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Author Topic:   Stafford
Fra Mauro
Member

Posts: 1287
From: Bethpage, N.Y.
Registered: Jul 2002

posted 03-11-2005 06:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Has anyone read "We Have Capture?" It is a really good book with a few interesting observations. As usual, the book received little attention in the media.

Capcom1
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Posts: 55
From: Monroe, WA
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 03-11-2005 06:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Capcom1   Click Here to Email Capcom1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm reading it now, and am enjoying every page. I like the way he draws parallel paths between himself/Apollo and the Soviet program, leading up to ASTP.
The guy was known as kind of an SOB, (and I'd probably rather hang out with Conrad and Bean than Stafford and Cernan, team-wise), but it puts a real person into perspective.

As a side note, I've noticed that practically everyone was the first to think of the LM lifeboat mode during 13......

Sy Liebergot
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Posts: 499
From: Pearland, Texas USA
Registered: May 2003

posted 03-11-2005 07:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Sy Liebergot   Click Here to Email Sy Liebergot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
<<As a side note, I've noticed that practically everyone was the first to think of the LM lifeboat mode during 13......>>
Please take this in the best way—I’m only trying keep history correct, for which this forum seems to stand: It’s hardly a “first” for which one would want to take credit, what with all the heroics that took place during the all the events of Apollo 13. I haven’t read Tom Stafford’s book--working closely with him especially during ASTP was quite enough—does he indeed take credit for that particular “first?” You may be interested to read page 143 of my autobio, where at 46 minutes into the crisis, I told Kranz that “We’d better think about getting’ in the LM,” as transcribed from my EECOM console intercom audio tapes (CD included with the book). Also, please note that on page 148 I briefly tell of the work done on developing LM Lifeboat procedures that began as far back as early as Apollo 10 simulations.
Respectfully,
Sy Liebergot
"Apollo EECOM: Journey Of A Lifetime" www.apolloeecom.com

[This message has been edited by Sy Liebergot (edited March 11, 2005).]

Fra Mauro
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Posts: 1287
From: Bethpage, N.Y.
Registered: Jul 2002

posted 03-11-2005 01:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I get this impression that Stafford could be a tough customer to deal with. I liked his account of the Gemini 9 accident and the Gemini ejection seat use in pure oxygen.

randy
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Posts: 1719
From: West Jordan, Utah USA
Registered: Dec 1999

posted 03-11-2005 05:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for randy   Click Here to Email randy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sy, I had heard that the LM 'lifeboat' concept was discussed in the early 1960's, when the design for the Apollo spacecraft was finalized. Is that true?

Sy Liebergot
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Posts: 499
From: Pearland, Texas USA
Registered: May 2003

posted 03-11-2005 05:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Sy Liebergot   Click Here to Email Sy Liebergot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by randy:
Sy, I had heard that the LM 'lifeboat' concept was discussed in the early 1960's, when the design for the Apollo spacecraft was finalized. Is that true?

Randy,
I am told that the 'what if' was discussed re the Apollo 8 mission, but there no LM or alternate hardware. That made the A-8 mission all the more gutsy. However, real crew procedures did not exist until the Apollo 10 time frame prompted by an eerily similar situation during aan A-10 training sim, which I mention on pg 148 of my book.
Sy Liebergot
"Apollo EECOM: Journey Of A Lifetime" www.apolloeecom.com

SRB
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Posts: 258
From:
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 03-11-2005 09:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SRB   Click Here to Email SRB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A good summary of the history of the Lifeboat idea is in Apollo, by Charles Murphy and Catherine Bly Cox. The discussion is on pages 413-415 of the new paperback edition. They trace the general idea back to 1961. The White (Flight) Team had gotten relevant lifeboat experience from the Apollo 9 mission. During one simulation they had to use the LM as a lifeboat. Furthermore, during the actual Apollo 9 mission the White Team helped conduct tests using the LM DPS with the CM attached to test the ability of the LM to control both spacecraft. But, one one ever tried a simulation or developed procedues with the CM completely dead. No matter how many times I read about it, I am still amazed how they returned safely home.

Steve

Sy Liebergot
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Posts: 499
From: Pearland, Texas USA
Registered: May 2003

posted 03-12-2005 08:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Sy Liebergot   Click Here to Email Sy Liebergot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am aware that there is a disagreement between a couple of other books as to when the LM Lifeboat procedures were initiated . My information about the Apollo 10 sim that I wrote about came directly from Jim Hannigan, the LM Systems branch chief (the LM Flight Controllers)who assigned the effort to develop the procedures after the crew was "lost" during that sim. I did verify this with one of my LM Flight Controller friends, Bob Legler, who worked that sim. However, this won't be the first time a recollection was perhaps faulty, including my own. More importantly, we Flight Controllers always thought ahead,learned from mistakes and failures--always with mission success and primarily, the safety of the crew in mind. This was exemplified during the Apollo 13 mission, of which the 35th anniversay is forthcoming, next month.
Respectfully,
Sy Liebergot
"Apollo EECOM: Journey Of A Lifetime" www.apolloeecom.com

[This message has been edited by Sy Liebergot (edited March 12, 2005).]

R.Glueck
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Posts: 115
From: Winterport, Maine, USA
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 03-12-2005 09:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for R.Glueck   Click Here to Email R.Glueck     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Stafford enjoyed the confidence of the astronaut office, meaning Slayton and Shepard. The book is very good and is well written by the same intelligent and cautious authour of "Deke!". Mike Cassutt. One thing I discovered is Stafford's inability to take responsibility for the failure of his marriage. He consistantly shoves the blame onto Faye Stafford, almost irrationally. Stafford likes things to work well for him, and where he is involved in the mission, he is surrounded by others of a similar mind, and things work. My personal opinion is that like others of his profession and time, he neglected those who should have been foremost in his consideration.

Captain Apollo
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Posts: 248
From: UK
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 03-13-2005 02:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Captain Apollo   Click Here to Email Captain Apollo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Muddled - I thought Stafford commanded Apollo 10, so seems hardly a shock he might claim knowledge in the lifeboat procedures?

Duke Of URL
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Posts: 1316
From: Syracuse, NY
Registered: Jan 2005

posted 03-14-2005 03:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Duke Of URL   Click Here to Email Duke Of URL     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Stafford was no doubt a great pilot BUT BUT BUT he was involved in 2 near-fatal mishaps based on human failure, quite possibly his own: the A10 episode (where either he or Cernan mistakenly re-set a guidance switch) and ASTP where the Apollo CM filled with toxic gases during splashdown. What an embarrassing thing it would have been for the US to end that mission with three dead astronauts. As Commander, responsibility for both mishaps lay with him.

Did he ever own up to these? And why was Carpenter burdened with the "screwup" tag for a 250-mile overshoot on a craft with a bum system and Stafford not after involving himself in two near-fatal incidents in half his flights?

Maybe some NASA insider from the time can explain, but frankly I'm puzzled....and I admire Stafford!

STEVE SMITH
unregistered
posted 03-14-2005 04:25 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Duke, I don't have it in front of me, but another incident is noted by Leonov in "Two Sides of the Moon".
This may have been more of a Slayton goof, but it was also still Stafford's crew. Also makes you wonder if Slayton was as well prepared as he should have been after all the years off. As memory serves me, Deke hit the wrong switch, and/or too long, and almost caused Apollo to flex and possibly break away from the Soyuz and Adapter-a major depressurization disaster. I believe this was as Apollo was making final separation from Soyuz.
You don't hear much about this either. In fact in the above book, it is noted that Scott thanked Leonov and the Russians for not publicizing this goof.
I have major respect for all the parties and their superman abilities. Mistakes happen to all of us, even supermen, and they did recover and react quickly. I guess like you Duke I'm taken by how somethings are emphasized, and maybe distorted, and some aren't. Ah, the human conditon we are strapped with!

Fra Mauro
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Posts: 1287
From: Bethpage, N.Y.
Registered: Jul 2002

posted 03-15-2005 06:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was never thrilled about Apollo-Soyuz to begin with. Just a publicity stunt. I'm not against working with the Russians at all, I just think that that Apollo should have been used on another Skylab mission.

carmelo
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Posts: 937
From: Messina, Sicilia, Italia
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 03-15-2005 09:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for carmelo   Click Here to Email carmelo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There were enough Apollo and Saturn 1B for two or three Skylab expedition,beyond ASTP.

BLACKARROW
unregistered
posted 03-15-2005 05:31 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fra Mauro,
But for the fact that I was at KSC for the launch of the ASTP Saturn-Apollo, I would probably have agreed with you. But, having had the privilege of watching the build-up to the mission in Cocoa Beach, travelling to KSC for the launch, being blown away by the amazing spectacle, and following most of the rest of the mission at Cocoa Beach, I am a devoted fan of the mission. Choose your weapon, sir! Pistols at dawn?

Capcom1
Member

Posts: 55
From: Monroe, WA
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 03-17-2005 11:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Capcom1   Click Here to Email Capcom1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow!
I just thought I was making an innocent comment.. and didn't check back on this thread until now.
Sy, you are one of my heros, and all you guys in The Trench deserve the highest kudos..
Let me quote briefly from the book, if I may.. pg. 145, We Have Capture:

"Driving over to MSC (after the explosion) I found the flight control team still thinking of the situation as an instrumentation problem or an oxygen leak. I saw the oxygen readings dropping, and said 'We need to get them into the LM right away!' When that didn't seem to sink in, I added: 'This thing is going to shut down. You need to get that lunar module powered up and get its platform aligned!"


Far be it from me, a mere fan, to speculate on whether Stafford actually said "it" first, but it's the attitude I really have a problem with: "When that didn't seem to sink in"?! As if you guys were all sitting there wondering what "all them funny little numbers mean".

Again, you guys are the real geniuses- but it's that Holier Than Thou stuff that rubs me the wrong way. It's also probably part of how they got those flight assignments in the first place...

Can't wait to read your book, Sy!
Best,
Eric

Sy Liebergot
Member

Posts: 499
From: Pearland, Texas USA
Registered: May 2003

posted 03-17-2005 01:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Sy Liebergot   Click Here to Email Sy Liebergot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the flowers. Eric. You quote from Stafford's book:
"Driving over to MSC (after the explosion) I found the flight control team still thinking of the situation as an instrumentation problem or an oxygen leak. I saw the oxygen readings dropping, and said 'We need to get them into the LM right away!' When that didn't seem to sink in, I added: 'This thing is going to shut down. You need to get that lunar module powered up and get its platform aligned!"

Dunno who he told, but let's not bash T.P. Stafford--he was a hero, despite some human faults.
Sy


Capcom1
Member

Posts: 55
From: Monroe, WA
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 03-17-2005 03:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Capcom1   Click Here to Email Capcom1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You're right, Sy,
All those guys were heros, but I just get irked when the guy driving acts like he designed and built the car by himself...
Stafford is awesome, and the book does bring a more human perspective to a guy who seems a little... distant?
Besides, I identify more with controller-types anyway...

Fra Mauro
Member

Posts: 1287
From: Bethpage, N.Y.
Registered: Jul 2002

posted 03-21-2005 10:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've finished Stafford's book--very good and it adds to our knowledge of space exploration. I was very interested in his post-ASTP work for NASA and the various committees he served on.
This book reads very much like a history book and there is little reelation of the feelings Stafford had during his flights, unlike Gene Cernan's book. He writes like a military test pilot. Nothing wrong with that, just the "romanticism" of spaceflight
doesn't come across here.

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