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From: Henry Spencer <>
Subject: Re: astronaut history (was Re: What happened to Neil Armstrong?)
Date: Sun, 2 Feb 1997 06:34:11 GMT

In article <>,
om <> wrote:
>1) -what- was the nature of the injury Mike Collins experienced, and
>does it signify that NASA viewed surgery and its post effects as being
>less of a flight risk than an irregular heartbeat?

Nobody was sure precisely why it happened -- perhaps the result of the
one time he'd had to eject as a fighter pilot, because ejection is a
very violent process that is hard on the spine -- but one of the disks
in Collins's spine had worked loose from its adjoining vertebrae and
slid down into the spinal-cord cavity, and the pressure it was exerting
was causing progressively worsening neurological problems.

Basically, NASA considered this a non-risk because the USAF flight
surgeons had seen this sort of thing before and had well-defined rules
about how to deal with it and what criteria had to be met for a return
to flight status.  Collins had surgery, the results were as intended,
he was restored to flight status, case closed.

>2) Prior to the A1 fire and the later "quiet panic" caused by the
>discovery of the Russians' N-1 attempts, what was A11's originally
>planned mission goal? Was this intended as an earth-orbit LM checkout,
>or was the higher-altitude-but-dropped class of missions that fell
>between the "D" and "J" missions?

Well, the first thing to realize was that nobody had really thought
very far ahead before the fire.  Seems hard to believe, but in fact
there were apparently only the vaguest plans for the flight sequence
to follow the first couple of LEO test flights.  Even Owen Maynard's
alphabetical mission sequence appeared during the post-fire hiatus.

As for the post-fire plans based on the alphabetical sequence, in
them, Apollo 11 was -- surprise surprise -- the landing attempt.
Assuming the previous missions worked, that is.

The A missions were Saturn V test and high-speed Apollo reentry.  There
had to be two of them to test out the two worst cases for the reentry:
worst-case steep for maximum heating rate, worst-case shallow for max
total heat load.  Apollos 4 and 6.

The B mission was unmanned LM testing.  Apollo 5.

The C mission was LEO manned CSM testing, including crew accommodations
and navigation systems.  Apollo 7.

The D mission was LEO combined operations, CSM and LM.  Originally to be
Apollo 8.  Actually flown (by the original Apollo 8 crew) as Apollo 9
because the LM wasn't ready for 8.

The E mission was combined operations in deep space, without the Moon
to get in the way.  Originally to be Apollo 9.  Actually flown in
heavily modified form, around the Moon without the LM, as Apollo 8.

The F mission was the dress rehearsal, combined operations in lunar orbit
without landing.  Apollo 10.

And the G mission was the landing.  Apollo 11.

I suppose I might as well be complete...

The H missions were G missions with various minor modifications for
improved results.  In particular, H included the full surface-instrument
package, which had been bumped off G because of concerns about trying to
cram too much complexity into the first landing.  Originally 12-15,
actually 12-14.

The I missions were somewhat-hypothetical lunar-orbit-only missions, with
remote-sensing packages and no lander, which were proposed early on and
met an early demise when it became clear that there probably wasn't going
to be an ongoing lunar exploration program.  Some of the instruments got
into J.

The J missions were improved H missions, with the long-stay LM, the rover,
and the CSM orbital instrument package.  Originally 16-20, actually 15-17.

And anything beyond J was just words on paper.
"We don't care.  We don't have to.  You'll buy     |       Henry Spencer
whatever we ship, so why bother?  We're Microsoft."|

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