Encyclopedia Astronautica
Stafford



istaford.jpg
Stafford
Credit: www.spacefacts.de - www.spacefacts.de
10074370.jpg
Gemini 9
Astronaut Thomas Stafford photographed during Gemini 9 mission
Credit: NASA
Stafford, Thomas Patten 'Tom' (1930-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on Gemini 6, Gemini 9, Apollo 10, Apollo (ASTP). Member of first crew to rendezvous in space. Space speed record (11,107 m/s).

NAME: Thomas P. Stafford

BIRTHPLACE AND DATE: Stafford was born in Weatherford, Oklahoma, Sept. 17, 1930.

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Naval Academy in 1952, graduating with honours.

EXPERIENCE: Following graduation from the Naval Academy, Stafford was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. He completed advanced interceptor training and served tours of duty at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, and at Hahn Air Base, Germany, where he flew the F-86D interceptor. He graduated in 1959 from the Air Force Experimental Flight Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California, and received the A B Honts Award as the outstanding graduate. He remained with the school as an instructor and later was Chief of the Performance Branch.

NASA selected Stafford as an astronaut in 1962. In December 1965, he was pilot of Gemini 6. He and Commander Wally Schirra flew the first space rendezvous mission, closing to within a metre of Gemini 7. He commanded Gemini 9, with Gene Cernan as pilot, in June 1966, rendezvousing with the ATDA docking target after their original Agena target vehicle failed to reach orbit. They were unable to dock with the ATDA because the protective fibreglass shroud had failed to jettison completely, but they flew three different types of rendezvous with it. Cernan conducted an EVA which had to be cut short because his faceplate became completely fogged up. Stafford commanded the Apollo 10 lunar orbit flight in May 1969, with John Young and Gene Cernan. He and Cernan separated the Lunar Module and approached to within 10 miles of the surface, paving the way for the Apollo 11 crew to make the first moon landing two months later. Stafford's fourth space mission as Commander of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in July 1975. He, Deke Slayton, and Vance Brand docked in orbit with a Soyuz carrying cosmonauts Alexei Leonov and Valery Kubasov.

Stafford returned to the Air Force and assumed command of the Air Force Flight Test Center in 1975. He was promoted to lieutenant general in 1978 and was assigned as Deputy Chief of Staff, Research, Development and Acquisition, Headquarters, USAF, Washington, DC. He retired from the Air Force in 1979.

Thereafter Stafford was a partner in the consulting firm Stafford, Burke and Hecker. In 1990-91, he headed a Synthesis Group chartered by NASA and the White House to recommend a future course in space for the United States.


Official USAF Biography

LIEUTENANT GENERAL THOMAS P. STAFFORD
Retired Nov. 1, 1979

Lieutenant General Thomas P. Stafford is deputy chief of staff, research, development and acquisition, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.

General Stafford was born in 1930, in Weatherford, Okla., where he graduated from Weatherford High School in. 1948. He graduated with honors in 1952 from the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md., and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force.

General Stafford received his pilot wings at James Connally Air Force Base, Texas, in September 1953. After completing advanced interceptor training, he was assigned to the 54th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. In December 1955 he was transferred to the 496th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, Hahn Air Base, Germany, where he was a pilot, flight leader and flight test maintenance officer, flying the F-86D aircraft.

He entered the Air Force Experimental Flight Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., in August 1958 and received the A.B. Honts award as the outstanding graduate in April 1959. He remained with the school as an instructor and later was chief of the performance branch. He was instructor in flight test training and specialized academic subjects -- establishing basic textbooks and directing the writing of flight test manuals for use by the staff and students. He is co-author of the "Pilot's Handbook For Performance Flight Testing" and the "Aerodynamics Handbook For Performance Flight Testing."

General Stafford was selected among the second group of astronauts in September 1962 by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to participate in projects Gemini and Apollo. In December 1965 he was the pilot of Gemini VI, which was the first rendezvous in space, and helped in the development techniques to prove the basic theory and practicality of space rendezvous. In June 1966 he was commander of Gemini IX and performed three different types of rendezvous, including a demonstration of an early rendezvous that would be used in Apollo, the first Optical rendezvous, and a lunar-orbit-abort rendezvous.

From August 1966 to October 1968 he headed the mission planning analysis and software development responsibilities for the astronaut group for Project Apollo. General Stafford was a member of the group which helped formulate the sequence of missions leading to the first lunar-landing mission. He demonstrated and implemented the theory of a pilot manually flying the Saturn booster into orbit and the translunar-injection maneuver.

General Stafford was commander of Apollo X in May 1969, the first flight of the lunar module to the moon, performed the first rendezvous around the moon, and performed the entire lunar-landing mission except the actual landing. He also made reconnaissance and tracking on future Apollo landing sites. General Stafford was cited in the "Guinness Book of World Records" for highest reentry speed of any Manned Space flight during Apollo X. In June 1969 he was assigned as head of the astronaut group and, as such, was responsible for the selection of flight crews for projects Apollo and Skylab. He reviewed and monitored flight crew training statuses, and was responsible for coordination, scheduling, and control of all activities involving NASA astronauts.

In June 1971 General Stafford was assigned as deputy director of flight crew operations at the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center. In this role he was responsible for assisting the director in planning and implementing programs for the astronaut group, and the Aircraft Operations, Flight Crew Integration, Flight Crew Procedures, and the Crew Simulation and Training Divisions. He logged his fourth space flight as Apollo commander of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project mission from July 15-24, 1975--a joint space flight culminating in the historic first meeting in space between American astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts. The event signaled a major advance in efforts for the conduct of joint experiments and the exchange of mutual assistance in future international space explorations.

In November 1975 General Stafford became commander of the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. He assumed his present duty on April 1, 1978.

General Stafford has completed 507 hours and 43 minutes in space flight and wears the Air Force Command Pilot Astronaut Wings. He has more than 6,800 flying hours. His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal and Air Force Outstanding Unit Award ribbon with three oak leaf clusters.

Other awards presented to General Stafford include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, NASA Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, NASA Exceptional Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Chanute Flight Award (1976), the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Space Award, National Geographic Society's General Thomas D. White USAF Space Trophy (1975), and the Federal Aeronautique Internationale Gold Space Medal. In 1966 he was corecipient of the AIAA Award, and in 1969 he received the National Academy of Television Arts and Science Special Trustees Award.

General Stafford has received the Harmon International Aviation Trophy twice. In 1966 he was awarded the trophy for piloting Gemini VI. During this mission he performed the first rendezvous in space and helped develop techniques and basic theory for practical space rendezvous. The 1976 trophy was presented jointly to General Stafford and Colonel Alexei Leonov, Soviet Union cosmonaut, for their work on the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. For the first time two spacecraft of different designs, which had been launched from pads 6,500 miles apart, met and docked in space. General Stafford piloted the Apollo craft that was launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., and Colonel Leonov piloted the Soviet Soyuz craft that was launched from the Baikonur launch complex, Kazakhstan, U.S.S.R.

In addition General Stafford is the recipient of several honorary degrees. These include a doctorate of science from Oklahoma City University; a doctorate of laws, Western State University, Gunnison, Colo.; a doctorate of communications, Emerson College, Boston, Mass.; and a doctorate of aeronautical engineering, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Fla.

General Stafford was promoted to the grade of lieutenant general on April 1, 1978, with same date of rank.

(Current as of February 1979)

Characteristics

Departed Date: 1975-11-01. Marital Status: Married. Children: Two children. Education: Annapolis;Edwards.

Birth Place: Weatherford, Oklahoma.
Status: Inactive.


Born: 1930.09.17.
Spaceflights: 4 .
Total time in space: 21.15 days.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Astronaut Category of persons, applied to those trained for spaceflight outside of Russia and China. More...

Associated Flights
  • Gemini 3 Crew: Grissom, Young. First spacecraft to maneuver in orbit. First manned flight of Gemini spacecraft. First American to fly twice into space. Manual reentry, splashed down 97 km from carrier. Backup crew: Schirra, Stafford. More...
  • Gemini 6 Crew: Schirra, Stafford. First rendezvous of two spacecraft. Originally was to dock with an Agena target, but this blew up on way to orbit. Decision to rendezvous with upcoming Gemini 7 instead. Mission almost lost when booster ignited, then shut down on pad. Backup crew: Grissom, Young. More...
  • Gemini 9A Crew: Bassett, See. Planned mission, cancelled when prime crew killed in T-38 trainer crash. All subsequent crew assignments were reshuffled. This ended up determining who would be the first man on the moon. Backup crew: Cernan, Stafford. More...
  • Gemini 9 Crew: Cernan, Stafford. Third rendezvous mission of Gemini program. Agena target blew up on way to orbit; substitute target's shroud hung up, docking impossible. EVA almost ended in disaster when astronaut's face plate fogged over; barely able to return to spacecraft. Backup crew: Aldrin, Lovell. More...
  • Apollo 205 Crew: Cunningham, Eisele, Schirra. Planned second solo flight test of the Block I Apollo CSM on a Saturn IB. Cancelled after the Apollo 204 fire. Backup crew: Borman, Collins, Stafford. More...
  • Apollo 207 Crew: McDivitt, Schweickart, Scott. Planned Apollo D mission. Two Saturn IB launches would put Apollo CSM and LM into orbit. CSM crew would dock with LM, test it in earth orbit. Cancelled after Apollo 204 fire. Backup crew: Cernan, Stafford, Young. More...
  • Apollo 7 Crew: Cunningham, Eisele, Schirra. First manned test of the Apollo spacecraft. Although the systems worked well, the crew became grumpy with head colds and talked back to the ground. As a result, NASA management determined that none of them would fly again. Backup crew: Cernan, Stafford, Young. More...
  • Apollo 10 Crew: Cernan, Stafford, Young. Speed record (11,107 m/s). Final dress rehearsal in lunar orbit for landing on moon. LM separated and descended to 10 km from surface of moon but did not land. Backup crew: Cooper, Eisele, Mitchell. More...
  • Apollo (ASTP) Crew: Brand, Slayton, Stafford. First international joint manned space mission; first docking between two spacecraft launched from different countries. Crew nearly killed by toxic propellant vapours dumped into the cabin air supply during re-entry. Backup crew: Bean, Evans, Lousma. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • USAF American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. United States Air Force, USA. More...

Associated Programs
  • Apollo The successful US project to land a man on the moon. More...
  • ASTP Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. Meetings began in 1969 between Russian and American representatives on a joint manned space mission. Ambitious plans for use of Skylab or Salyut space stations were not approved. Instead it was decided to develop a universal docking system for space rescue. A working group was set up in October 1970 and in May 1972 the USA/USSR Agreement was signed with launch to take place in 1975. D Bushuev and G Lanin were the technical directors of the Soviet-designed EPAS docking system program. 1600 experiments were conducted in developing the system. More...
  • Gemini Gemini was conceived as an 'upgraded Mercury' to test essential orbital manoeuvring, rendezvous, docking, lifting re-entry, and space walking techniques in the four years between the last Mercury flight and the first scheduled Apollo flight. If fulfilled this mission, and numerous variants that never reached production would have serviced manned space stations and taken Americans around and to the moon - at lower cost and earlier than Apollo. More...

Bibliography
  • Air Force Link, Web Address when accessed: here.

Stafford Chronology


1962 April 18 - .
  • NASA announced that applications would be accepted for additional astronauts until June 1, 1962. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Armstrong; Borman; Conrad; Lovell; McDivitt; See; Stafford; White; Young. Spacecraft: Gemini. NASA planned to select five to ten astronauts to augment the seven-member Mercury astronaut team. The new pilots would participate in support operations in Project Mercury and would join the Mercury astronauts in piloting the two-man Gemini spacecraft. To be chosen, the applicant must (1) be an experienced jet test pilot and preferably be presently engaged in flying high-performance aircraft; (2) have attained experimental flight test status through military service, aircraft industry, or NASA, or must have graduated from a military test pilot school; (3) have earned a degree in the physical or biological sciences or in engineering; (4) be a United States citizen under 35 years of age at the time of selection, six feet or less in height; and (5) be recommended by his parent organization. Pilots meeting these qualifications would be interviewed in July and given written examinations on their engineering and scientific knowledge. Selected applicants would then be thoroughly examined by a group of medical specialists. The training program for the new astronauts would include work with design and development engineers, simulator flying, centrifuge training, additional scientific training, and flights in high-performance aircraft.

1962 September 11 - .
  • NASA Astronaut Training Group 2 selected. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Borman; Conrad; Lovell; McDivitt; See; Stafford; White; Young. The group was selected to provide pilots for the Gemini program and early Apollo missions.. Qualifications: Test pilot status (either military, NASA, or aircraft industry), qualified jet pilot with minimum 1,000 flight-hours, under 35 years old, under 183 cm height, excellent health. US citizen.. 253 applicants survived initial NASA screening of their records. Following physical and psychiatric tests, nine were selected. Eight made it to space (See was killed in a T-38 crash before his first spaceflight). This was generally considered the highest quality group of astronauts ever selected. They would command the missions during the glory days of the American space program - Gemini, Apollo, and Skylab. Young was the only astronaut to fly Gemini, Apollo, and the Shuttle program. Armstrong was the only one to fly the X-15, Gemini, and Apollo. Conrad was the only one to fly Gemini, Apollo, and Skylab.

1962 September 17 - .
  • Nine new astronauts named - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Armstrong; Borman; Conrad; Lovell; McDivitt; See; Stafford; White; Young. Program: Gemini. Spacecraft: Gemini. NASA's nine new astronauts were named in Houston, Tex., by Robert R. Gilruth, MSC Director. Chosen from 253 applicants, the former test pilots who would join the original seven Mercury astronauts in training for Projects Gemini and Apollo were: Neil A. Armstrong, NASA civilian test pilot; Maj. Frank Borman, Air Force; Lt. Charles Conrad, Jr., Navy; Lt.Cdr. James A, Lovell, Jr., Navy; Capt. James A. McDivitt, Air Force; Elliot M. See, Jr., civilian test pilot for the General Electric Company; Capt. Thomas P. Stafford, Air Force; Capt. Edward H. White II, Air Force; and Lt. Cdr. John W. Young, Navy.

1963 January 26 - .
  • Manned Spacecraft Center announced specialty areas for the nine new astronauts. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Armstrong; Borman; Conrad; Lovell; McDivitt; See; Stafford; White; Young. Spacecraft: Gemini; Gemini ECS. Manned Spacecraft Center announced specialty areas for the nine new astronauts: trainers and simulators, Neil A. Armstrong; boosters, Frank Borman; cockpit layout and systems integration, Charles Conrad, Jr.; recovery systems, James A. Lovell, Jr.; guidance and navigation, James A. McDivitt; electrical, Sequential, and mission planning, Elliot M. See, Jr.; communications, instrumentation, and range integration, Thomas P. Stafford; flight control systems, Edward H White II; and environmental control systems, personal and survival equipment, John W Young.

1963 January 26 - .
  • New assignments for the seven original astronauts - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Cooper; Grissom; Slayton; Carpenter; Shepard; Schirra; Glenn; Armstrong; Borman; Conrad; Lovell; McDivitt; See; Stafford; White; Young. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Gemini. MSC announced new assignments for the seven original astronauts: L. Gordon Cooper, Jr., and Alan B. Shepard, Jr., would be responsible for the remaining pilot phases of Project Mercury; Virgil I. Grissom would specialize in Project Gemini; John H. Glenn, Jr., would concentrate on Project Apollo; M. Scott Carpenter would cover lunar excursion training; and Walter M. Schirra, Jr., would be responsible for Gemini and Apollo operations and training. As Coordinator for Astronaut Activities, Donald K. Slayton would maintain overall supervision of astronaut duties.

    Specialty areas for the second generation were: trainers and simulators, Neil A. Armstrong; boosters, Frank Borman; cockpit layout and systems integration, Charles Conrad, Jr.; recovery system, James A. Lovell, Jr.; guidance and navigation, James A. McDivitt; electrical, sequential, and mission planning, Elliot M. See, Jr.; communications, instrumentation, and range integration, Thomas P. Stafford; flight control systems, Edward H. White II; and environmental control systems, personal equipment, and survival equipment, John W. Young.


1965 March 23 - . 14:24 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC19. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan II GLV. LV Configuration: Titan II GLV GT-3 / 62-12558.
  • Gemini 3 - . Call Sign: Molly Brown (from Broadway play 'The Unsinkable..'. Crew: Grissom; Young. Backup Crew: Schirra; Stafford. Payload: Gemini SC3. Mass: 3,225 kg (7,109 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Grissom; Young; Schirra; Stafford. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: Gemini. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Gemini 3. Spacecraft: Gemini. Duration: 0.20 days. Decay Date: 1965-03-23 . USAF Sat Cat: 1301 . COSPAR: 1965-024A. Apogee: 240 km (140 mi). Perigee: 160 km (90 mi). Inclination: 33.0000 deg. Period: 88.40 min. First manned test flight of Gemini. Virgil I. Grissom and John W. Young entered an elliptical orbit about the earth. After three orbits, the pair manually landed their spacecraft in the Atlantic Ocean, thus performing the first controlled reentry. Unfortunately, they landed much farther from the landing zone than anticipated, about 97 km (60 miles) from the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Intrepid. But otherwise the mission was highly successful. Gemini III, America's first two-manned space mission, also was the first manned vehicle that was maneuverable. Grissom used the vehicle's maneuvering rockets to effect orbital and plane changes. Grissom wanted to name the spacecraft 'Molly Brown' (as in the Unsinkable, a Debbie Reynolds/Howard Keel screen musical). NASA was not amused and stopped allowing the astronauts to name their spacecraft (until forced to when having two spacecraft aloft at once during the Apollo missions). The flight by Young was the first of an astronaut outside of the original seven. Young, who created a media flap by taking a corned beef sandwich aboard as a prank, would go on to fly to the moon on Apollo and the Space Shuttle on its first flight sixteen years later.

1965 April 5 - . LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 2.
  • Schirra and Stafford selected for Gemini-Titan 6. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Grissom; Young; Schirra; Stafford. Flight: Gemini 6. Manned Spacecraft Center announced that Walter M. Schirra, Jr., and Thomas P. Stafford had been selected as command pilot and pilot for Gemini-Titan 6, the first Gemini rendezvous and docking mission. Virgil I. Grissom and John W. Young would be the backup crew.

1965 December 15 - . 13:37 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC19. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan II GLV. LV Configuration: Titan II GLV GT-6 / 62-12561.
  • Gemini 6 - . Call Sign: Gemini 6. Crew: Schirra; Stafford. Backup Crew: Grissom; Young. Payload: Gemini SC6. Mass: 3,546 kg (7,817 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Schirra; Stafford; Grissom; Young. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: Gemini. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Gemini 6; Gemini 7. Spacecraft: Gemini; Gemini Radar. Duration: 1.08 days. Decay Date: 1965-12-16 . USAF Sat Cat: 1839 . COSPAR: 1965-104A. Apogee: 271 km (168 mi). Perigee: 258 km (160 mi). Inclination: 28.9000 deg. Period: 89.60 min. The primary objective of the mission, crewed by command pilot Astronaut Walter M. Schirra, Jr., and pilot Astronaut Thomas P. Stafford, was to rendezvous with spacecraft No. 7. Among the secondary objectives were stationkeeping with spacecraft No. 7, evaluating spacecraft reentry guidance capability, testing the visibility of spacecraft No. 7 as a rendezvous target, and conducting three experiments. After the launch vehicle inserted the spacecraft into an 87 by 140 nautical mile orbit, the crew prepared for the maneuvers necessary to achieve rendezvous. Four maneuvers preceded the first radar contact between the two spacecraft. The first maneuver, a height adjustment, came an hour and a half after insertion, at first perigee; a phase adjustment at second apogee, a plane change, and another height adjustment at second perigee followed. The onboard radar was turned on 3 hours into the mission. The first radar lock-on indicated 246 miles between the two spacecraft. The coelliptic maneuver was performed at third apogee, 3 hours 47 minutes after launch. The terminal phase initiation maneuver was performed an hour and a half later. Two midcourse corrections preceded final braking maneuvers at 5 hours 50 minutes into the flight. Rendezvous was technically accomplished and stationkeeping began some 6 minutes later when the two spacecraft were about 120 feet apart and their relative motion had stopped. Stationkeeping maneuvers continued for three and a half orbits at distances from 1 to 300 feet. Spacecraft No. 6 then initiated a separation maneuver and withdrew to a range of about 30 miles. The only major malfunction in spacecraft No. 6 during the mission was the failure of the delayed-time telemetry tape recorder at 20 hours 55 minutes ground elapsed time, which resulted in the loss of all delayed-time telemetry data for the remainder of the mission, some 4 hours and 20 minutes. The flight ended with a nominal reentry and landing in the West Atlantic, just 10 km from the planned landing point, on December 16. The crew remained in the spacecraft, which was recovered an hour later by the prime recovery ship, the aircraft carrier Wasp.

    Gemini 6 was to have been the first flight involving docking with an Agena target/propulsion stage. However the Agena blew up on the way to orbit, and the spacecraft was replaced by Gemini 7 in the launch order.

    For lack of a target, NASA decided to have Gemini 6 rendezvous with Gemini 7. This would require a quick one week turnaround of the pad after launch, no problem with Russian equipment but a big accomplishment for the Americans. The first launch attempt was aborted; the Titan II ignited for a moment, then shut down and settled back down on its launch attachments. Schirra waited it out, did not pull the abort handles that would send the man catapulting out of the capsule on their notoriously unreliable ejection seats. The booster was safed; Schirra had saved the mission and the launch three days later went perfectly. The flight went on to achieve the first manned space rendezvous controlled entirely by the self-contained, on-board guidance, control, and navigation system. This system provided the crew of Gemini 6 with attitude, thrusting, and time information needed for them to control the spacecraft during the rendezvous. Under Schirra's typically precise command, the operation was so successful that the rendezvous was complete with fuel consumption only 5% above the planned value to reach 16 m separation from Gemini 7.


1965 December 16 - .
  • Landing of Gemini 6 - . Return Crew: Schirra; Stafford. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Schirra; Stafford. Program: Gemini. Flight: Gemini 6; Gemini 7. Gemini 6 splashed down near the aircraft carrier Wasp at 15:28 GMT. The capsule was lifted to the carrier deck with the crew aboard. When the hatch doors were opened, the spacemen gave the thumbs-up while the Navy band crashed in with 'Anchors Aweigh'. It was the first recovery carried live via satellite television.

1966 June - .
  • Gemini 9A (cancelled) - . Crew: Bassett; See. Backup Crew: Cernan; Stafford. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Bassett; See; Cernan; Stafford. Program: Gemini. Flight: Gemini 9A. Spacecraft: G4C AMU; Gemini. Elliot See and Charlie Bassett were the prime crew for Gemini 9. On February 28, 1966, they were flying in a NASA T-38 trainer to visit the McDonnell plant in St Louis, where their spacecraft was in assembly. See misjudged his landing approach, and in pulling up from the runway, hit Building 101 where the spacecraft was being assembled. Both astronauts were killed, and 14 persons on the ground were injured. As a result, the Gemini 9 backup crew became the prime crew, and all subsequent crew assignments were reshuffled. This ended up determining who would be the first man on the moon.

1966 June 3 - . 13:39 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC19. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan II GLV. LV Configuration: Titan II GLV GT-9 / 62-12564.
  • Gemini 9 - . Call Sign: Gemini 9. Crew: Cernan; Stafford. Backup Crew: Aldrin; Lovell. Payload: Gemini SC9. Mass: 3,668 kg (8,086 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Cernan; Stafford; Aldrin; Lovell. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: Gemini. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Gemini 9. Spacecraft: Gemini. Duration: 3.01 days. Decay Date: 1966-06-06 . USAF Sat Cat: 2191 . COSPAR: 1966-047A. Apogee: 272 km (169 mi). Perigee: 269 km (167 mi). Inclination: 28.8000 deg. Period: 89.90 min. At the first launch attempt, while the crew waited buttoned up in the spacecraft on the pad, their Agena docking target field blew up on the way to orbit. NASA decided to use an Atlas to launch an Agena docking collar only. This was called the Augmented Target Docking Adapter. Ths was successfully launched and the Gemini succeeded in rendezvousing with it. However, the ATDA shroud had not completely separated, thus making docking impossible. However three different types of rendezvous were tested with the ATDA. Cernan began his EVA, which was to include flight with a USAF MMU rocket pack but the Gemini suit could not handle heat load of the astronaut's exertions. Cernan's faceplate fogs up, forcing him to blindly grope back into the Gemini hatch after only two hours.

    Seventh manned and third rendezvous mission of the Gemini program. Major objectives of the mission were to rendezvous and dock with the augmented target docking adapter (ATDA) and to conduct extravehicular activities (EVA). These objectives were only partially met. After successfully achieving rendezvous during the third revolution - a secondary objective - the crew discovered that the ATDA shroud had failed to separate, precluding docking - a primary objective - as well as docking practice - another secondary objective. The crew was able, however, to achieve other secondary objectives: an equi-period rendezvous, using onboard optical techniques and completed at 6 hours 36 minutes ground elapsed time; and a rendezvous from above, simulating the rendezvous of an Apollo command module with a lunar module in a lower orbit (completed at 21 hours 42 minutes ground elapsed time). Final separation maneuver was performed at 22 hours 59 minutes after liftoff. EVA was postponed because of crew fatigue, and the second day was given over to experiments. The hatch was opened for EVA at 49 hours 23 minutes ground elapsed time. EVA was successful, but one secondary objective - evaluation of the astronaut maneuvering unit (AMU) - was not achieved because Cernan's visor began fogging. The extravehicular life support system apparently became overloaded with moisture when Cernan had to work harder than anticipated to prepare the AMU for donning. Cernan reentered the spacecraft, and the hatch was closed at 51 hours 28 minutes into the flight. The rest of the third day was spent on experiments.


1966 June 6 - .
  • Landing of Gemini 9 - . Return Crew: Cernan; Stafford. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Cernan; Stafford. Program: Gemini. Flight: Gemini 9. Following the third sleep period, the crew prepared for retrofire, which was initiated during the 45th revolution. The spacecraft landed at 13:59 GMTwithin 1.6 km of the primary recovery ship, the aircraft carrier Wasp. The crew remained with the spacecraft, which was hoisted aboard 53 minutes after landing.

1966 September 29 - .
  • Second planned manned Apollo flight crew was named by NASA - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Schirra; Eisele; Cunningham; Borman; Stafford; Collins. Program: Apollo. The second planned manned Apollo flight crew was named by NASA. Prime crew members were Walter M. Schirra, Jr., command pilot; Donn F. Eisele, senior pilot; and R. Walter Cunningham, pilot. Backup crewmen were Frank Borman, command pilot; Thomas P. Stafford, senior pilot; and Michael Collins, pilot. The flight was scheduled for 1967. It would be the first space mission for Eisele and Cunningham.

    The second manned Apollo mission was planned as an open-ended earth orbital mission up to 14 days. Increased emphasis on scientific experiments as well as repeating some activities from the first planned manned flight would characterize the mission. (The first planned manned Apollo mission was ended by a tragic accident during a test January 27, 1967.)


1967 April - .
  • Apollo 205 (cancelled) - . Crew: Cunningham; Eisele; Schirra. Backup Crew: Borman; Collins; Stafford. Payload: CSM-014. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Cunningham; Eisele; Schirra; Borman; Collins; Stafford. Program: Apollo. Flight: Apollo 205. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM. It was originally planned to make a second solo flight test of the Block I Apollo CSM on a Saturn IB. The flight was finally seen as unnecessary; the decision to cancel it came on November 16, 1966. After the Apollo 1 fire on January 27, 1967, the Schirra crew was assigned to Apollo 7, the first manned flight test of the new Block II Apollo CSM-101.

1967 August - . LV Family: Saturn I; Saturn V.
  • Apollo 207 (cancelled) - . Crew: McDivitt; Schweickart; Scott. Backup Crew: Cernan; Stafford; Young. Payload: CSM-101. Nation: USA. Related Persons: McDivitt; Schweickart; Scott; Cernan; Stafford; Young. Program: Apollo. Flight: Apollo 207. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM. Before the Apollo 1 fire, it was planned that McDivitt's crew would conduct the Apollo D mission - a first manned test in earth orbit of the Lunar Module. Separate Saturn IB launches would put Apollo Block II CSM 101 / AS-207 and Lunar Module LM-2 / AS-208 into earth orbit. The crew would then rendezvous and dock with the lunar module and put it through its paces. After the fire, it was decided to launch the mission on a single Saturn V as Apollo 9.

1968 October 11 - . 15:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC34. LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn IB. LV Configuration: Saturn IB SA-205.
  • Apollo 7 - . Call Sign: Apollo 7. Crew: Cunningham; Eisele; Schirra. Backup Crew: Cernan; Stafford; Young. Payload: Apollo CSM 101 / S-IVB-205. Mass: 14,674 kg (32,350 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Cunningham; Eisele; Schirra; Cernan; Stafford; Young. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: Apollo. Class: Moon. Type: Manned lunar spacecraft. Flight: Apollo 7. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM. Duration: 10.84 days. Decay Date: 1968-10-22 . USAF Sat Cat: 3486 . COSPAR: 1968-089A. Apogee: 306 km (190 mi). Perigee: 229 km (142 mi). Inclination: 31.6000 deg. Period: 89.90 min. Apollo 7 (AS-205), the first manned Apollo flight, lifted off from Launch Complex 34 at Cape Kennedy Oct. 11, carrying Walter M. Schirra, Jr., Donn F. Eisele, and R. Walter Cunningham. The countdown had proceeded smoothly, with only a slight delay because of additional time required to chill the hydrogen system in the S-IVB stage of the Saturn launch vehicle. Liftoff came at 11:03 a.m. EDT. Shortly after insertion into orbit, the S-IVB stage separated from the CSM, and Schirra and his crew performed a simulated docking with the S-IVB stage, maneuvering to within 1.2 meters of the rocket. Although spacecraft separation was normal, the crew reported that one adapter panel had not fully deployed. Two burns using the reaction control system separated the spacecraft and launch stage and set the stage for an orbital rendezvous maneuver, which the crew made on the second day of the flight, using the service propulsion engine.

    Crew and spacecraft performed well throughout the mission. During eight burns of the service propulsion system during the flight, the engine functioned normally. October 14, third day of the mission, witnessed the first live television broadcast from a manned American spacecraft.


1969 May 18 - . 16:49 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn V. LV Configuration: Saturn V SA-505.
  • Apollo 10 - . Call Sign: Charlie Brown. Crew: Cernan; Stafford; Young. Backup Crew: Cooper; Eisele; Mitchell. Payload: Apollo CSM 106 / Apollo LM 4 / Saturn S-IVB-505N. Mass: 28,870 kg (63,640 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Cernan; Stafford; Young; Cooper; Eisele; Mitchell. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: Apollo. Class: Moon. Type: Manned lunar spacecraft. Flight: Apollo 10. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM. Duration: 8.00 days. Decay Date: 1969-05-26 . USAF Sat Cat: 3941 . COSPAR: 1969-043A. Apogee: 186 km (115 mi). Perigee: 185 km (114 mi). Inclination: 32.5000 deg. Period: 88.19 min. Final dress rehearsal in lunar orbit for landing on moon. LM separated and descended to 10 km from surface of moon but did not land. Apollo 10 (AS-505) - with crew members Thomas P. Stafford, Eugene A. Cernan, and John W. Young aboard - lifted off from Pad B, Launch Complex 39, KSC, at 12:49 p.m. EDT on the first lunar orbital mission with complete spacecraft. The Saturn V's S-IVB stage and the spacecraft were inserted into an earth parking orbit of 189.9 by 184.4 kilometers while the onboard systems were checked. The S-IVB engine was then ignited at 3:19 p.m. EDT to place the spacecraft in a trajectory toward the moon. One-half hour later the CSM separated from the S-IVB, transposed, and docked with the lunar module. At 4:29 p.m. the docked spacecraft were ejected, a separation maneuver was performed, and the S-IVB was placed in a solar orbit by venting residual propellants. TV coverage of docking procedures was transmitted to the Goldstone, Calif., tracking station for worldwide, commercial viewing.

    On May 19 the crew elected not to make the first of a series of midcourse maneuvers. A second preplanned midcourse correction that adjusted the trajectory to coincide with a July lunar landing trajectory was executed at 3:19 p.m. The maneuver was so accurate that preplanned third and fourth midcourse corrections were canceled. During the translunar coast, five color TV transmissions totaling 72 minutes were made of the spacecraft and the earth.

    At 4:49 p.m. EDT on May 21 the spacecraft was inserted into a lunar orbit of 110.4 by 315.5 kilometers. After two revolutions of tracking and ground updates, a maneuver circularized the orbit at 109.1 by 113.9 kilometers. Astronaut Cernan then entered the LM, checked all systems, and returned to the CM for the scheduled sleep period.

    On May 22 activation of the lunar module systems began at 11:49 a.m. EDT. At 2:04 p.m. the spacecraft were undocked and at 4:34 p.m. the LM was inserted into a descent orbit. One hour later the LM made a low-level pass at an altitude of 15.4 kilometers over the planned site for the first lunar landing. The test included a test of the landing radar, visual observation of lunar lighting, stereo photography of the moon, and execution of a phasing maneuver using the descent engine. The lunar module returned to dock successfully with the CSM following the eight-hour separation, and the LM crew returned to the CSM.

    The LM ascent stage was jettisoned, its batteries were burned to depletion, and it was placed in a solar orbit on May 23. The crew then prepared for the return trip to earth and after 61.5 hours in lunar orbit a service propulsion system TEI burn injected the CSM into a trajectory toward the earth. During the return trip the astronauts made star-lunar landmark sightings, star-earth horizon navigation sightings, and live television transmissions.


1969 May 26 - .
  • Landing of Apollo 10 - . Return Crew: Cernan; Stafford; Young. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Cernan; Stafford; Young. Program: Apollo. Flight: Apollo 10. Apollo 10 splashed down in the Pacific at 12:52 p.m. EDT on May 26, 5.4 kilometers from the recovery ship. The crew was picked up and reached the recovery ship U.S.S. Princeton at 16:52 GMT. All primary mission objectives of evaluating performance and support and the detailed test objectives were achieved.

1975 July 15 - . 19:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn IB. LV Configuration: Saturn IB SA-210.
  • Apollo (ASTP) - . Call Sign: Apollo. Crew: Brand; Slayton; Stafford. Backup Crew: Bean; Evans; Lousma. Payload: Apollo CSM 111. Mass: 14,768 kg (32,557 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Brand; Slayton; Stafford; Bean; Evans; Lousma. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: ASTP. Class: Moon. Type: Manned lunar spacecraft. Flight: Soyuz 19 (ASTP); Apollo (ASTP). Spacecraft: Apollo CSM. Duration: 9.06 days. Decay Date: 1975-07-24 . USAF Sat Cat: 8032 . COSPAR: 1975-066A. Apogee: 166 km (103 mi). Perigee: 152 km (94 mi). Inclination: 51.7000 deg. Period: 87.60 min. This flight marked the culmination of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, a post-moon race 'goodwill' flight to test a common docking system for space rescue. 15 July 1975 began with the flawless launch of Soyuz 19. Apollo followed right on schedule. Despite a stowaway - a 'super Florida mosquito' - the crew accomplished a series of rendezvous manoeuvres over the next day resulting in rendezvous with Soyuz 19. At 11:10 on 17 July the two spacecraft docked. The crew members rotated between the two spacecraft and conducted various mainly ceremonial activities. Stafford spent 7 hours, 10 minutes aboard Soyuz, Brand 6:30, and Slayton 1:35. Leonov was on the American side for 5 hours, 43 minutes, while Kubasov spent 4:57 in the command and docking modules.

    After being docked for nearly 44 hours, Apollo and Soyuz parted for the first time and were station-keeping at a range of 50 meters. The Apollo crew placed its craft between Soyuz and the sun so that the diameter of the service module formed a disk which blocked out the sun. This artificial solar eclipse, as viewed from Soyuz, permitted photography of the solar corona. After this experiment Apollo moved towards Soyuz for the second docking.

    Three hours later Apollo and Soyuz undocked for the second and final time. The spacecraft moved to a 40 m station-keeping distance so that the ultraviolet absorption (UVA MA-059) experiment could be performed. This was an effort to more precisely determine the quantities of atomic oxygen and atomic nitrogen existing at such altitudes. Apollo, flying out of plane around Soyuz, projected monochromatic laser-like beams of light to retro-reflectors mounted on Soyuz. On the 150-meter phase of the experiment, light from a Soyuz port led to a misalignment of the spectrometer, but on the 500-meter pass excellent data were received; on the 1,000-meter pass satisfactory results were also obtained.

    With all the joint flight activities completed, the ships went on their separate ways. On 20 July the Apollo crew conducted earth observation, experiments in the multipurpose furnace (MA-010), extreme ultraviolet surveying (MA-083), crystal growth (MA-085), and helium glow (MA-088). On 21 July Soyuz 19 landed safely in Kazakhstan. Apollo continued in orbit on 22-23 July to conduct 23 independent experiments - including a doppler tracking experiment (MA-089) and geodynamics experiment (MA-128) designed to verify which of two techniques would be best suited for studying plate tectonics from earth orbit.

    After donning their space suits, the crew vented the command module tunnel and jettisoned the docking module. The docking module would continue on its way until it re-entered the earth's atmosphere and burned up in August 1975.


1975 July 24 - .
  • Landing of Apollo (ASTP) - . Return Crew: Brand; Slayton; Stafford. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Brand; Slayton; Stafford. Program: ASTP. Flight: Apollo (ASTP). Apollo (ASTP) landed at 21:18 GMT, 7.3 km from the recovery ship New Orleans. It was the last splashdown of an American space capsule. However the flight of the last Apollo spacecraft was marred by the fact that the crew almost perished while the capsule was descending under its parachute.

    A failure in switchology led the automatic landing sequence to be not armed at the same time the reaction control system was still active. When the Apollo hadn't begun the parachute deployment sequence by 7,000 metres altitude, Brand hit the manual switches for the apex cover and the drogues. The manual deployment of the drogue chutes caused the CM to sway, and the reaction control system thrusters worked vigorously to counteract that motion. When the crew finally armed the automatic ELS 30 seconds later, the thruster action terminated.

    During that 30 seconds, the cabin was flooded with a mixture of toxic unignited propellants from the thrusters. Prior to drogue deployment, the cabin pressure relief valve had opened automatically, and in addition to drawing in fresh air it also brought in unwanted gases being expelled from the roll thrusters located about 0.6 meter from the relief valve. Brand manually deployed the main parachutes at about 2,700 meters despite the gas fumes in the cabin.

    By the time of splashdown, the crew was nearly unconscious from the fumes, Stafford managed to get an oxygen mask over Brand's face. He then began to come around. When the command module was upright in the water, Stafford opened the vent valve, and with the in-rush of air the remaining fumes disappeared. The crew ended up with a two-week hospital stay in Honolulu. For Slayton, it also meant the discovery of a small lesion on his left lung and an exploratory operation that indicated it was a non-malignant tumour. Additional Details: here....


Home - Browse - Contact
© / Conditions for Use