Author Topic: Apollo 14 crew descision  (Read 17009 times)

Offline Leardawg

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Re: Apollo 14 crew descision
« Reply #20 on: 01/20/2011 03:08 PM »

I wouldn't put a lot of weight on that particular story.  Young was always the first choice for A13 backup commander (as of May 1969). 

It's one of many claims in LEAP OF FAITH that lacks supporting evidence.  Read the rest of the book, if you haven't, and you'll see what I mean.

Michael Cassutt

I have, and good point.
Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.

Offline Leardawg

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Re: Apollo 14 crew descision
« Reply #21 on: 01/20/2011 03:11 PM »
Someone else also suggested that Slayton may have wanted to use Cooper as a seat warmer for himself, hoping to get back on flight status in time to be assigned to Apollo 16. Food for thought.
Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.

Offline Skylon

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Re: Apollo 14 crew descision
« Reply #22 on: 01/20/2011 07:36 PM »
Someone else also suggested that Slayton may have wanted to use Cooper as a seat warmer for himself, hoping to get back on flight status in time to be assigned to Apollo 16. Food for thought.

Where? Or this just internet supposition?

I'd read it suggested Deke assigned Wally Schirra to Apollo 205 as a "seat warmer." That makes more sense. Apollo 205 was originally just a reflight of Apollo 204, and not really a high pressure mission. Deke, as a rookie CDR could probably justify flying that mission if he got back on flight status.

A lunar mission like Apollo 16 is harder for Deke to justify assigning himself as a rookie CDR.

And to intercept any comments of "What about Shepard? He was practically a rookie with 15 minutes of flight time." There is no "practically" when it comes to the difference in having a gold or silver pin. Shepard had flown (and as the first one picked to fly in space, implicitly, that made him one of the best). Slayton's pin was gold, but it was honorary at that point. That makes one easier to justify than the other.

Offline Michael Cassutt

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Re: Apollo 14 crew descision
« Reply #23 on: 01/20/2011 10:31 PM »
Someone else also suggested that Slayton may have wanted to use Cooper as a seat warmer for himself, hoping to get back on flight status in time to be assigned to Apollo 16. Food for thought.

No, no, and no.  Didn't happen here, and didn't happen on AS-205.

Michael Cassutt, co-author of DEKE! and WE HAVE CAPTURE

Offline dks13827

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Re: Apollo 14 crew descision
« Reply #24 on: 01/21/2011 02:57 AM »
Someone else also suggested that Slayton may have wanted to use Cooper as a seat warmer for himself, hoping to get back on flight status in time to be assigned to Apollo 16. Food for thought.

No, no, and no.  Didn't happen here, and didn't happen on AS-205.

Michael Cassutt, co-author of DEKE! and WE HAVE CAPTURE
I misspoke about Deke and a lunar flight. But didnt Deke confide in  ( Cunningham ? ) that he hoped to maybe get the 2nd Apollo earth orbital flight ? ( this was before the fire, of course, the plans that is. )

Offline Michael Cassutt

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Re: Apollo 14 crew descision
« Reply #25 on: 01/21/2011 03:07 AM »
Someone else also suggested that Slayton may have wanted to use Cooper as a seat warmer for himself, hoping to get back on flight status in time to be assigned to Apollo 16. Food for thought.

No, no, and no.  Didn't happen here, and didn't happen on AS-205.

Michael Cassutt, co-author of DEKE! and WE HAVE CAPTURE
I misspoke about Deke and a lunar flight. But didnt Deke confide in  ( Cunningham ? ) that he hoped to maybe get the 2nd Apollo earth orbital flight ? ( this was before the fire, of course, the plans that is. )

He did not.  That was only Cunningham's speculation -- I asked Deke directly about it in 1992.  He said it not only never happened, it never _could_ have happened because he had taken no steps to be medically cleared for flight assignment.  I passed that data on to Walt (whose book THE ALL-AMERICAN BOYS is really really good, except for one or two itty bitty things) in time for his second edition; he chose not to make a correction.

(Walt was probably confusing Deke with Al Shepard, who was indeed making a move to get re-qualified for an Apollo flight assignment in late 1965, early 1966.)

Michael Cassutt

Offline Ben E

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Re: Apollo 14 crew descision
« Reply #26 on: 01/24/2011 02:41 PM »
Going back to the point about Slayton offering to make Mattingly LMP on Apollo 18...I've always struggled to understand Slayton's thinking here.

Such an offer must have been made after Mattingly's involvement with Apollo 13, and presumably sometime before September 1970, when Apollo 18 was still on the manifest. By this time, Gordon, Brand and Schmitt were already training as the Apollo 15 backup crew and would have anticipated being cycled into the Apollo 18 prime slot.

Suppose Mattingly had taken Slayton's offer of the Apollo 18 LMP post. How would Slayton have squared this in terms of crew rotation? More to  the point, how would he have squared it with the scientific community, who had been breathing down his neck since at least 1969 to fly a geologist? Would he have simply turned the other cheek, stuck two fingers up at the scientists and bumped Schmitt in favour of Mattingly? If so, this scenario seems hard to believe when one considers the fierce rhetoric that was going on between NASA Headquarters and the National Academy of Sciences at the time.
 

Offline Michael Cassutt

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Re: Apollo 14 crew descision
« Reply #27 on: 01/24/2011 03:01 PM »
Going back to the point about Slayton offering to make Mattingly LMP on Apollo 18...I've always struggled to understand Slayton's thinking here.

Such an offer must have been made after Mattingly's involvement with Apollo 13, and presumably sometime before September 1970, when Apollo 18 was still on the manifest. By this time, Gordon, Brand and Schmitt were already training as the Apollo 15 backup crew and would have anticipated being cycled into the Apollo 18 prime slot.

Suppose Mattingly had taken Slayton's offer of the Apollo 18 LMP post. How would Slayton have squared this in terms of crew rotation? More to  the point, how would he have squared it with the scientific community, who had been breathing down his neck since at least 1969 to fly a geologist? Would he have simply turned the other cheek, stuck two fingers up at the scientists and bumped Schmitt in favour of Mattingly? If so, this scenario seems hard to believe when one considers the fierce rhetoric that was going on between NASA Headquarters and the National Academy of Sciences at the time.
 

It makes sense if you believe -- as I do -- that Slayton was probably talking about Apollo 19, not 18.  (I know Mattingly says 18 in his oral history, but 30-year-old "what ifs" get vague in memory, and not just with astronauts.)  Slayton had placed Schmitt on the 15 backup crew by then and would not have simply bumped him as a make-good for Mattingly.  But the backup crew for 16/putative 19 crew was what Slayton was assembling at the time of this conversation, April 1970.

Michael Cassutt

Offline Ben E

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Re: Apollo 14 crew descision
« Reply #28 on: 01/24/2011 07:32 PM »
Many thanks, Michael.

It also prompts a second question. Why would Slayton consider reassigning Mattingly, who was a CSM expert and had served more than a year in backup and prime CMP capacities, to the LM?

Several other members of the Original 19 (Lousma? Carr?) had already been in dedicated LM training for some time, so surely they would have had the edge over Mattingly on LM systems knowledge?

It seems to me to be more likely that, if it happened at all, it was a case of Slayton trying to soften the blow of Mattingly losing Apollo 13.

Offline Michael Cassutt

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Re: Apollo 14 crew descision
« Reply #29 on: 01/24/2011 07:41 PM »
Many thanks, Michael.

It also prompts a second question. Why would Slayton consider reassigning Mattingly, who was a CSM expert and had served more than a year in backup and prime CMP capacities, to the LM?

Several other members of the Original 19 (Lousma? Carr?) had already been in dedicated LM training for some time, so surely they would have had the edge over Mattingly on LM systems knowledge?

It seems to me to be more likely that, if it happened at all, it was a case of Slayton trying to soften the blow of Mattingly losing Apollo 13.

You're making too much of this early quasi-specialization for the 1966 group... yes, in the early assignments, support crew jobs for folks like Haise (LM) or Worden (CM) grew out of those "specialties", but by 1969 or 1970, there had been a lot of flow back and forth.... and really, the division into CM/LM was never hard and fast.  Roosa and Duke really worked boosters and engines, including the LM ascent stage.  (Yet Duke was in the early consideration as backup CMP for Apollo 13, likely when Cernan was still penciled in as backup LMP.)

Besides, any astronaut could train up on the LM in a year.  It just wasn't an issue, certainly not a major one, by this time.

MC

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