Pawelk198604

Why does Neil Armstrong get Apollo 11 command and not for exemple Pete Conrad who had more experience?

Recommended Posts

Neil is a pretty capable guy, as shown in the gemini mission where he saved himself and his fellow astronauts with RCS controls. His quick thinking abilities and general knowledge to spacecraft control makes him an excellent choice during emergencies, especially those that happen on the far side of the moon.

Edited by Xd the great

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why did Neil get picked?

They selected crews for flights not sure which crew would land first, it all depended on how each mission went leading up to it, and in fact they pushed the schedule up a mission after crews were already picked.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Armstrong had some dirt on Deke Slayton and threatened to turn it over to the Russians, along with proof that the Apollo Program was being faked in a remote area of the Florida Everglades, unless Slayton gave Armstrong the fame he deeply craved by making him the "first" man to "walk" on the "moon".  It was basically blackmail that got him the command.

 

Either that, or he was qualified and his crew came up at the right time in the rotation.

 

Keep in mind, Apollo 11 was the first attempt to land on the moon, with no assurance that it would be successful.  If they had to abort for any number of reasons, Pete Conrad would have been the first.

Edited by razark
  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Apollo 1 fire.  The schedule was set to have Pete Conrad as the first man on the moon until Apollo 1 delayed everything by a year and completely upset the schedule.  Also after that Gemini flight, nobody was worried about Neil's ability to handle flight decisions (both making the decisions and carrying them out) under extreme pressure.  He was never seen as the best "stick man" in the X-15 program, but certainly one of the first choices in something like the first trip to the moon, and that was probably enough to keep them from reworking the schedule to put Pete back in command of the "first" mission.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Spoiler

Because he had several times avoided a catastrophe, so they decided that he is lucky. It was a cheating.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, kerbiloid said:
  Reveal hidden contents

Because he had several times avoided a catastrophe, so they decided that he is lucky. It was a cheating.

 

Considering the history of Neil Armstrong's "incidents", I think we can come to one conclusion.

On September 3, 1951: Making a low bombing run at 350 mph (560 km/h), Armstrong's F9F Panther was hit by anti-aircraft fire. While trying to regain control, he collided with a pole at a height of 20 feet (6 m), which sliced off 3 feet (1 m) of the Panther's right wing. Armstrong flew the plane back to friendly territory, but due to the loss of the aileron, ejection was his only safe option. He intended to eject over water and await rescue by Navy helicopters, but his parachute was blown back over land. A jeep driven by a roommate from flight school picked him up...

On March 22, 1956, he was in a Boeing B-29 Superfortress, which was to air-drop a Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket. As they climbed to 30,000 feet, the number-four engine stopped and the propeller began windmilling. The aircraft needed to hold an airspeed of 210 mph to launch its Skyrocket payload, and the B-29 could not land with the Skyrocket attached to its belly. At the instant of launch, the number four propeller disintegrated. Pieces of it damaged the number three engine and hit the number two engine. [The pilot] and Armstrong were forced to shut down the damaged number three engine, along with the number one engine, due to the torque it created. They made a slow, circling descent using only the number two engine, and landed safely.

His first flight in a rocket-powered aircraft was on August 15, 1957, in the Bell X-1B, to an altitude of 11.4 miles. On landing, the poorly designed nose landing gear failed...


Armstrong was involved in several incidents that went down in Edwards folklore or were chronicled in the memoirs of colleagues:

During his sixth X-15 flight on April 20, 1962, he flew to a height of over 207,000 feet. He held up the aircraft nose for too long during its descent to demonstrate the MH-96's g-limiting performance, and the X-15 ballooned back up to around 140,000 feet. He flew past the landing field at Mach 3 at over 100,000 feet, and ended up 40 miles south of Edwards. After sufficient descent, he turned back toward the landing area, and landed, just missing Joshua trees at the south end.

On April 24, 1962, Armstrong flew for the only time with Chuck Yeager. Their job, flying a T-33, was to evaluate Smith Ranch Dry Lake in Nevada for use as an emergency landing site for the X-15. In his autobiography, Yeager wrote that he knew the lake bed was unsuitable for landings after recent rains, but Armstrong insisted on flying out anyway. As they attempted a touch-and-go, the wheels became stuck and they had to wait for rescue.

On May 21, 1962, Armstrong was involved in the "Nellis Affair". He was sent in an F-104 to inspect Delamar Dry Lake in southern Nevada, again for emergency landings. He misjudged his altitude, and did not realize that the landing gear had not fully extended. As he touched down, the landing gear began to retract; Armstrong applied full power to abort the landing, but the ventral fin and landing gear door struck the ground, damaging the radio and releasing hydraulic fluid. Without radio communication, Armstrong flew south to Nellis Air Force Base, past the control tower, and waggled his wings, the signal for a no-radio approach. The loss of hydraulic fluid caused the tailhook to release, and upon landing, he caught the arresting wire attached to an anchor chain, and dragged the chain along the runway.
It took thirty minutes to clear the runway and rig another arresting cable. Armstrong telephoned Edwards and asked for someone to collect him. Milt Thompson was sent in an F-104B, the only two-seater available, but a plane Thompson had never flown. With great difficulty, Thompson made it to Nellis, where a strong crosswind caused a hard landing and the left main tire suffered a blowout. The runway was again closed to clear it, and Bill Dana was sent to Nellis in a T-33, but he almost landed long. The Nellis base operations office then decided that to avoid any further problems, it would be best to find the three NASA pilots ground transport back to Edwards.


And at NASA:

Gemini 8 launched on March 16, 1966, a rendezvous and docking with an unmanned Agena target vehicle. Out of contact with the ground, the docked spacecraft began to roll, and Armstrong attempted to correct this with the Orbit Attitude and Maneuvering System (OAMS) of the Gemini spacecraft. Following the earlier advice of Mission Control, they undocked, but found that the roll increased dramatically to the point where they were turning about once per second, indicating a problem with Gemini's attitude control. Armstrong engaged the Reentry Control System (RCS) and turned off the OAMS.

On May 6, 1968, while Armstrong was piloting the Lunar Landing Research Vehicles (LLRV) 100 feet above the ground, hi's controls started to degrade and the LLRV began rolling. He ejected safely. Later analysis suggested that if he had ejected half a second later, his parachute would not have opened in time. His only injury was from biting his tongue. The LLRV was completely destroyed.

July 20, 1969: Three minutes into the lunar descent burn, Armstrong noted that craters were passing about two seconds too early, which meant the LM Eagle would probably touch down several miles beyond the planned landing zone. As the Eagle's landing radar acquired the surface, several computer error alarms appeared. Even with their extensive training, neither Armstrong nor Aldrin was aware of what the 1202 and 1201 alarms meant. When Armstrong noticed they were heading toward a landing area which he believed was unsafe, he took over manual control of the LM, and attempted to find an area which seemed safer, taking longer than expected. Upon landing, Aldrin and Armstrong believed they had 40 seconds left on their fuel, including the 20 seconds' worth which had to be saved in the event of an abort. While preparing for the liftoff from the lunar surface, Armstrong and Aldrin discovered that, in their bulky spacesuits, they had broken the ignition switch for the ascent engine; using part of a pen, they pushed the circuit breaker in to activate the launch sequence.

 

I mean, let's be honest here.  What are the chances of all this happening to one single pilot? A pilot that went on to make the first landing on the moon?  If you were to choose that man, would you pick someone who was involved in so many "accidents"?

The obvious conclusion, therefore, is that Neil Armstrong was, without any doubt, using quicksave/reload!

  • Like 19

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Greetings all,

I'm no expert on Armstrong's biography but one recent commentator pointed out (following the release of ''First Man' in cinemas) that one of the reason Armstrong was the natural choice was that he was one of the few that had survived the training / recruitment process unscathed.

Practically every vehicle he piloted or tested on his way to the Apollo 11 capsule killed other men or, if they survived, left their reputation in ruins with those making the placement decisions. 

 

Also in his favor was that at the time that he entered the Space Program he was a CIVILIAN test pilot, which the US administration considered a plus, as opposed to the USSR's almost totally military fighter-jock parade of cosmonauts. 

 

As an aside there is a paragraph from John Mitchner's novel ""Space"" which is apparently a truthful comment on Armstrong's test pilot work ethic (based on the testament given to the author by the men who witnessed the event): After a crash landing (which might have been due to a flame-out on take-off, if I am remembering correctly) Armstrong calmly sat in the cockpit and and recorded the dial readings and followed the engine procedure to the letter, all the while sitting in what was essentially a big can fuel of aviation fuel with a live burny bit at the tail end. When fellow pilots arrived on a Jeep to rescue him he waved them off because they were too close. He did not exist the wreck until the emergency vehicles had arrived and hosed it down.

 

Basically Armstrong was B@dA$$ but was too busy doing his job to notice. 

 

Regards

Orc

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Orc said:

Armstrong was the natural choice was that he was one of the few that had survived the training / recruitment process unscathed

One more evidence that he was using F5/F9!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Orc said:

 Practically every vehicle he piloted or tested on his way to the Apollo 11 capsule killed other men or, if they survived, left their reputation in ruins with those making the placement decisions

 


As to the first claim, being a military pilot in the 1950's was a fairly dangerous way to make a living - Armstrong is one of thousands (tens of thousands?) to have piloted a plane that "killed other men".  (Sometimes many of them.)  As to the second...  absent citations, I call bovine exhaust.
 

8 minutes ago, Orc said:

Also in his favor was that at the time that he entered the Space Program he was a CIVILIAN test pilot, which the US administration considered a plus, as opposed to the USSR's almost totally military fighter-jock parade of cosmonauts.


That makes the nonsensical assumption that at the time he was assigned as backup Commander for Apollo 8 it was known for certain that Apollo 11 would be the first landing (as opposed to further testing of the LM in a repeat of 9 or 10).  Nor is there any evidence that the Administration (or even NASA HQ for that matter) meddled in flight crew assignments.

Basically, whoever is peddling that nonsense is full of unprintable words that would get me banned from the forums.

The only person who knows for certain why Neil Armstrong was assigned to Apollo 8 (and subsequently to Apollo 11 by rotation) is Deke Slayton.  And to the best of my knowledge he took his reasons to his grave.  With only a few exceptions he was fairly reticent about his reasons for crew assignments.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, DerekL1963 said:


As to the first claim, being a military pilot in the 1950's was a fairly dangerous way to make a living - Armstrong is one of thousands (tens of thousands?) to have piloted a plane that "killed other men".  (Sometimes many of them.)  As to the second...  absent citations, I call bovine exhaust.
 


That makes the nonsensical assumption that at the time he was assigned as backup Commander for Apollo 8 it was known for certain that Apollo 11 would be the first landing (as opposed to further testing of the LM in a repeat of 9 or 10).  Nor is there any evidence that the Administration (or even NASA HQ for that matter) meddled in flight crew assignments.

Basically, whoever is peddling that nonsense is full of unprintable words that would get me banned from the forums.

The only person who knows for certain why Neil Armstrong was assigned to Apollo 8 (and subsequently to Apollo 11 by rotation) is Deke Slayton.  And to the best of my knowledge he took his reasons to his grave.  With only a few exceptions he was fairly reticent about his reasons for crew assignments.

Armstrong was not on Apollo 8. That was the one that did the lunar orbit with no LEM attached. (Half of the reason why Lovell is the only person to have flown to the moon twice without landing either time.)

Apollo 11 was Armstrong's only Apollo flight.

Edited by mikegarrison

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

Armstrong was not on Apollo 8. That was the one that did the lunar orbit with no LEM attached. (Half of the reason why Lovell is the only person to have flown to the moon twice without landing either time.)

Apollo 11 was Armstrong's only Apollo flight.

He was on the backup crew for Apollo 8, and in most cases they had a 3 mission rotation from Backup to Main crew.

 

As well as the Apollo 1 fire I think someone dropped out due to illness than resulted in a big reshuffle, however the first landing could potentially have been 10, 11, or 12, so luck came in to it quite a lot.

I'd highly recommend reading Gene Cernan's book "Last man on the moon", he was LM pilot on Apollo 10 and commander of Apollo 17 (having turned down the job of LM pilot on 13 in order to get command of a later mission), he explains it quite well and is a well written book.  I'm currently reading John Youngs "Forever young" and it's interesting but not as good a read.  I read Mike Collins (Apollo 11 CM pilot) book "Carrying the fire" some time back and it's not bad either.

Interestingly neither Cernan or Young seem to think much of Aldrin, who was apparently kicking up a fuss before 11 that he should be the first one out of the door not Armstrong.   I don't recall Collins slagging him off though.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, RizzoTheRat said:

He was on the backup crew for Apollo 8, and in most cases they had a 3 mission rotation from Backup to Main crew.

Ah. OK.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, razark said:

 

The obvious conclusion, therefore, is that Neil Armstrong was, without any doubt, using quicksave/reload!

 

LOL i cannot stop laughing that was good one! :D  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, mikegarrison said:

Armstrong was not on Apollo 8


Try reading what I wrote Mike:

13 hours ago, DerekL1963 said:

That makes the nonsensical assumption that at the time he was assigned as backup Commander for Apollo 8 it was known for certain that Apollo 11 would be the first landing (as opposed to further testing of the LM in a repeat of 9 or 10).


He was the backup commander for Apollo 8, and that's why (via Deke's "backup crew-skip two-flight crew" system) he was commander of 11.   That rotation system wasn't strictly adhered to, but it's generally the first place to look when the question "why did x fly [Gemini|Apollo] y?" comes up.

I'd second Rizzo's recommendation to read Cernan's autobiography (though Cernan was a bit of a publicity hound).  You should also read Deke! (Deke Slayton's autobiography) for further insight into the crew assignment/rotation system during Gemini and Apollo.  The big caveat is, as I said above, folks who aren't Deke (such as Cernan) are giving their viewpoint (which may or may not reflect reality) and Deke himself was generally reticent to discuss details of why someone was or wasn't chosen for a particular flight.

On that particular topic...  Apollo 1 has been mentioned as big influence on who flew what mission, but another (less recognized) influence was the deaths of Elliot See and Charles Basset - the prime crew of Gemini 9.  That shook up the rotation of the late Gemini missions and affected who got backup and flight crew experience.  Stafford was promoted to prime, getting his 2nd flight.  Cernan was also promoted to prime, getting his first flight.  Lovell went from backup commander of Gemini 10 to backup commander of Gemini 9 (and thus flew as commander on Gemini 12).  Aldrin made the same shift from backup pilot on 10, to eventually flying 12.  (If you do the math, backing up 10 was a dead end - because there was not going be a Gemini 13.)

The big beneficiary here was probably Aldrin - with no Gemini flight experience, when does he get slotted into Apollo?

Edited by DerekL1963
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, DerekL1963 said:

You should also read Deke! (Deke Slayton's autobiography)

Is that a decent read?  I've only read Collins, Cernan and half of Young so far.  I understand Armstrong's is a bit of a dull/dry read compared to some (not seen the film yet).   Bizarrely Deke! shows up for kindle on US and NL Amazon but only paperback in UK :blink: 

 

 

 

 

Re the 3 flight rotation thing, it seemed to be a pretty good process.  John Young reckons that because of the training on the Command Module and Landing module his crew had done as backup for 13 they were able to spend 40% of their training time for 16 on surface activities and a lot less on the spacecraft than they had for 13.  Plus the backup crews did get used, Swigert got bumped up from Backup to Prime crew for 13 just days before the launch when one of the prime crew was exposed to measles.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, DerekL1963 said:

Try reading what I wrote Mike

I did read what you wrote. Just not all of what you wrote. Sorry.

Edited by mikegarrison

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Deke! is a decent read IIRC, it's been a few years though...  But I read them for scholarly purposes, not entertainment and that skews my perception.   Armstrong's, if you're speaking of First Man, is dry/dull because it's a scholarly biography rather than a popular autobiography like the others you list.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/27/2018 at 3:25 AM, RizzoTheRat said:

Interestingly neither Cernan or Young seem to think much of Aldrin, who was apparently kicking up a fuss before 11 that he should be the first one out of the door not Armstrong.   I don't recall Collins slagging him off though.

I knew a few of the engineers on the Apollo program* (probably junior engineers during the design, although retired by the time I met them) and one of them had driven Armstrong and Aldrin somewhere and would only say that "one was a gentleman and he wasn't impressed with the other".  It didn't take a whole lot of digging to learn who was who.

I suspect that if Collins (or Armstrong) had a real issue with Aldrin, they wouldn't have had to spend a couple weeks in a small can with him.  Astronauts get crabby enough as it is (still reading "Packing for Mars", which discusses this) and it would be dangerous to have real personal problems during flight.

* not NASA.  They worked for Martin.  Which eventually merged with every other aerospace firm to become the Lockheed we know today.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, wumpus said:

I suspect that if Collins (or Armstrong) had a real issue with Aldrin, they wouldn't have had to spend a couple weeks in a small can with him.


I dunno. 

From various sources, Armstrong-Aldrin-Collins were noticeably not as friendly with each other as other crews...  But they're often held out as proof that any three astronauts [in that era] could form a crew and successfully complete a flight.  All three have military backgrounds, and one of the things the military teaches you is how to submerge such differences (at least while on duty).  Then there's the intense competitiveness to get a flight, and a reluctance to do anything that might jeopardize that.  Etc... etc...  I dunno what standards to use to judge, as the situation is not a normal one.

I will say this however, the guy I worked best with in MCC, the guy that given a choice I'd choose to partner with me on a task - was a guy I absolutely loathed when we were off the boat.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(Why should a crew be friendly? Absence of incompatible habits, and leadership questions being already solved, looks enough.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, kerbiloid said:

(Why should a crew be friendly? Absence of incompatible habits, and leadership questions being already solved, looks enough.)

When you're stuck in a small area with a few folks for an extended time and completely cut off from anyone and anywhere else, being friendly with your crew can be very essential.  It's not like one guy can step outside and take a walk for a few hours to cool off during a trans-lunar injection.

Otherwise, NASA has to come up with rules on homicide in space, as well as protocol for dealing with the mess.  Considering the low-residue food they used, I imagine Apollo capsules were not designed and equipped for an extreme excess of bodily fluids after the CMP perforates the the LMP with a lunar sample shovel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, razark said:

an extended time

Just a week, and they still have occupations to stay busy.

Also ISS crew anyway will consist of random people.

Edited by kerbiloid

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now