NASA News Release


Release No: 66-67

March 21, 1966

12 Selected For Coming NASA Missions

WASHINGTON D.C. March 21, 1966 -- Twelve astronauts were named to flight crews today -- including the first manned Apollo mission -- and two others assigned earlier were shifted to a different mission.

Prime crewman for the Apollo Earth-orbital mission, tentatively scheduled in the first quarter of 1967, are Lt. Col. Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, USAF; Lt. Col. Edward H. White II, USAF; and Navy Lt. Roger B. Chaffee. Their backups are Lt. Col. James A. McDivitt, USAF; Maj. David R. Scott, USAF; and Russell L. Schweickart, a civilian employee of NASA.

Assigned as prime crewman for the Gemini II mission scheduled in the last quarter of this year, are Navy Cmdr. Charles " Pete" Conrad, Jr., command pilot; and Navy Lt. Cmdr. Richard F. Gordon, Jr., pilot. Backups are Neil A. Armstrong, command pilot; and USAF Capt. William A. Anders, pilot.

Backup crewman for the Gemini 10 flight, Navy Capt. James A. Lovell, Jr., and USAF Maj. Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr., were reassigned as backup crew for Gemini 9. The original Gemini 9 backups, USAF Lt. Col. Thomas P. Stafford and Navy Lt. Cmdr. Eugene A. Cernan, became prime crewman for that mission after the deaths of civilian astronaut Elliot M. See, Jr., and USAF Maj. Charles A. Bassett II, last Feb. 28.

Replacing Lovell and Aldrin as the backup crew for Gemini 10 are Navy Lt. Cmdr. Alan L. Bean, and Marine Maj. Clifton C. Williams, Jr.

The first manned Apollo mission could come as early as the fourth flight of Saturn IB. The first Saturn IB flew successfully on Feb. 26.

Duration of the first manned Apollo mission, as presently conceived, will be determined on an orbit-by-orbit basis for the first six orbits, then on a day-by-day basis for up to 14 days maximum. Its orbit is to carry as high as 265 statute miles with a perigee of 100 statute miles. Prime goal of the flight will be to verify spacecraft, crew and ground support compatibility.

As presently planned, Gemini 11 will be a rendezvous and docking flight of up to three days duration. Rendezvous is scheduled in the first revolution, with the flight crew using onboard systems to compute their own trajectories and maneuvers. Ground systems will be used as a backup.

Plans call for the spacecraft to re-rendezvous with the Gemini 11 Agena vehicle, which procedurally will be a passive target the second time. The re-rendezvous also will be accomplished with the use of onboard systems.

Extravehicular activity is planned, using a hand-held maneuvering unit similar to the one which was to have been used on Gemini 8. Duration of extravehicular activity and tasks to be performed will be based on experience in Gemini 9 and Gemini 10.

Approximately eight experiments are tentatively scheduled for Gemini 11. All will be repeats of experiments flown previously but a list of specific experiments will not be available until a re-evaluation is completed. The Gemini 11 Agena will be parked in a high orbit for possible use during Gemini 12.

The launch profile and orbital parameters will be essentially the same in Gemini 11 as those in Gemini 8. The Agena will be launched into a 185-statute-mile orbit and rendezvous will be accomplished at that altitude.

Navy Cmdr. John W. Young, command pilot, and USAF Michael Collins, pilot, remain as the previously announced prime crew of Gemini 10.

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Updated February 3, 2003
Steve Garber, NASA History Web Curator
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