duty.

So for command Schirra and Borman were out. Cooper, Stafford and Armstrong were available, though Cooper seems to have been unacceptable to management. So was Lovell but he was never seriously considered for prime commander. Obviously Young wasn't available. McDivitt and Conrad were training for a mission in three months. I do not know if McDivitt was offered 11, but I've never heard he was. It would have been a tough business getting his crew ready for 11 in only four months, and not necessary. Such thoughts may have played a part in his decision to enter management. Conrad, who had considerable LLRV/TV experience could probably have been fitted in.

So, in December 1968 the crews of Stafford, Armstrong and Conrad were really the only ones left in the running to make the first landing attempt. The fact that these crews stayed with the established rotation should not be construed as no decision. We know that Slayton was quite prepared to break the rotation if required, and that higher management would make their disapproval clear if necessary. So, effectively, when the decision had to be made to select the commander for the first landing attempt a decision was made, and that selection was Armstrong. Feel free to speculate on the reasons.

Yes, many events happened over the years to put him in consideration for selection, most of them beyond his control. However, when a decision had to be made it was and he was selected. Even that was no guarantee of actually being first, there was the hatch decision to make (and here again we know, despite technical face-saving excuses that Armstrong was selected over the EVA experienced Aldrin) — and three successful missions to be flown (including 11's landing).

So yes, lots of luck was involved. Yes NASA could only select men to attempt missions, not guarantee success. Yes the number of men in the final running was small. But selection was also involved, so to call it a "complete lottery" is simply not true. It was no more of a "complete lottery" than for example Grissom commanding Gemini 3 or Schirra commanding Apollo 7, where luck also played it's part. Luck played a part in every Apollo crew selection, but none of them were pure luck, including Apollo 11.

Wow, that really was too long.

328KF
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posted 09-10-2014 05:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by capoetc:
True, but as you know, McDivitt was slated to fly Apollo 8 in earth orbit with a LM... that would have put Conrad's crew into the catbird's seat on 11.

This always intrigued me when thinking about altrnative crew assignments. If McDivitt had not "turned down" the Apollo 8 flight, causing the crew order to swap, Dick Gordon would have been the CMP available to back up Al Shepard as CDR on his crew.

Slayton and Collins both write in their respective books that Slayton offered him the slot during a T-38 flight together. He declined, and Cernan got the spot. Had Gordon been on Apollo 11, he may well have been in that particular right place at the right time and most certainly would not have said "no."

robsouth
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posted 09-11-2014 01:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by David C:
But selection was also involved, so to call it a "complete lottery" is simply not true.
The word 'lottery' to describe the choosing of the first landing crew wasn't mine, I read it in a quote somewhere but can't remember where right now.

Despite your indepth reply, several key players, including Slayton and Kraft, have said that any number of men could have been picked for that mission. Even Armstrong said, 'My being selected is a matter of coincidence rather than plan.'

There were numerous prime, backup and support crew changes and shuffles between 66 and 68 that meant that it was a real lottery as to who flew on which mission. An indepth study of the crew changes during that time highlights just what a merry go round it was.

Finally, just because it was unplanned luck that Armstrong's crew got the first landing attempt, it doesn't diminish their dedication and achievements.

David C
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posted 09-11-2014 04:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by robsouth:
Even Armstrong said, 'My being selected is a matter of coincidence rather than plan.'... Finally, just because it was unplanned luck that Armstrong's crew got the first landing attempt
I think you're conflating two issues here. I have not said that Armstrong and his crew were somehow planned to make the first landing attempt from birth, joining the astronaut office, or in 1966. So, viewed from that angle coincidence is certainly a major component. There are reasons why taking this line publicly is very convenient, some of which I mentioned. As an explanation of how that crew wound up leaving Earth on 16th July 1969 it is facile. By going back far enough you can say the same about every crew ever formed.

The fact that the final result was not predictable at an early stage does not make it "unplanned luck." In the same way that "no plan survives first contact with the enemy," no air plan survives the application of real world engineering, schedule, weather, accidents, human factors, etc. Running the plan is a process, otherwise fantasy ball game enthusiasts would be employed rather than managers.

The fact remains that when a decision had to be made, it was and Armstrong's crew that was selected. That was not a coincidence, accident or lottery win, it was a decision. Like all good decisions it took into account certain objectives and many constraints. It was certainly possible to choose and train a completely different crew - but they didn't.

robsouth
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posted 09-11-2014 04:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Armstrong's crew was finalised in December 68. Only at this point was the first landing crew formed and in Slayton's words he simply stuck to the rotation, i.e. Apollo 8 backup to Apollo 11 prime and even this had a change to it when Collins replaced Haise. Collins' selection certainly was just a lottery, his path to that seat on Columbia was long and winding and helped by Slayton wanting to get a medically removed astronaut onto the next available mission.

The twists and turns of who was on which mission, who was available when a crew was being formed, who was removed from or swapped from a particular mission all led to the December 68 crew selection.

Armstrong's own crew selection to the Apollo 9 backup crew came after a years absence from being on a crew following his stint on the dead end role of Gemini 11 backup commander and following crew selections of nearly all his peers. He was chosen because there wasn't anyone else, apart from Lovell, available. Following on from his late selection to Gemini, one of the last from his group to be chosen, it does make you wonder how highly he was rated by Slayton.

He wasn't in the top four of Slayton's picks for the first landing commander so he did benefit from the lottery that was Apollo crew selections.

David C
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posted 09-11-2014 05:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by robsouth:
He was chosen because there wasn't anyone else, apart from Lovell, available.

Rob that isn't true, Slayton himself has stated that he was quite willing to break the crew rotation if required to make people available.

quote:
Following on from his late selection to Gemini, one of the last from his group to be chosen, it does make you wonder how highly he was rated by Slayton.

To think that this was just Slayton's decision is naive, do you really think that Mueller, Phillips, Gilruth, Low etc had no input? In what way does being trusted to command a mission with a junior astronaut get you ranked lower than flying earlier as a co-pilot? Are you suggesting that Slayton recommended a commander whom he didn't rate capable?

quote:
He wasn't in the top four of Slayton's picks for the first landing commander so he did benefit from the lottery that was Apollo crew selections.

At what stage? The selection was made in December 1968, and remained alterable for a period beyond that. People who had died or resigned at that stage are not relevant to the decision, no matter what views Slayton may previously have held. That is simple logic.

To feel lucky to have come through a process over a period of several years and finally have been selected is both understandable and rational. To call the process itself a lottery or pure luck is nonsense.

Ken Havekotte
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posted 09-11-2014 07:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With all due respect to the many postings here regarding Armstrong's selection to command Apollo 11, once again I would go back to an earlier post of mine, along with those from robsouth and David C, on this very same topic.

I do believe that because of Armstrong's later position as backup commander for Apollo 8 since 1968, by Slayton's crew rotation selection process, put Armstrong in line to fly Apollo 11 along with Aldrin and Collins. It was definitely, in my opinion, the main primary factor that enabled Armstrong to lead the first manned lunar landing mission in 1969.

It just so happened that Armstrong's crew (but earlier with Anders instead of Collins) were next in line after Apollos 8, 9, and 10 had been flown. As it turned out, mission 11 became the first to touch down on the moon with prior lunar module flight tests of 9 and 10 achieving their mission goals without any major problems or delays encountered.

The decision for Apollo 11's crew selection was made by Slayton in Dec. 1968, but not made public until Jan. 30, 1969.

There was also a meeting in March 1969, from my understanding, that included Slayton, Low, Gilruth, and Kraft that decided Armstrong (and not Aldrin) would become the first moonwalker. How that decision came about is another interesting story, indeed...

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-11-2014 07:34 PM     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 Ken Havekotte:
There was also a meeting in March 1969...
The only account of such a meeting is what Kraft wrote in "Flight." Slayton, Low and Gilruth made no mention of it in their public and personal writings.

Given other well-documented concerns about "Flight" (some since acknowledged by Kraft), one might want to consider the suggestion of that meeting accordingly.

Ken Havekotte
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posted 09-11-2014 10:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert, If I am not mistaken, there are other accounts of the March 1969 meeting with Slayton, Low, Gilruth and Kraft.

In Hansen's book, "First Man," the same meeting is referred to after Apollo 9's successful flight ending. It was described as an "informal meeting" at MSC/Houston with Low and Kraft more in favor of Armstrong becoming the first lunar explorer. If I recall, it was Kraft himself that provided the interviews and notes to Hansen.

I do recall reading another account of the incident in an Apollo 11-related feature story by veteran aerospace journalist Mary Bubb. Unfortunately, at the moment, I don't have the actual published account in front of me, but will try to locate it soon.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-11-2014 10:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As you note Ken, Hansen's source for the meeting was Kraft, so again we are left with only Kraft's account as to the meeting having happened.

robsouth
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Posts: 681
From: West Midlands, UK
Registered: Jun 2005

posted 09-12-2014 05:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
David you’re thinking of crews as they actually flew and not the many changes that occurred months and sometimes years in advance. Armstrong was chosen with See as the Gemini 5 backup crew, therefore his first selection was with a fellow Group 2 astronaut and meant that both he and See were the last of the Group 2 astronauts selected for a crew, albeit a backup role. His first role was not therefore as a commander entrusted with a mission with a junior astronaut.

As for recommending a commander that Slayton did not rate, he did choose See for Gemini 9, a selection that he later regretted, as noted in his excellent book, ‘Deke’.

David it is true that when Armstrong was chosen for the Apollo 9 backup commander’s role in 67 there wasn’t anyone else available apart from Lovell, unless he chose Cooper or dipped into the Group 3 astronauts or assigned an already assigned astronaut to two missions at the same time. Remember that it was the 67 crew assignments that saw Armstrong enter the crew rotation and put him in a position to get an early landing mission. The December 68 decision saw its roots back in 67, and before, and was possible because of the Apollo 8 and Apollo 9 mission swap.

Consider this when it comes to whether the first landing crew selection was a lottery. In 1967 would Armstrong have been chosen as the Apollo 9 backup commander if another Group 2 astronaut had been available? Would Collins have been on Apollo 11 if he hadn’t have been medically removed from Apollo 8 and would Aldrin have been on Apollo 11 if the prime crew of Gemini 9 hadn’t of been killed. Not until December 68 was the final crew selection for the first landing made, and this selection was of a direct result of the many twists and turns in the crew selections that preceded it.

Personally I can’t think of a better man to have been on the spot to make the first landing and we are lucky that Armstrong was the man chosen. He was cool and determined and a real hero.

David C
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Posts: 283
From: Pasadena
Registered: Apr 2012

posted 09-12-2014 06:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I disagree with your argument, but this is getting circular and tedious.

astro-nut
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Posts: 626
From: washington, Illinois USA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 11-01-2014 03:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for astro-nut   Click Here to Email astro-nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I purchased this book last month and am looking forward to reading it and comparing it with "First Man."


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