Author Topic: Challenger STS-7 – Sally’s Ride  (Read 170153 times)

Offline Ares67

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Re: Challenger STS-7 – Sally’s Ride
« Reply #20 on: 09/27/2014 10:59 PM »
RED AND BLUE

Despite the hard work, the newcomers bonded exceptionally well; so well, in fact, that two astronaut marriages resulted from Group Eight. One was between Ride and Steve Hawley, another between Hoot Gibson and Rhea Seddon. Years later, Gibson, who flew Challenger in February 1984, the group was so large that it had to be split into two halves, both of which frequently entered into friendly competition through ‘red’ and ‘blue’ football matches. They organized happy hours on Friday nights, Christmas parties and New Year celebrations; turning, said Gibson, into an extended family as much as a spacefaring flight squadron.

To highlight the distinction between themselves and the grizzled veteran astronauts already in Houston since the 1960s, they gave themselves the nickname “Thirty-Five New Guys,” designing TNFG patches and T-shirts to foster closer camaraderie. Mike Mullane, of course, has remarked that military pilots also knew of an obscene double entendre with the same acronym.

“A sign of our closeness, we now had our class name,” he said. “There was no official requirement that a new class of astronauts name themselves. It just happened. For us, TNFG stuck. In polite company it translated to Thirty-Five New Guys. Not very creative, it would seem. However, it was actually a twist on an obscene military term. In every military unit a new person was a FNG, a F***ing New Guy. You remained a FNG until someone newer showed up, and then they became the FNG. While the public knew us as the Thirty-Five New Guys, we knew ourselves as The F***ing New Guys.”

Judy Resnik came up with the design for the group’s T-shirt: a forward-facing view of the orbiter, literally overflowing with 35 astronauts crammed, sardine-like, into every available orifice, and proudly displaying the shuttle’s “We Deliver” motto that would later become world famous.

(T.A. Heppenheimer, “Development of the Space Shuttle 1972-1981, Volume Two,” Smithsonian Institution Press, 2002; Ben Evans, “Space Shuttle Challenger – Ten Journeys into the Unknown,” Springer/Praxis 2007; Mike Mullane, “Riding Rockets,” Scribner 2006; Michael Cassutt, “Who’s Who in Space – The International Space Station Edition,” Macmillan 1999; David Hitt/Heather R. Smith, “Bold They Rise,” University of Nebraska Press 2014; Jack Riley, JSC NASA News Release No. 76-44, July 8, 1976; The New York Times, June 19, 1983;  Space Flight News 28, Apr. 28, 1988 – edited)

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Re: Challenger STS-7 – Sally’s Ride
« Reply #21 on: 09/27/2014 11:05 PM »
NASA Going Overboard

“Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.”


- Bob Dylan, “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” Columbia Records 1964


“The large crews totally overwhelmed the hygienic facilities aboard the shuttle. As recently as January 1993 they were still testing a new $23 million toilet.”

- Donald K. “Deke” Slayton, astronaut and NASA manager (1924-1993)


(By Donald K. Slayton and Michael Cassutt)


THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’

The transfer of the seven former MOL pilots in August 1966 – Maj. Karol J. Bobko, USAF; Lieut. Cmdr. Robert L. Crippen, USN; Maj. Charles G. Fullerton, USAF; Maj. Henry W. Hartsfield Jr., USAF; Maj. Robert F. Overmyer, USMC; Maj. Donald H. Peterson, USAF; Lieut. Cmdr. Richard H. Truly, USN – was the last addition to the astronaut team for nearly nine years. By 1971 many scientist astronauts selected in 1965 and 1967 had expressed disappointment at not receiving flight assignments. From the 1965 group only one (Schmitt) would get to the Moon while three others (Garriott, Gibson, and Kerwin) would fly on Skylab. The 1967 group had it even worse, having been warned by director of flight crew operations Slayton on their first day at NASA that their chances of flying were slim. Out of the “Excess Eleven,” seven would eventually fly on the shuttle beginning fifteen years after selection.

A further sign of the diminished power of the astronaut office came in February 1974, with the splashdown of the last manned Skylab mission. Christopher C. Kraft, the director (since Gilruth’s retirement in 1972) of the Johnson Space Center, instituted a reorganization which moved the flight crew operations directorate – that included the astronaut office – under the flight operations directorate, headed by Kenneth Kleinknecht.

At that time, the only scheduled manned American mission was Apollo-Soyuz. Donald K. Slayton had resigned as Director of Flight Crew Operations to train as an ASTP crewmember. Under Kleinknecht, Rear Admiral Alan Shepard became director of flight control with John Young as chief of the astronaut office. Of 37 active astronauts, 26 were pilots assigned to Space Shuttle development (16) or ASTP (10). Of the pilots, Fred Haise became technical assistant to the shuttle orbiter project manager, Charlie Duke became technical assistant to the acting manager of shuttle systems integration, and Gene Cernan became special assistant to the manager for ASTP.

Scientist astronaut Harrison Schmitt became chief of science and applications within the astronaut office, with Owen Garriott as his deputy. Six other scientist astronauts were assigned (Robert Parker, Bill Lenoir, Joe Allen, Ed Gibson, Tony England, Karl Henize). Joseph Kerwin became chief of life sciences within the astronaut office, with two other scientist astronauts (Story Musgrave and Bill Thornton).

Within a year Kleinknecht had been succeeded by George W.S. Abbey, who remained head of the flight then flight crew operations, directorate until 1987. By late 1977, with the Space Shuttle still in development and initial flights still two or more years in the future, the number of active NASA astronauts had dropped to 27, and most of them were well into their forties. John Young was then chief astronaut, with Alan Bean as his deputy. Branches within the astronaut office were ASTP, shuttle development, and Approach and Landing Tests (ALT).

Even though by the summer of 1979 the shuttle program was encountering technical and financial difficulties that postponed the first flight until late 1980, and eventually to April 1981, NASA realized that following the initial series of two-man test flights shuttle crew size could increase to six or seven astronauts per mission. With an expected launch rate of ten to twelve missions per year, and with veteran astronauts selected in the 1960s expected to leave the program after completing one or two early shuttle flights, combined with the need to place astronauts in various support roles such as KSC launch support (called Cape Crusaders or C-Squares), assisting flight crews during pre-launch and landing activities; CapCom, providing the voice link between the orbiter and mission control; payload support; and Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory, where “crews” of astronauts worked three 8-hour shifts debugging vital shuttle computer software, sixty astronauts would simply not be enough.

The following are “Original Seven” astronaut and NASA manager Donald K. Slayton’s reflections and opinions on the space agency’s recruitment efforts at the start of the shuttle era:


A SMALLER POOL

“NASA took on a lot of people it shouldn’t have. You don’t pick new fellas until you need to fly.”

- John Young, astronaut and head of the astronaut office, 1975


The last group of new astronauts came to NASA in August 1969; those were the Manned Orbiting Laboratory pilots we were essentially forced to take. The last selection had been two years prior to that, for the second group of scientist astronauts. None of these guys had flown in space, and as the ALT program turned into the OFT program, it didn’t look as though any of them would soon.

There were still about twenty-seven people in the astronaut office in 1977, most of them assigned to various shuttle development duties. Somebody at NASA figured it was time to start thinking about recruiting the next generation, even though Chris Kraft was saying that the current bunch was more than adequate to support ALT, OFT, and the first few operational shuttle flights. That is, we didn’t anticipate the need for new astronauts until 1982.

It took about two years to get somebody through the initial phase of training and a technical or support assignment. Back that up from 1982 and you’d have 1980 as the earliest date you needed new people reporting. Given the nature of the shuttle, the new people you would need would have to be test pilots with experience in high-performance aircraft.

Then there was the issue of non-pilot astronauts. The shuttle was designed to carry crews of more than two, and it was quite true that these other people didn’t need to be pilots at all, though familiarity with aircraft operations would make their transition easier. Here’s where NASA really went overboard; they started a massive recruitment campaign designed to bring women and minorities into the program.

That was fine – I had nothing against women and minority candidates becoming astronauts. But it meant having to deal with over a thousand applications; and how do you do that fairly? They asked me how I would go about it, and I said I could think of quite a few places where qualified people could be found: the military test pilot schools, which were now accepting flight engineers, and flight test centers, NASA centers themselves, certain contractors. My approach would have been to hire from those places, since you’d have a smaller, preselected pool.

That was about the last I had to do with the process. It went ahead without me, and a group of thirty-five pilots and mission specialists was announced in January 1978. There was still some last-minute political Incorrect, because the original selection had twenty pilots and fifteen mission specialists. Oops – only one woman made the cut, so five pilots were dropped from the list (John Blaha, Roy Bridges, Ron Grabe, Bryan O’Connor, Richard Richards; they got selected a couple of years later) and replaced with five women mission specialists. They were a good bunch and several of them did support work on the OFT program – Loren Shriver, Dick Scobee, Hoot Gibson. But as it was, none of the folks from this group got into space until 1983.

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Re: Challenger STS-7 – Sally’s Ride
« Reply #22 on: 09/27/2014 11:15 PM »
ANOTHER PROPOPSAL

At one point I wound up in some discussion about crew scheduling for the operational missions, especially since the manifest called for as many as fifty-two flights in one year: one per week. The feeling around JSC and headquarters was that a lot of astronauts would be needed in addition to the thirty-five new guys (which is what the 1978 group named themselves).

My proposal, which was strictly back of the envelope, called for six two-man crews, no more, who would fly six or seven missions a year, one every couple of months, as a team. A crew might fly a satellite deployment mission one time and a Spacelab mission the next, the same way an airline crew would fly Atlanta to Newark, then switch to Newark to Los Angeles. If we were truly going to have an operational system – a cross between an airline and a military transport squadron – then we had to treat it like that.

Obviously, you’d have a couple of extra guys – backups, if you will – and eventually you’d replace people. But you didn’t need a hundred astronauts: for my plan, for fifty flights a year, you needed less than twenty.

There was the matter of mission specialists and payload specialists. I thought the mission specialists – one per crew – could fly a minimum of once per year, maybe twice. Maybe more: if you had three satellites that were to be deployed with the Inertial Upper Stage, for example, why not fly the same Mission Specialist three times? So you might have another twenty or so mission specialists in addition to the pilots. Payload Specialists would come and go as needed.

My proposed shuttle astronaut office would have had more like fifty people – each one flying at least once a year, some as many as six or seven times. The current office has about a hundred, flying a maximum of eight missions a year. And it’s rare that anyone flies once per year.

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Re: Challenger STS-7 – Sally’s Ride
« Reply #23 on: 09/27/2014 11:22 PM »
LOADING UP ON PEOPLE

What happened was the astronaut office loaded up on people in 1978-80, while the flight rate kept getting cut and flights were delayed. Once crews of more than two started flying in 1982, somebody suggested or realized that having an extra pair of hands on the flight deck was a great idea. Another rationale was that half of the shuttle astronauts were sick during their first couple of days in orbit, so the more people you had in the vehicle, the more likely you were to have a couple of people who could function. Of course, you could wind up with five, six or seven people who were all sick, too.

Now it’s just as likely that a shuttle crew will have six or even seven astronauts. This makes sense for a Spacelab mission – if you forget that two of the seats were supposed to go to Spacelab payload specialists – but I don’t know what all these people are doing in a five-day satellite deployment. I think it’s a case of adapting the crew size to the size of the astronaut office, rather than having the number of astronauts the missions require.

(Donald K. Slayton/Michael Cassutt, “Deke! – U.S. Manned Space from Mercury to the Shuttle,” Forge 1994; Michael Cassutt, “Who’s Who in Space – The International Space Station Edition,” Macmillan 1999 – edited)

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Re: Challenger STS-7 – Sally’s Ride
« Reply #24 on: 09/27/2014 11:27 PM »
Sisters Are Joining the Brotherhood

“In the 1960s the space program was really dominated by men – not just the astronauts, but all the engineers associated with it. If you see some of the old clips of Mission Control you will not see a woman in those pictures. If you see old clips of any meeting where a decision was made, there really are very few or no women in those pictures. And that just doesn’t represent society, it doesn’t represent America. I think it’s very important, if the space program is going to represent America, it’s got to represent all the people in America. And that means having men and women, minorities all represented in the appropriate proportions in order to represent the capabilities of the country.”

- Sally Ride, U.S. First Lady in orbit

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Re: Challenger STS-7 – Sally’s Ride
« Reply #25 on: 09/27/2014 11:30 PM »
THERE IS NO SAG IN ZERO G

“It will take the most advanced rocket engines in the world to do it, and some minor modifications to the onboard water closet, but – 22 years, 36 manned missions and 57 astronauts after the first Mercury capsule splashed into the Atlantic – a woman will wear the Stars and Stripes into space,” Newsweek summed it all up. “Space itself is not expected to be changed much by the event.”

“Women have been in space before, although they have hardly left their mark on it. The first time was almost exactly twenty years ago, in the early days of what has usually been called manned spaceflight, and the woman was a 26-year-old textile mill worker and amateur skydiver named Valentina Tereshkova, who was hustled aboard a rocket shortly before the Soviet Union was to serve as host to the World Congress of Women. The event was a notable propaganda coup, although reports since then have held that poor Tereshkova was sick for most of the three-day mission.”

“Last August (1982), in plenty of time to beat Ride’s timetable, the Soviets launched their second woman cosmonaut, a 34-year-old test pilot and parachute ace named Svetlana Savitskaya. But when her Soyuz T-7 spaceship docked with the orbiting Salyut 7 space station, one of the two cosmonauts manning the Salyut joked that he had an apron all ready for her.”

Sally Ride hasn’t encountered any such problems at NASA, People magazine reported. “But her mother says she’s seen plenty of male chauvinism aimed her daughter’s way. ‘Johnny Carson made what he considered to be a joke,’ Joyce Ride recalls, ‘that the shuttle launch was being postponed until Sally Ride could find the purse to match her shoes. There are a lot of people waiting for her to fail.’

“No other astronaut was ever asked questions like these,” the pre-flight press conference (“an hour of interrogation that is by turns intelligent, inane and almost insulting”) is described by Michael Ryan in his A Ride in Space article for People magazine: “’Will the flight affect your reproductive organs?’ The answer, delivered with some asperity: ‘There’s no evidence of that.’… ‘Will you become a mother?’ First an attempt at evasion, then a firm smile: ‘You notice I’m not answering.’ …Ride remains calm, unrattled and as laconic as the lean, tough fighter jockeys who surround her. ‘It may be too bad that our society isn’t further along and that this is such a big deal,’ she reflects, ‘that society isn't to the point yet where the country could just send up a woman astronaut and nobody would think twice about it.’"

Adds the Newsweek article Sally Ride: Ready for Lift-off, “With one voice, the mighty organs of the press have demanded to know if she plans to wear a bra in outer space. ‘There is no sag in zero G,’ she explains. A reporter from Time magazine – evidently just reassigned to this country from many years in the Albanian bureau – wanted to know if she ‘weeps’ when she has a problem. ‘Why doesn’t someone ask Rick those questions?’ she responded, with a smile. On NBC’s Today show, Jane Pauley wondered whether Ride feels she will be watched more closely than the other astronauts because she’s a woman. Ride handed the question right back to Pauley: ‘It seems to me I ought to be asking you that question,’ she said.”

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Re: Challenger STS-7 – Sally’s Ride
« Reply #26 on: 09/27/2014 11:35 PM »
THE “RIDE” STUFF

”A career in flying was like climbing one of those ancient Babylonian pyramids made up of a dizzy progression of steps and ledges… The idea was to prove at every foot of the way that you were one of the elected and anointed ones who had the right stuff and could move higher and higher and even – ultimately, God willing, one day – that you might be able to join that special few at the very top, the very Brotherhood of the Right Stuff itself.”

- Tom Wolfe, “The Right Stuff,” Farrar-Straus-Giroux 1979

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Re: Challenger STS-7 – Sally’s Ride
« Reply #27 on: 09/27/2014 11:46 PM »
“Brotherhood indeed!” exclaims Time magazine. “True, those male jet jockeys opened the space age with daredevil rides in rinky-dink tin capsules and kangaroo hops across the lunar wasteland. But move over, buddy. The women are coming, breaching that old space boys' club and bursting into what Ms. magazine sardonically calls NASA's world of ‘flaming, phallic rockets.’"

“It is a milestone for women surely, even though there is no reason to believe that being allowed into space will open the doors of, say, New York’s Century Club for them,” Newsweek puts it into perspective. “In the long view, Ride’s mission may someday take on a symbolic significance, like the arrival of the first honest woman in Nome. It may also, perhaps, come to signify the ascendancy of the mission specialist over the pilot, the astronauts who have business in space over the knights of the wild black yonder... The close-knit brotherhood of test pilots and fighter pilots who made up the original astronaut corps is slowly being diluted by those to whom having the Right Stuff means being able to solve quadratic equations in their heads.”

“At first, some old hands in the brotherhood, like Moonwalker Al Bean, who instructed the new recruits, doubted that women could tackle such "male things" as spacecraft and computers,” explains Time magazine. “But as Ride and the other women demonstrated their mettle—actually she had spent many hours in graduate school at computer terminals—Bean had a change of heart. The women, he finally agreed, performed as well as the men. In 1980, encouraged by the female experience, NASA added two more women to the astronaut corps.

People magazine describes the first American woman space pioneer “the living proof that the Brotherhood of the Right Stuff is now admitting sisters… The boys in Sally’s childhood chose her for their teams – and the men in her career have followed suit. ‘I was offered the opportunity to say who I thought ought to be on the flight,’ says Mission Commander Crippen. ‘I submitted a list of names and all of my crew consists of those names.’

“Crippen, 45, is no ardent feminist. A Navy Captain, he bridles at the thought of women in combat. The words gals and ladies come more easily to his tongue than women. Still, he never thought twice about choosing Sally Ride for his crew. His reasons were crisply professional: Ride and John Fabian helped design the mechanical arm that will be used in the mission’s major tasks; the pair are considered NASA’s most skilled operators of the delicate mechanism. ‘I wanted people who knew the arm well,’ says Crippen. ‘Sally and John were experts. I wanted a competent engineer who was cool under stress. Sally had demonstrated that talent. Sally also has a pleasing personality that will fit with the group.’

“After a year of working with her the four hardened military men who will be with her in space have started to sound like Alan Alda. ‘I think women ought to be able to do whatever they wanted to do,’ says her fellow Mission Specialist, the taciturn Air Force Colonel John Fabian. Physician Norm Thagard talks enthusiastically of the day when ‘the role of females in the population will change,’ and NASA will be able to recruit more women. Says pilot Rick Hauck, ‘I have never seen an instance of what you might call sexist attitudes in our office.’ Even Bob Crippen… is cleaning up his linguistic act. ‘Because of the perception among other people,’ he admits, ‘I find it’s better if I refer to Sally as a woman – even though I still think she’s a lady.’

According to Time magazine, “Like her sister astronauts, Ride has mostly been treated like one of the guys. Says she: ‘Crip won't even open a door for me anymore.’"


SOME SENSIBLE ACCOMODATIONS

“Though no quarter was given in the training, some sensible accommodation was made to cope with the differences between the sexes. To adapt to shorter limbs (Ride is 5 ft. 5 in.), shuttle seats were built so that they could slide like those in a car. Optional grooming aids were added to the personal kits of the astronauts (though Ride pointedly has not said whether she will wear lipstick or powder for the inevitable orbital TV shows). Included as well are tampons, linked together lest one drift off when the box is opened. The shuttle's single privy was already designed with women in mind. Instead of the flexible hose used by the male-only crews of the old Gemini and Apollo spacecraft, NASA provided a wide cuplike attachment that fits over the crotch. A curtain is being added to give Ride some privacy, though she did not ask for it. Notes Astronaut Mary Cleave, an environmental engineer: ‘Guys don't like to perform vital functions in front of everybody either.’"

“NASA doctors do not expect any special medical problems with Ride or any other woman in space. Says Dr. Sam Poole, the Johnson Space Center's medical chief: ‘I don't think women will respond any differently from men.’ Though anecdotal evidence suggests that women are more susceptible to motion sickness, none of the spinning tests conducted by NASA has supported the theory. Nor are the space agency's doctors particularly worried about the reportedly greater inclination of women toward the bends. Doctors say that any problems can be easily averted by longer prebreathing sessions before and after a spacewalk.”


ALL THAT IS NOW CHAUVINIST HISTORY

’I did not come to NASA to make history,’ Ride told Newsweek’s Pamela Abramson. ‘It’s important to me that people don’t think I was picked for the flight because I am a woman and it’s time for NASA to send one.’Time magazine says, “NASA, to be sure, is keeping its bureaucratic composure; there has been no flamboyant talk about one giant step for womankind. The fact that Sally Ride will be drifting in the cosmos, the first American woman in space, gets only the barest mention in the press handout for the upcoming flight of the Challenger.”

“Still, whether she likes it or not, her flight has gripped the public fancy,” says Time. “Nothing, it seems, symbolizes the progress of American women in the past decade quite so much as the vision of a female astronaut climbing toward the stars. Sally's ride – the word play is irresistible” (Which might also explain the title of this thread…) “– is, however, only one sign of a major change in what can no longer properly be called the U.S. manned space program. In fact, the elite circle has all but become a melting pot. Among its 78 members, there are now four blacks, two Jews and one naturalized American who happens to be part Chinese. Two Europeans, a German and a Dutchman, are training for a shuttle flight later this year. But NASA seems to feel no particular guilt about its past neglect.”
 
“Explains Christopher Kraft, former director of the Johnson Space Center: ‘There were no women in the beginning because they didn't meet the qualifications. The men were all test pilots. They were used to life-and-death situations and put their lives on the line every day.’ In other words, the space agency did not believe it could find female pilots good enough to handle the challenge of space flight.”

“All that is now chauvinist history,” Time continues. “Moreover, much of the daredevil aspect has gone out of space travel. No longer are astronauts subjected to bone-crunching lift-offs or breathtaking splash-downs into the Pacific. The shuttle has made the going easy. NASA is even talking of inviting ordinary folk along for rides. Marvels Kraft: ‘They're flying in shirtsleeves.’ Along with the improving conditions has come a change of emphasis. The object is not simply getting into orbit but actually working there. As a result, says veteran Director of Flight Operations George Abbey, "the pilot's job is no longer the prime job." Increasingly, the responsibilities of a mission – and indeed the entire shuttle program – will fall upon a new breed of astronauts called mission specialists.”
 
Says Michael Ryan, “When she takes off for space, Sally Ride may be the only American who isn’t affected in one way or another by the fact that she is demolishing a powerful gender barrier. ‘I honestly don’t have time to think about it,’ she says. She may enter the history books, and she may be adopted as a symbol or a role model, or a hero or a villain, by the feminists and chauvinists of the world, but Ride insists that she will still see herself only one way – as an astronaut. ‘I came into this because I wanted to fly in space,’ she says. ‘My intention after the flight is to come back to the astronaut office and get back in line an try and fly again. I’d like to do it as many times as NASA will let me.’

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Re: Challenger STS-7 – Sally’s Ride
« Reply #28 on: 09/27/2014 11:51 PM »
THE ASTRONAUT’S… HUSBAND

“NASA has already scheduled its second woman crewmember, Judith A. Resnik, to fly on the twelfth shuttle mission in March 1984, when one of her crewmates will be Ride’s husband, astronaut Steven A. Hawley,” announced Newsweek. On July 24, 1982, they “were quietly married, making them the first astronauts to do so,” according to The New York Times’ William J. Broad. Newsweek magazine explains, “Only the immediate families were present. The bride wore Levi’s and a rugby shirt.”

People magazine adds, “She flew her own plane to the wedding at his parents’ home in Kansas… Ride and Hawley avoid appearing together in public. They bar the press from their home in a suburban development near NASA.” And yet, Broad describes, “Their house outside the Johnson Space Center in Houston is laced with mementos of the space age, including NASA posters, shuttle dishware, and a large photograph of astronauts on the moon in the master bedroom.”

“Hawley is a lanky, red-haired, outgoing astronomer/astronaut who has good-naturedly accepted being eclipsed by his wife,” the Newsweek article explains. “Ride has said that she doesn’t plan to have children… Well, if NASA had wanted to put a mother in orbit, there were plenty to choose from, even among the astronaut corps; but it wanted Sally Ride, no surprise to those who know her. She has taken her own particular path to the cockpit of the Space Shuttle, as she has all through her life. When the mighty engines blast her into the Florida sky, all she will be doing is what she’s always done, which is leaving the rest of us behind.”

(Newsweek, June 13, 1983; Time, June 13, 1983; People magazine, Vol. 19, No. 24, June 20, 1983; The New York Times, June 19, 1983 – edited)

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Re: Challenger STS-7 – Sally’s Ride
« Reply #29 on: 09/28/2014 12:01 AM »
Like Cat and Dog

“A wife should stay at home for the most part, not at work and not in spaceflight. I admit that women have lots of features that are required for a cosmonaut. At the same time, it’s more appropriate for a man to fly in outer space. Ideally, a wife should be working for three of four hours a day, not more. And the rest should be dedicated to family issues. Unfortunately, it does not work this way when it comes to my family.”

- Valery Ryumin, cosmonaut and Russian head of the Shuttle-Mir program, since 1985 married to cosmonaut colleague and Duma deputy Yelena Kondakova


"We've got an apron ready for you, Sveta."

- Valentin Lebedev, welcoming female cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya aboard the Salyut 7 space station… However, the world’s second woman in space is said to have replied firmly that housekeeping duties were the responsibility of the host cosmonauts.


(By Bert Vis)


THIS IS A MAN’S WORLD

After the Soviet Union had stunned the world with Valentina Tereshkova’s flight, to anyone willing to listen it was stated that it was proven that Soviet women were “Truly equal” and could perform every task as good as men, including spaceflight. But while at a steady pace men were launched into orbit, women remained on the ground. Over the years it would emerge that the official statement had meant nothing more than additional propaganda. It seemed that Korolev had been so disappointed with Tereshkova’s performance during her mission that he had said as long as he was alive no more women would fly in space, a view held by many of his successors and cosmonaut commanders.

For years to come there would be no women involved in the Soviet space program. But in 1978, NASA selected its first group of Space Shuttle astronauts which included six women. This meant that within a few years, the U.S. too would have its first female crew members and the Soviets decided to beat them to it. In 1980, a total of ten women were selected to undergo cosmonaut training. Each member of the group was a specialist in her field and as such could do useful work once they would arrive in orbit.

As was common practice at the time, nothing was made public, and the women started their two-year basic cosmonaut training program. The training went on without the media attention that their American counterparts had encountered two years earlier and without those even knowing of their existence. But that was soon to change.

On April 19, 1982, Sally Ride was assigned as Mission Specialist for STS-7, which would make her the first American woman to fly in space. The Soviets decided that before Ride would go up a second Russian would have to fly. In an unprecedented moment of openness, this was even announced in advance, although it was not revealed that Svetlana Savitskaya, a test pilot from the Yakovlev aircraft factory, was the one chosen to conduct the flight, nor were exact data such as launch date and duration given.

Savitskaya was a famous test pilot, holding a number of aviation records, but this fact was not as important as it might seem at first glance. She would be flying as research-cosmonaut in the third seat of the Soyuz. This seat was usually occupied by scientists and foreign guests, much in the way the Americans were flying payload specialists on the shuttle. The research-cosmonauts had their own program of experiments and their presence was of no vital importance to the success of the mission.

Savitskaya was thoroughly prepared for her mission, beginning her training in December 1981. Her fellow crewmembers were Commander Leonid Popov, veteran of two spaceflights, and Alexander Serebrov who, like Savitskaya, would be making her first flight. Soyuz T-7 was launched on 19 August 1982 and indeed got the attention that had been anticipated, although not always the kind that was hoped for.

While it was emphasized by managers at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, that no special privileges had been granted to Savitskaya during training and that she had had to undergo the same training regime as the two men, several West-European newspapers ran articles on women in the Soviet Union. Many of these articles were all but flattering for the Soviet society.

Women were said to be equal as far as working was concerned, since fifty percent of the labor force consisted of women. But other than that, women were in a far from envious position. Apart from their daily job, they also were expected to do the shopping, cooking and other domestic work. One female cosmonaut would not change that situation.

At the time these articles were published however, the cosmonaut in question had other things on her mind. The day after the launch, the Soyuz transport craft docked with the Salyut 7 space station, where the resident crew, Anatoly Berezovoi and Valentin Lebedev, welcomed Savitskaya with flowers that had been brown onboard the station. For the next week, the two crews worked together, performing medical and other scientific experiments.

As was to be expected in 1982, when the Soviet Union was still a society unfamiliar with the later Glasnost era, the official news reports stated that everything went smoothly and exactly according to plan. This was the usual press terminology for every spaceflight, unless it was absolutely impossible to conceal that things had not all gone as planned.

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Re: Challenger STS-7 – Sally’s Ride
« Reply #30 on: 09/28/2014 12:08 AM »
SHE IS A WOMAN AND THAT SAYS IT ALL

Several years after the mission however, a fascinating insight was given into the visit by Popov’s crew to the station. In 1993, Sotheby’s in New York held a widely publicized auction of Soviet space memorabilia. One of the lots was a letter Anatoly Berezovoi had written to his wife during Savitskaya’s stay onboard the station. In this extremely personal letter, of which a translation was printed in the auction catalogue, Berezovoi made some comments with regard to the visit of the Soyuz T-7 crew:

“Do you realize that this was the launch of the ship we will use to come home? If, of course, it docks at the station normally without overconsumption of fuel. Well, isn’t there a superstition among sailors that a woman aboard a ship is a bad omen? At the moment, I don’t know for sure, but I can’t imagine all the difficulties that we will have with this mixed crew. I’m afraid this will not be limited to just the problem of shared facilities.”

Later in the letter, Berezovoi wrote:

“I will say nothing of Svetlana. She is a woman and that says it all. It will not be easy.”

Another source of information on the visit had become available a few years earlier, when Valentin Lebedev’s mission diary had been published in the U.S. According to Lebedev, after the T-7 crew had safely docked, Popov and Serebrov had entered the station as soon as the hatch was opened, but Savitskaya had remained in the Soyuz. When the others had looked into the docking module to see where she was, they saw her combing her hair, and only when she was finished, did she float into the station.

Lebedev continued that, when it became time for a meal, they had given Savitskaya a blue apron and told her that although she was a pilot and a cosmonaut, she first of all was a woman and asked her to be the hostess, in other words cook them a meal. According to the diary, she agreed. The next day, Lebedev again wrote that Savitskaya had spent a long time in the Soyuz to make herself beautiful. In a later entry he stated that he liked her a lot, since she was a tough lady.

Berezovoi appears to have had another opinion. On 23 August he continued his letter to his wife. It proves that the situation onboard was not really what it seemed on the ground:

“Today a lot of mistakes were made. In broadcast reports we stay ever cheerful an lie a lot. In general, the presence of a woman greatly limits the freedom at the station and complicates the daily life. We have assigned her one of the two transport ships for physical needs, but she sleeps with us inside the station.”

Berezovoi, who was the overall crew commander of the orbital complex, also gave some frank comments about his guests, which give some interesting insights:

“Serebrov and Savitskaya are like a cat and a dog. Sasha has turned out to be one of those people who like to whisper gossip about their friends, in this case about Svetlana. Savitskaya isn’t exactly going out of her way to do anything over and above her program description.”

Brezovoi was quiet positive about Leonid Popov, the commander of the visitors, but in spite of this, the overall impression one gets when reading these comments of both Berezovoi and Lebedev Is that both were not really sad when Savitskaya and her two crewmembers left the station and returned to Earth. Lebedev would later note that hosting a visiting crew was extremely tiring and the Salyut crews usually would need two to three days to get life back to normal after a visit.

On 27 August, Popov, Serebrov and Savitskaya said goodbye and boarded the Soyuz T-5 transport ship. This was the craft with which Berezovoi and Lebedev had come to the Salyut station. Popov and his crew now used it for their return, leaving their own “fresh” T-7 ship for the two cosmonauts who stayed behind. A few hours later, after a flight lasting almost eight days, Savitskaya’s first spaceflight ended with a landing on the steppes of Kazakhstan near the city of Arkalyk.

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Re: Challenger STS-7 – Sally’s Ride
« Reply #31 on: 09/28/2014 12:11 AM »
BELOW THE BELT

The usual secrecy that had surrounded the mission, with carefully controlled news reports, had an interesting side effect. In April 1983 the West German press agency Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA) reported that a German physician had revealed that, during the visit, it had been attempted to get Savitskaya pregnant as part of a medical experiment. Although the doctor stated his source was a colleague from the medical team for the T-7 crew, there never has been any evidence backing this story, or any similar reports from other sources. Nevertheless, it was hot news in several countries.

After the mission, Savitskaya became a favorite interview subject for the media and it turned out that she was indeed a tough lady, as Lebedev had mentioned in his diary. She was extremely difficult to interview and didn’t like questions that were not to the point or had to do with the fact that she is a woman.

One western reporter who had arranged to talk to her, which had cost a lot of persuasion in the first place, almost missed out on the interview when none of the interpreters was willing to sit down with Savitskaya, who was described as “not a real woman.”

The same reporter, who later talked to other cosmonauts, was told that it was unwise to become enemies with Savitskaya because of her connections in high places. With this, undoubtedly her father, Marshall Yevgeny Savitsky, the deputy commander of the Soviet Air Force, was meant. One of her colleagues, Georgy Grechko, described her as “an Iron Lady, like Margaret Thatcher!”

(Bert Vis, “Soviet Women Cosmonaut Flight Assignments 1963-1989,” Spaceflight, Vol. 41, November 1999 – edited)

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Re: Challenger STS-7 – Sally’s Ride
« Reply #32 on: 09/28/2014 12:14 AM »
Arrested Development

“At that time in our country, people were feeling a little bit bad about the way they had treated women.”

- Carolyn L. Huntoon, JSC deputy chief for personnel development


(By Mike Mullane) 


THE CHURCH

I was in another galaxy when it came to working with women. I saw women only as sex objects, an unintended consequence of twelve years of Catholic school education. The priests and nuns had pounded into me that females ere equated with sex, and sex brought eternal damnation. Girls were never discussed in any other context. They were never discussed as real people who might harbor dreams. They were never discussed as doctors or scientists or astronauts.

Only in marriage did the rules change. Then, sex was fine – productive sex. In marriage a woman achieved her highest state in life – getting on her back and producing children. “The primary purpose of marriage is procreation of children” was dogma in my wife’s 1963 “Marriage Course” curriculum guide from St. Mary’s High School.

The same guide also included a lesson on “Masculine and Feminine Psychology” with a table of “Characteristics.” Males are more realistic, females more idealistic. Men are more emotionally stable, women are more emotionally liable. Man loves his work, woman loves her man. And, my favorite, Men are more likely to be right, women more likely to be wrong.

I accepted these twisted sexist messages of Catholicism so completely that in my senior year of high school I wrote a term paper on why women should not be allowed to attend college. After all, I eloquently reasoned, they never did anything with an education. They only attended college to find a husband. They were needlessly filling classes and taking seats from males who would require the education to get jobs… real jobs. I received an A on the paper. I had learned my lesson well.


THE MOVIES

The Hollywood movies of my childhood did nothing to dispel what I was learning in school. The men were always depicted as the action gender, be they cowboys in action against the Indians, a soldier in action against the Japanese, or an astronaut saving humanity. The women were always the passive gender, waiting at home, cooking, and caring for the children. They were only active when the letters and telegrams came that their heroic men had taken an arrow, bullet, or meteor. Then they cried. After all, they were more emotionally liable.


THE MILITARY

The West Point of my era was another all-male bastion. My West Point experience reinforced what Catholicism had taught me – women were nothing more than sex objects. The USAF officer corps that I entered in 1967 was also a male organization. I never encountered a female flyer. Strippers entertained us at the O’club on Wednesday and Friday nights. Military flyers saw women only as receptacles. If anyone from my era says otherwise, they must be running for Congress.

Women may be from Venus and normal men may be from Mars, but military flyers are from the planet Arrested Development.


THE ASTRONAUT OFFICE

When I walked into the astronaut office on day one, I didn’t have the slightest sense of how to incorporate the six TFNG females into my work life. My behavior and vocabulary around them was exactly as it was around men. I recall an early incident of telling a joke to a TFNG audience including Sally Ride that had the word tits in it. Sally hardly said another word to me for the next ten years. But, at the time, I didn’t have a clue. I had no other experiences to draw upon. Professional women were as unknown and unknowable to me as sea life at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean.

I wasn’t the only one afflicted with an atrophied brain when it came to interacting with the women. On one occasion a few of the men found a live grass snake near the gym. They entered the ladies’ locker room and shoved the slithering creature into Judy Resnik’s purse. After she returned from her run, every man present gathered at the locker room door giggling like middle-schoolers. They heard the shower run, stop, then the shower door open. A few minutes later a scream right out of the movie Psycho echoed through the gym. The guilty parties evaporated faster than you could say “Tailhook.”

A Navy TFNG probably best summarized the military male attitude about women. We were standing outside Sally Ride’s office. She was absent and I took the opportunity to point out the bumper sticker on the front of her desk. It read, “A woman’s place is in the cockpit.” My Top Gun companion looked at the sticker and chuckled. “ A woman is a COCK pit.”

That was exactly how most of the military astronauts saw women in general and good-looking women in particular. We were flying blind when it came to working with professional women. And now, we were thrown into a group of women who weren’t just professional. They were pioneers. They would be carrying the banner of feminism into the final frontier.


TOLERANCE AND PATIENCE

All of the women were feminists in the sense they were out to prove they were as good as any male astronaut. Only Sally Ride struck me as an activist, a woman bent on making a political statement as opposed to a personal one. She seemed to view the world through NOW prescription lenses. Every action had to be gender sanitized. Before her first space mission I heard her say there could be no live TV downlink of her during orbit food preparation because it would show her in a traditional female role, even though food preparation, like toilet cleaning, was a shared crew responsibility.

After the mission, at a JSC welcome for the crew, a NASA PR spokesperson brought out a bouquet of roses for Sally. She refused to accept them, as if to do so would be an affront to women. After all, the males weren’t being given roses. Every military TFNG quickly learned to be careful in word and deed around Sally. She had about as much tolerance for our arrested development as Billy Graham did for Wicca.

The other five females cut us varying degrees of slack. Rhea Seddon was a model of tolerance. She had to be. A couple years into our TFNG lives she married Robert “Hoot” Gibson, an F-14 Tomcat fighter pilot. Forget the James Carville and Mary Matalin marriage as one of polar opposites. Compared with Rhea and Hoot, James and Mary are paragons of blissful compatibility. Rhea and Hoot’s marriage was one of the world’s great mysteries, like the rise of life on Earth. If the Pope were ever to beatify a woman as the patron of wifely patience, it would be Rhea. Indeed, we called her Saint Seddon for putting up with Hoot.

Hoot was, like all military aviators, a male chauvinist pig. If NOW had a ten-most-wanted pig list, he would have been at the top. If they had ever caught him, though, it would have only taken a few minutes before the NOW politburo fell into a hair-pulling cat fight screaming, “I want to have his baby!” Hoot was that charming. Lest you think I exaggerate, even Sally Ride went out with Hoot when both were single, which says a lot about his charm factor.

If Hoot were number one on the NOW’s most-wanted pig list, I would have been number two. As test pilots would say, I operated at “the edge of the envelope.” It was as if I had sexist Tourette’s syndrome. The joker in me would leap from my mouth. Only around Sally did I keep myself somewhat throttled. I had a sixth sense about the danger there, like a dog knows not to paw at a snake. But Sally really wasn’t an issue. After my tits joke, she avoided me like I was criminally insane.

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Re: Challenger STS-7 – Sally’s Ride
« Reply #33 on: 09/28/2014 12:19 AM »
LESSONS

At a military formal dinner, Rhea Seddon and I were co-speakers. In my comments I used the word girls in reference to the female astronauts. I had done so without malice. It was just as natural as breathing for me to refer to the women as girls or gals. Afterward, a wife from the audience approached me with a smile that would have chilled Hannibal Lecter. She asked, “Do they call you a boy astronaut?” I was baffled by the comment… but not for long. She enlightened me while tearing me a new fundamental orifice. “How dare you refer to Dr. Seddon as a girl? Where is your PhD? Are you a surgeon? She has better credentials than you.” She stormed off. It was one of my earliest lessons in political correctness.

And then there was Judy Resnik. In our year of training for our rookie mission, 41-D, we became close friends. Judy opened my male, sexist-pig eyes to the reality that women could do the astronaut job as well as any man. Her obvious indifference to spaceflight history prompted a question that had been on my mind since I had first stood on the stage with her at our TNFG introduction. “J.R., when did you first want to be an astronaut?”

“In 1977, when I saw the announcement on the company bulletin board.”

She answered as I had expected. I had already heard several of the other females say the same thing in various press interviews. Only Shannon Lucid had a different answer. She had a copy of a letter she wrote to Time magazine in 1960 challenging NASA’s male-only astronaut corps. She had dreamed of spaceflight as a child, as I had.

Only recently had I matured enough to give Judy, Sally, and the others some slack for their lack of lifelong zeal for the astronaut title. If I had been raised in a society that told me I could never be an astronaut because of my gender, or color, would that dream have ever taken root in my soul? Probably not. How, I asked myself, could I hold it against this woman if she had not carried the dream from her childhood? I could not. Judy and the other women were teaching me the meaning and consequences of discrimination.

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Re: Challenger STS-7 – Sally’s Ride
« Reply #34 on: 09/28/2014 12:21 AM »
HONORARY MAN

I definitely tested Shannon Lucid’s feminist tolerance a few times. Shannon’s first flight had Saudi Arabian Prince Sultan Salman Al-Saud aboard and after the mission he invited the crew and their spouses to visit Saudi Arabia. Shannon’s husband could not make the trip. Shannon wasn’t concerned. She didn’t need a man to hold her hand. Wrong. Saudi Arabia did not allow women to enter the country alone. She had to have a male escort.

When Shannon heard this she told headquarters she wasn’t going. NASA HQ and the State Department were concerned about the potential press photo featuring only the men from the mission being greeted in Riyadh by King Fahd, so they asked the Saudis to look into their laws for a loophole.

I was in my office when a TFNG came in with word they had found one. The Saudis would allow Shannon to enter as Dan Brandenstein’s honorary daughter. Or, she could enter as John Fabian’s honorary sister. Or, they might make a special exception, as they had when the Queen of England had visited the country, and designate Shannon an honorary man.

When the men in my office heard this, we exploded in laughter. What greater insult could a feminist hear than to be told she must take on the label “man” to get some respect. When I heard this, I couldn’t contain the joker in me. I immediately went to Shannon’s office and congratulated her on having achieved the highest honor a woman could ever hope to achieve… to be designated an honorary man. Shannon had a lively sense of humor and laughed at my attics, but I made certain not to walk down the stairs in front of her for the next few weeks.


TWO HELLS

When I die, I’m going to two hells. On Mondays, Wenesdays, and Fridays, I will be in Bible hell, the one with all the fire and brimstone. There, demons will torture me with their fiery pitchforks. But during the rest of the week I’ll be damned to feminist hell, where some high-value parts of my body will be placed in a red-hot vise and Shannon Lucid, Sally Ride, and Judith Resnik will take turns cranking the vise tighter and tighter while I plead, “Mercy! Mercy! I was raised on the planet Arrested Development. I couldn’t help myself!”

(Mike Mullane, “Riding Rockets,” Scribner 2007 – edited)


March 13, 1980: SYMPOSIUM MAY BE LAST OF ITS KIND
Johnson Space Center hosted a symposium March 12 and 13 on women in aviation and space. Among the speakers was Carolyn Huntoon of the astronaut office – her topic was “Women in Space.” Dr. Huntoon made a significant point in the closing of her speech and following are excerpts:

The outlook for the future of women at the Johnson Space Center is excellent. For those who have the necessary skills and education, NASA offers many career opportunities. Our goal should be not to have more programs such as this – programs on women in aviation or women in anything else. I’d like to quote from Virginia Smith who said, “This subject should be of little interest. No one will ask now for discussion of short people, tall people, skinny people, blondes, or brunettes in the space program. When the present period of transition is complete, women will enjoy the same freedom from analysis and conjecture as many other common and accepted daily facts of life.” So I hope it soon will be with women in aviation and space. (JSC Roundup, Mar. 21, 1980)


May 5, 1982: FEDERAL WOMEN’S WEEK OBSERVED AT JSC
Issues of interest to both men and women will be explored next week during the NASA Johnson Space Center’s observance of Federal Women’s Week. In a series of public presentations May 12 through 14 at the Gilruth Recreation Center at JSC, Houston area civic leaders, educators, professionals, and business people will discuss topics ranging from women’s legal rights to family and career interrelations. The Federal Women’s Program Committee at the NASA facility is sponsoring the fifth annual observance of the week.

Public sessions begin at 9:00 a.m. May 12 with “Directing Your Personal Potential,” a presentation by Elsa Rosborough, a professor in the College of Social Science at the University of Houston. Other Wednesday events include a film, “Tale of O,” and a discussion titled “Single Parents for the First Time,” by leaders of the group Texas Fathers for Equal Rights. Thursday topics include “Citizens Against Crime,” “Women’s Legal Rights in Texas,” and the film “Work Place Hustle.” “Office Stereotypes,” “Family and Career,” and “Tax Shelters, IRAs,” are topics of discussion Friday. Daily events begin 9:00 a.m. (Steve Nesbitt, JSC NASA News Release No. 82-026, May 5, 1982)


August 18, 1982: JSC EARNS EEO AWARD
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Equal Opportunity Council has selected the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center to receive the agency’s fiscal year 1981 Equal Opportunity Trophy. The award is presented annually to the NASA installation which “has implemented the most effective management approaches and has achieved the most positive affirmative management approaches and has achieved the most positive affirmative action results” in the employment of minorities, women and handicapped persons.

A formal presentation will be held in September at the Houston space center. Individuals who made significant contributions to the center’s equal opportunity efforts also will be recognized at the ceremony. The fiscal year 1981 award covers the period from October 1, 1980, to September 30, 1981. The travelling trophy last year went to the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, the first time it was presented. (Steve Nesbitt, JSC NASA News Release No. 82-042, Aug. 18, 1982)

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Re: Challenger STS-7 – Sally’s Ride
« Reply #35 on: 09/28/2014 12:27 AM »
Sally and the Guys

“When future historians research spaceflight in the year 1983 they will take note that there were five crewmembers on shuttle mission number seven – Crippen, Hauck, Fabian, Ride and Thagard. It will be unimportant that one was a woman. And that’s the way it should be.”

- “This Week at NASA” video commentary,  2012


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Re: Challenger STS-7 – Sally’s Ride
« Reply #36 on: 09/28/2014 12:28 AM »
CRIP READY FOR ENCORE

“If Hollywood was casting the Columbia crew,” the New York Times observed during STS-1, “it would surely pick Captain Robert Laurel Crippen of the Navy.” The Times went on to state that “behind that movie star exterior a brilliant intelligence and a wealth of knowledge about the shuttle that could make him, if he so chooses and is lucky, as premier an astronaut in the second phase of manned American space flight as John Young was in the first phase.

It is doubtless a mistake to refer to anything John Young does as being in the past tense, but that’s beside the point. Having those kinds of descriptions injected into the popular folklore is a part of the job perhaps, a liability of the astronaut business, and both men are bound to be resigned to it by now. To paraphrase Mae West, luck has nothing to do with it.

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Re: Challenger STS-7 – Sally’s Ride
« Reply #37 on: 09/28/2014 12:31 AM »
CDR Robert Laurel “Crip” Crippen, Captain USN, refers to the “basic skills” of flight, and it is hard to exaggerate the importance of those two words. Like all astronauts, his skills go back a long way and have little to do with how Hollywood might judge him. Born in Beaumont, Texas, on September 11, 1937, and growing up in Porter, Texas, Robert Crippen graduated from the University of Texas in 1960 with a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering, and went to earn a commission with the Navy and to serve for two years as a pilot aboard the USS Independence. After that, he was first a student and then a teacher at the Air Force’s Aerospace Research Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base. In 1966 he joined the Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) program as an astronaut, later joining NASA in September 1969 when that program was cancelled.

Bob Crippen, together with astronauts Karol Bobko and William Thornton, was a crewmember on the highly successful Skylab Medical Experiments Altitude Test (SMEAT) – a 56-day simulation of a Skylab mission, enabling crewmen to collect medical experiments, baseline data and evaluate equipment, operations  and procedures. He then was a member of the astronaut support crews for the Skylab 2, 3 and 4 missions, and he served in this same capacity for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) mission which was completed successfully in July 1975.

Crippen completed his first spaceflight as pilot of STS-1, the first orbital test flight of the orbiter Columbia in April 1981. Following his current assignment as Commander for STS-7 – when he will become the first person giving an encore performance aboard the Space Shuttle – he will command another Challenger mission, STS-13, in 1984. That five-day flight will deploy the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) and capture and repair the orbiting Solar Maximum Mission satellite.


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Re: Challenger STS-7 – Sally’s Ride
« Reply #38 on: 09/28/2014 12:36 AM »
ASTRONAUT TURNAROUND

In an interview for the October 1, 1982, issue of Space News Roundup, talking about astronaut turnaround for shuttle flights, Bob Crippen was asked how he would describe it.

Roundup: Does it consist of two weeks of jubilation, one week of debriefing, one day of rest and several months of training for the next flight?

Crippen: Well, we’re still finding out what that is. As the flight rate continues to increase, hopefully the turnaround time will end up being shorter. It’s going to be something like two years in my case. It’s not obvious to us right off the top just how much time should be given to that interim period.

Roundup: Are there any biomedical considerations in determining how long that interim between flights should be?

Crippen: No. It’s who can do it when, who’s available, how much additional training if any is required. If I come back to fly another deploy mission, and we’ll be doing quite a few of them, I would imagine from my standpoint there would be very little difference. If I wasn’t out of the training flow that long, it wouldn’t take very long to get ready to go again.

Roundup: Is it part of NASA’s philosophy that time between flights should be as relatively short as possible, and secondly, would you think certain astronauts will come to specialize in certain types of flight?

Crippen: Both of those are possibilities. We haven’t figured it all out. From my own standpoint, I think somewhere around six months would be a nice turnaround time, and you might be able to get it less than that. Training for one of these flights is a pretty involved and demanding type of process. I’m not sure you would want to put somebody in that kind of demanding environment and work them at that pace for a long time. You should certainly have a little vacation time, and certainly take advantage of some of the things you’ve learned and maybe feed them back into the training process.

So I don’t know exactly what the best time period is, but certainly two years is too long, I’ll tell you that. One thing that is important I feel is that crews need some time working together as a unit. So part of the process of bringing back a crew would be to have more time if your plan is to change who sits in the opposite seat. And there are lots of demands on lots of individuals and we’ll have to get educated on just how to work those out.

I think it is quite possible that there will be general groups which tend to do deploy missions, others who do Spacelab and that kind of thing. Although at this particular stage, we don’t think it is the right thing to do to go and start developing those groups. It’s too early in the program.

Roundup: Is it just now starting to sink in, do you think, that the orbital flight testing is over, and all of a sudden here we are on the threshold of a really prodigious flight rate over the next few years?

Crippen: I think it’s going to be coming up on a lot of people pretty soon. The bow wave is about to hit us. Dick Truly and I were doing some planning for the astronaut office on how, from an organizational standpoint, we’re going to support this flight rate. And it becomes very apparent that we can’t do many of the things the office has done in the past in supporting other facilities. Sometime toward the end of next year, we’re going to have something like 40 people actively training for flights. And considering you always have to carry some overhead for other things, that’s really going to tie a lot of people up.

Roundup: Not to put you in the position of having to say, “Yes, I’d like to fly 47 more times in my career,” but do you think there is a magic number of flights that an average pilot can expect to make over the course of a career? Is 20 too much?

Crippen: I have no idea. Different individuals will be able to handle different amounts of flying. Twenty is an awful lot of flights. If you could turn around every six months, that would be about ten years of flying, roughly. That could be a lot. We might be able to reduce that to every three months. That will probably be the key element, that is, how long does it take to turn around? But I’ll tell you, that was so much fun on the first one, I’ll stick around until they tell me I can’t do it anymore
« Last Edit: 09/28/2014 12:39 AM by Ares67 »

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Re: Challenger STS-7 – Sally’s Ride
« Reply #39 on: 09/28/2014 12:42 AM »
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK

Joining the “old hand” of the shuttle program on this mission are four rookies – the first from among the Thirty-Five New Guys, the selection of fifteen pilots and twenty mission specialists who have commenced their two-year astronaut training in July 1978. With the late addition of Norm Thagard STS-7 has become the first mission to launch five crewmembers aboard a single spacecraft.

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