Seven Astronauts-In-Training

[235] When the astronauts first had reported to the Task Group at the end of April 1959, they had been oriented with a series of lectures covering every aspect of STG's progress. After a welcoming general briefing by Paul E. Purser, Alan B. Kehlet delivered their first lecture on April 29, explaining the configuration and the escape system. Following two weeks of such lectures, the group began to visit contractor facilities for familiarization with mockups, hardware, and manufacturing processes. They went to the launch site at Cape Canaveral. At various military and medical centers, each man learned to know himself still better through training sessions in the pressure suit, in heat chambers, in heavy concentrations of carbon dioxide, and in parabolic flying. By July, Robert Voas, the astronauts' training officer, had prepared tentative curricula and schedules; during unscheduled times, each man was expected each week to fly for three hours, to spend six hours on his specialty area, and to exercise at least four hours in athletics. The primitive jury-rigged air-bearing platform trainer also was ridden by each astronaut for two hours per week at first.

During August 1959, each man spent approximately two weeks at Johnsville riding the centrifuge in "closeloop" (i.e., with man in the control circuit) simulation of the exit and reentry profiles. In September each man spent a week at McDonnell, another at the Cape for the Big Joe shot, and another at the Goodrich plant in Akron being fitted for his pressure suit. And in October 1959, the seven pilots, by now reluctant celebrities, traveled to Edwards and Vandenberg Air Force Bases, to the AiResearch and Convair factories, and to the Naval School of Aviation Medicine at Pensacola for different kinds of centrifuge runs and for training in survival, disorientation, and communications.28

Although everyone who read the news or looked at Life magazine knew that the Mercury astronauts had been assigned specialty areas befitting their profession as engineering test pilots, few could see the logic of those assignments.29 M. Scott Carpenter accepted responsibility for communications and navigation because as a Navy lieutenant he had had special training in airborne electronics and celestial pathfinding. Virgil I. Grissom, who had earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University in 1950, became the expert for the group on the complicated electromechanical, automatic, and manual attitude-control systems. The senior man in age and date of rank, John H. Glenn, Jr., had the most experience in flying varieties of aircraft and could therefore make the best contribution to cockpit layout. Walter M. Schirra, Jr., born to a flying family and a graduate of the Naval Academy, took a special interest in life-support systems and the pressure suits. Alan B. Shepard, Jr., like Carpenter and Schirra, had the background training of the naval flier for specializing in tracking and recovery operations. L. Gordon Cooper, Jr., and Donald K. Slayton, both Air Force captains, accepted the jobs of astronaut liaison with the developers of the Redstone and the [237] Atlas boosters, respectively. Cooper, the youngest of the group, had been dedicated to flying since childhood and had worked with performance engineering similar to what he would encounter at Redstone Arsenal. And Slayton, with a degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Minnesota and having worked for two years with the Boeing Company in Seattle, was best fitted to report on the progress of the Atlas booster at Convair/Astronautics.

The astronauts' specialty assignments had some direct effect on the redesign of the Mercury suit, cockpit layout, and capsule hatch and window systems. More importantly, the assignments kept the crew informed in depth on the problems and progress in major areas of concern to all members. Carpenter and Shepard kept tabs on the progress of the Tracking Unit at Langley and of the Goddard Space Flight Center in preparing to operate the network. While Carpenter monitored the development of onboard navigation equipment, such as the Earth-path indicator and starfinder charts, Shepard paid special attention to recovery at sea and to problems of egress from the capsule and survival on Earth in inhospitable environments. Grissom studied the electromechanical worries of Robert G. Chilton, Thomas V. Chambers, and other controls engineers. Schirra worked closely with Richard Johnston and John Barton on the environmental system, and with Lee McMillion, Gilbert North, and the Goodrich people in preliminary fittings of the pressure suit. Cooper and Slayton spent much of their time traveling to Huntsville and southern California, respectively, attending meetings and offering suggestions from the pilot's viewpoint on how best to mate a manned capsule with the Redstone and Atlas missiles. Glenn, meanwhile, paid special attention to optimizing the cockpit and improving simulation training.30

Within months after joining the Space Task Group, the more eager than anxious astronauts found themselves barraged by questions regarding their emotional feelings about being catapulted into orbit. In answer to one such set of questions, posed in an author's questionnaire for a high-school textbook, Schirra perfunctorily replied that it was only natural for a test pilot to want to participate in the most advanced form of manned vehicular travel. Schirra's desire to "go higher, farther, and faster" than previously had been possible was to him neither mysterious nor worthy of introspection; it was simply the professional commitment of them all and of STG to want to expand the test pilot's "envelope."31

Partly because of this kind of natural public interest and partly because the civilian space agency had a statutory mandate to conduct educational publicity, NASA Headquarters, after investigation and decision, encouraged the astronauts to stay together and to accept the fringe benefits of a single private-enterprise publishing offer arranged in outline even before their selection. This precluded eventual competitive bidding for individual story rights. On August 5, 1959, the astronauts sold their "personal stories" to the highest bidder, Time-Life, Inc., for $500,000, an amount to be equally divided regardless of who might be chosen first to fly in space. This money was to be paid in installments throughout the program. The astronauts' wives also subscribed to the contract. [238] Defense Department policy had been followed by the NASA decision because the astronauts were active-duty military officers.32 There were similar precedents for test pilots, Presidents, and submarine captains. Many Congressmen approved this form of extra life insurance for the astronauts' wives.

A public furor, nevertheless, arose in the press over these exclusive rights to publish the memoirs of the seven. Few other peripheral policy decisions regarding Project Mercury were to become so controversial in the long run. As the waiting period before an astronaut flew in space stretched on, public interest grew; the competition among newsmen and media increased; the line between personal and public domains blurred. NASA and STG were forced to contend with no small amount of adverse and even spiteful publicity from indignant correspondents who were not of the favored few. Warren North, two days after this contract was signed, advised Silverstein about it and warned of other impending difficulties, including a loss of privacy to a degree the astronauts might not have anticipated.33

The agreement, arranged without fee by C. Leo DeOrsey, a prominent Washington lawyer and sportsman, assigned all magazine and book rights to Time-Life, Inc., for "non-official" feature stories on the astronauts and their families. Since it was cleared by NASA's legal and public relations chiefs, John Johnson and Walter T. Bonney, the astronauts and the Task Group had to adapt themselves to this policy. John A. "Shorty" Powers, at least, was relieved of one headache and was not displeased with the arrangements.34

Although Robert Voas at first had designed an orderly curriculum for the astronauts, their activities soon became so diverse and the group separated on sorties for their specialties so often that the academic approach became impossible. The coordination of astronaut training became his chief duty. Voas gathered and trained a team of training specialists. George C. Guthrie had responsibility for improving training aids, procedures, and simulation devices; Raymond G. Zedekar arranged the lecture series; Stanley Faber conducted the four-phase centrifuge training program on the Johnsville "wheel." By the end of 1959, each of the astronauts had trained for about 10 hours riding the gondola at Johnsville. Voas, meanwhile, turned his attention to an extensive astronaut task analysis, which paralleled the work of Edward Jones at McDonnell.35 Just before Christmas 1959, John Glenn privately described his training experiences in a letter to a friend and fellow pilot:

This past 8 or 9 months has really been a hectic program, to say the least, and by far the most interesting thing in which I have ever taken part, outside of combat.

Following our selection in April, we were assigned to the Space Task Group portion of NASA at Langley Field, and that is where we are based when not traveling. The way it has worked out, we have spent so much time on the road that Langley has amounted to a spot to come back to get clean skivvies and shirts and that's about all. We have had additional sessions at Wright Field in which we did heat chamber, pressure chamber, and centrifuge work and spent a couple of weeks this fall doing additional centrifuge work up at Johnsville. [239] This was some program since we are running it in a laydown position similar to that which we will use in the capsule later on and we got up to as high as 16 g's. That's a batch in any attitude, laydown or not.

With the angles we were using, we found that even lying down at 16 g's it took just about every bit of strength and technique you could muster to retain consciousness. I found there was quite a bit more technique involved in taking this kind of g than we had thought. Our tolerances from beginning to end of runs during the period we worked up there went up considerably as we each developed our own technique for taking this high g. A few runs a day like that can really get to you. Some other stuff we did up there involved what we call tumble runs or going from a plus g in two seconds to a minus g and the most we did on this was in going from a plus 9 g to a minus 9 g. Obviously a delta of 18. . . . When we first talked about doing this, I didn't think it would be possible but in doing a careful buildup we happily discovered that this was not so horrible. At plus 9 g to minus 9 g we were bouncing around a bit but it was quite tolerable.

* * * * * *

We just finished an interesting activity out at Edwards AFB doing some weightless flying in the F-100. This was in the two-place F-100 so that we could ride in the rear seat and try various things such as eating and drinking and mechanical procedures while going through the approximately 60 second ballistic parabola that you make with a TF-100. That started at about 40,000 feet, 30 degrees dive to 25,000, picking up about 1.3 to 1.4 mach number, pull out and get headed up hill again at 25,000 and about a 50 degree or 60 degree climb angle, at which point they get a zero-g parabola over the top to about 60 degrees downhill.

You can accomplish quite a bit in the full minute in those conditions and contrary to this being a problem, I think I have finally found the element in which I belong. We have done a little previous work floating around in the cabin of the C-131 they used at Wright Field. That is even more fun yet, because you are not strapped down and can float around in the cabin doing flips, walk on the ceiling or just come floating the full length of the cabin while going through the approximately 15 seconds of weightlessness that they can maintain on their shorter parabola. That was a real ball and we get some more sessions with this machine sometime after the first of the year.36

Seasoned rocket experts, especially in Wernher von Braun's group, were worried early in the program over the human tolerance to noise and vibration at the tip of a missile leaving Earth's atmosphere. Biomedical experimentation during the fifties had almost, but not quite, confirmed that a man literally can be shaken to death by sympathetic vibrations induced through various harmonics upon certain organs. No one was yet sure whether the 140-decibel noise limit would be attenuated enough by the double-walled capsule and the astronaut's helmet to keep him comfortable and able to communicate.37 In February 1960, a representative from the Army Ballistic Missile Agency at Huntsville proposed a training project in which astronauts would experience controlled noise and vibration inside a simulated Mercury capsule mounted above a Jupiter engine being static-fired. The astronauts' personal physician, William Douglas, objected vehemently and saved the astronauts from this ordeal. [240] Internal acoustic measurements in the capsules riding Big Joe and Little Joe 2, however, gave concern that aerodynamic noise at max q might blot out communications if it approached the 140-decibel limit. The astronauts decided to condition themselves to loud noises in other ways by occasionally stationing themselves near the blow-down exhausts of the wind tunnels around Langley. Carpenter, supported by the environmental control system in capsule No. 3, sat through these static noise tests and proved that communications remained satisfactory in spite of extremely loud outside noises.38

Other carefully controlled trials by ordeal were arranged to teach the astronauts how best to survive for a time anywhere on Earth beneath their planned orbital track. During the spring and summer of 1960, capsule egress training, and water, desert, and jungle survival courses were instituted for their benefit. So exotic and picturesque were these excursions that publicity photographs flooded the news media.39

Serious consideration was not given to the use of a personal parachute, with which the astronaut might bail out from his explosive side hatch, until May 1960, when Lee McMillion and Alan Shepard suggested the idea for the Mercury-Redstone flights at least. The exploits of the Air Force balloonist, Captain Joseph W. Kittinger, Jr., who had been making solo stratospheric ascents for the Air Force since 1957, were a significant factor in this reevaluation of the personal parachute. In Project Excelsior, Kittinger began a series of record-breaking sky dives. On November 16, 1959, he jumped from an open gondola at an altitude of 76,400 feet. Three weeks later, from Excelsior II, he bailed out at an altitude of 74,700 feet to establish a free-fall record of 55,000 feet before pulling his ripcord. STG knew of Kittinger's plans for Excelsior III, which he fulfilled on August 16, 1960, by diving from his balloon at 103,000 feet and falling 17 miles before opening his chute at 17,500 feet. If Kittinger could do it, so might the Mercury astronaut in case the escape tower would not jettison or both main parachutes failed on a Mercury-Redstone flight.40

Although supposedly the first phase of astronaut training through 1959 was to concentrate on academic studies in the eclectic new field of "space science," the astronauts did not relish book-learning at the expense of field trips, specialty assignments, and familiarization with the developing hardware. As soon as new training aids and partial simulators became available, they would make full use of them. Late in 1959, however, the only operable flight simulator was a crude "lash-up" of analog computers driving a cockpit panel display above a couch on an air-bearing floating platform at Langley. Gradually STG engineers Harold I. Johnson, Rodney F. Higgins, and George Guthrie built more sophistication into this special kind of Link trainer. By January 1960 they were calling it the Air Bearing Orbital Attitude Simulator. In use and development simultaneously through 1960, this machine slowly evolved into a major training aid called the ALFA (for "air lubricated free attitude" [or axis] ) trainer. McDonnell provided a capsule shell as an egress trainer in mid-February 1960. But the most valuable and [241] elaborate training aids were the two McDonnell-built simulators called "procedures trainers." One for team training at the Cape and another at Langley were installed and in use by April 1960. Through long hours of practice in these procedures trainers, the astronauts "overlearned" their tasks, as Jones had recommended, so that they would act almost reflexively during their mission sequence.

During the first year of the astronaut training program, the seven pilots heard approximately 50 hours of space science lectures given primarily by senior members of the Langley Research Center. Elementary mechanics and aerodynamics made up 10 hours of this time. Formal presentations in space physics took up 12 hours. Other courses included principles of guidance and control (4 hours), navigation in space (6 hours), elements of communications (2 hours), and basic physiology (8 hours). Each astronaut spent approximately 8 hours at Morehead Planetarium at the University of North Carolina on star recognition and practicing celestial navigation.41

"Phase Two" of the training program, based on simulation training and engineering involvement, was to begin with the new year. But concurrent developments, individual study, and personal practice in various areas complicated the astronauts' training calendar. At the end of one full year of assignment to STG, each of the seven had spent approximately 10 days in St. Louis at the McDonnell plant; five days in San Diego at the Convair/Astronautics factory; and two days each at the Cape, at Huntsville, at Edwards Air Force Base, in El Segundo at Space Technology Laboratories and the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division, and at the Goodrich plant in Akron. Each also spent one day at the Rocketdyne factory of North American Aviation to see the engines being produced for the Atlas, another day at the AiResearch shops to meet the makers of their environmental control systems, and yet another at the Los Angeles plant of a subcontractor, Protection, Incorporated, where individual headgear was being molded.42 These visits by the astronauts to the various industrial production lines were found to be so valuable in inspiring craftsmen and technicians at all levels to higher standards of workmanship that these personal contacts between producers and the astronaut-consumers became a regular feature of quality control programs. Grissom's simple remark on a visitation to Convair, "Do good work!" became a motto of incalculable value to every worker who heard it or shook his hand.

The astronauts also made many field trips to Government installations for familiarization with specific conditions of space flight. In addition to the training for high accelerations on the centrifuges at Johnsville, Dayton, and Pensacola, training for zero acceleration - weightlessness - was distilled from the short parabolic hops that were flown in C-131s at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and in F-100 aircraft at the School of Aviation Medicine in San Antonio. Closer to their Langley home, the astronauts mastered scuba diving at the Naval Amphibious Base near Norfolk; at their home base swimming pool they practiced floating fully suited. Also immersions in a Langley test tank gave them the sensation of neutral buoyancy. Both at Dayton and Philadelphia the astronauts borrowed military [244] facilities to experience reduced ambient pressures in decompression chambers. For conditioning to withstand high heating rates, the astronauts were toasted in the Air Crew Equipment Laboratory ovens and in a "human calorimeter" at the National Institute of Mental Health at Bethesda. Two facilities at Pensacola, the "rotating room" and the "human disorientation device," provided some experience with induced vertigo. But for complex tumbling experiences, each astronaut spent some time at NASA's Lewis Center in Cleveland, in the curious test device called the "MASTIF." Finally, each man learned to know his own idiosyncrasy to high concentrations of carbon dioxide by experiments also done at Bethesda.

None of the mechanical aids for astronaut training could simulate more than a few of the conditions of space flight at a time. Even the seven Redstone ballistic flights, one planned for each astronaut, would be only partial simulations. Harold Johnson commented in February 1960 that the Redstone flights "may or may not be classified as training missions, depending on how sporting you may be." The astronauts were not only sporting in this regard, they were also chafing at delays. They suggested to Robert Gilruth that a rhesus monkey ride MR-1 so the schedule might be compressed enough to put the first chimp in orbit by the end of November.43

Perhaps the most impressive simulator, the whirligig called MASTIF (for Multiple Axis Space Test Inertia Facility), located at Lewis' cavernous altitude wind tunnel, was publicized far beyond its value as a training aid. Conceived in 1959 by David S. Gabriel of Lewis as a rig to test space equipment in three degrees of rotational and two degrees of linear freedom, the idea of concentric gimbaled cages was translated into hardware in the altitude wind tunnel early in 1959, when Lewis was assigned the job of testing Big Joe's attitude control system. Robert R. Miller directed the MASTIF project; Louis L. Corpas did the detail design work; and Frank Stenger developed the air-jet propulsion arrangement. Soon they had erected a tinker-toy-like rig 21 feet in diameter at its supporting yoke, capable of mounting a 3,000-pound space capsule inside its three sets of gimbals, and able to turn and tumble the whole combination in three axes simultaneously at 60 noisy revolutions per minute. An early trial revved the outer cage from zero to 50 revolutions per minute in half a turn.44

James W. Useller, another mechanical engineer at Lewis, was first to see the potential in the MASTIF, if adapted, for astronaut training. Useller and a Lewis test pilot, Joseph S. Algranti, began taking cautious rides inside the MASTIF as soon as the controls engineers could spare it in mid-1959. They set up a formal test program for about 10 pilots and physiologists who wanted to see what rolling, pitching, and yawing at different speeds and for different lengths of time would do to a man. A thorough literature search revealed some similar late-19th-century German experiments, but Useller and Algranti proceeded to confirm a condition known as ocular nystagmus, an automatic flutter of the eyeballs induced by the acceleration of angular rotation. After extensive tests, they verified a rough [245] limit of tolerance at about 30 revolutions per minute in three axes; beyond this limit, even the most experienced pilots could expect to get sick.45

Thus, in February 1960, when the first pair of astronauts, Grissom and Shepard, arrived in Cleveland for a week's stay to test the MASTIF and their reactions to it, extensive experience had already been accumulated by other pilots. After a hard night and a frustrating morning strapped in the seat while the MASTIF was being adjusted, Shepard again stepped inside the three large gimbal cages for his second sitting but first real ride in this machine. When MASTIF finally started to spin, Shepard turned green and pressed the red "chicken switch," sounding a claxon horn as a signal to stop. To control the nausea and vertigo induced by this maniacal carousel required dogged determination. The next day Shepard - and before the end of March all the astronauts - took examination runs at 30 revolutions per minute in all three axes and quickly learned, by using the hand controller, to activate nitrogen reaction motor brakes, to halt their rotation and bring themselves to a stop while the cages continued to spin. The confidence gained from this experience was invaluable, but one series on the MASTIF was enough. Reporters who watched a demonstration by Carpenter were vivid in their descriptions of the piercing scream, multicolored cages, and extraordinary contortions of MASTIF, billing it the ultimate in wild carnival rides.46

Far more important and critical was the second phase of the Johnsville centrifuge program, which began in mid-April to test much of the McDonnell hardware, including the couch and hand controller, instrument panel and full pressure suit, and the astronauts' responses to the dynamic simulation of the g profiles. An STG status report for April listed eight multiplex objectives of the ongoing centrifuge training program: (1) to test the retention by the astronaut of the straining technique and other skills developed in the August program; (2) to familiarize the astronauts with straining under reduced pressure; (3) to familiarize the astronauts with performing at high g levels in an inflated pressure suit; (4) to evaluate the couch manufactured by McDonnell Aircraft; (5) to evaluate the handcontroller developed by McDonnell; (6) to test proposed voice procedures under acceleration and reduced pressure; (7) to rehearse and evaluate the feasibility of a two-hour countdown period following astronaut insertion; and (8) to provide initial experience with Redstone acceleration patterns.47

With over 120 controls at his glove tips, including about 55 electrical switches, 30 fuses, and 35 mechanical levers, the astronaut had to learn a great deal regarding the monitoring and operation of these points of contact with his machine. From the prime contractor came a series of operating and maintenance manuals entitled "Service Engineering Department Reports," or "SEDRs" (pronounced "cedars"). The indoctrination manual had been replaced by a familiarization manual in the fall of 1959, and this in turn was replaced at the beginning of 1960 by SEDR No. 109, called the "Astronauts' Handbook." Although the first capsule [246] maintenance manual, SEDR No. 108, was not available until mid-year, it was not badly needed until the mass move to the Cape at that time.

The "Astronauts' Handbook" set forth operating procedures in three sections: normal, emergency, and trouble-shooting activities. The checklist for procedures envisioned in a normal orbital mission at that time included 130 items expected of the astronaut, 69 of which were part of an extensive preflight interior inspection. Under emergency operations procedures, 156 items were listed as possible pilot actions in case of equipment malfunctions. The five phases of the mission - launch, orbit, reentry, descent, and landing - each required special responses to emergencies arising during that portion of the mission. Finally, the mechanics of five major subsystems of the capsule were outlined in the trouble-shooting section and then condensed into checklists for the reaction and environmental control systems and for the electrical and communication systems. The attitude stabilization and control system checklist was promised but was not yet available.48

As McDonnell technical writers prepared and revised the "Astronauts' Handbook," STG's operational plans were becoming systematized through concurrent revisions of its "General Systems Information Document." Lewis R. Fisher, Donald D. Arabian, William M. Bland, Jr., and Sigurd A. Sjoberg first published this basic guide as "Project Mercury Working Paper No. 118" in March 1960 and revised it twice within the next year. They outlined the general plans for the Mercury-Atlas and Mercury-Redstone missions, including overall test objectives, flight plans, capsule design criteria, description of the capsule and systems, and the general operational plan from prelaunch phase through recovery. Specific mission directives were based on this format, and the authors of most later working papers presupposed a familiarity with "Working Paper No. 118."49

While John Glenn and Walter Schirra studied the interrelations of the pressurized suit and the cockpit layout,McDonnell design engineers rearranged the Mercury control panel to place all controls in a U-shaped pattern around either side and below the instruments. When an astronaut's suit was inflated, he could reach the right side and bottom of the panel with his right hand, and his left hand could reach the left side and bottom, but the center and top of the panel were inaccessible. Since Mercury gloves were thicker and heavier than those on flying suits, all controls had to be positive in operation, including guards for pushbuttons and with key handles and pull rings designed for a good grip and the application of considerable force, up to 50 pounds in some cases.

In their efforts to integrate man and-machine, psychologists Jones and Voas, among others, had shown by late spring 1960 how the reliability of Mercury could be increased by the use of man's flexibility. Using the pilot as a trouble-shooter engineer in many cases could make the difference between mission failure and success. Conversely, as man's limitations became more precisely known in relation to the equipment to be used, correspondingly higher standards for the automatic systems, particularly the attitude stabilization controls, were introduced. Voas later expressed a new consensus when he said:

[247] The astronaut's primary job is to control the vehicle. The astronaut is not a mere passenger, but an active controller of the vehicle who performs an important and complex task which is basic to the total reliability of the mission.

System flexibility is increased by provision for the use of more than one of these [attitude control mode] systems at a time. Since the automatic reaction jets and the manual reaction jets are completely independent, it is possible for the man to exercise control through the manual jets while the auto-pilot is exercising control through the automatic jets. One occasion for use of both control systems would be in maneuvering in orbit when the astronaut desires to let the autopilot control two axes such as roll and pitch while he takes control in yaw.50

Meanwhile Jones and the human factors engineers at McDonnell were determining more ways in which man could back up other automatic malfunctions through their "failure task analysis." Using the failure mode predictions from [248] the design engineers' work on the reliability program, they elaborated "in detail the probable sensory output characteristics of the failure, the corrective responses required by the astronaut or ground monitor, and the failure effect."51

Jones' human-factors team worked closely with McDonnell's Mercury reliability experts, Walter A. Harmon and Eugene A. Kunznick. They in turn allied themselves with another McDonnell crew employed on a special check of the Mercury reliability program instigated by NASA Headquarters. Programmers at McDonnell coded on punch cards all probable systemic failures; by June 1960 they had assembled massive computer printouts that detailed corrective actions an astronaut could take in case the robots should go wrong. They found that over a third of such failures would not show up on instruments or through warning lights, but could be detected through symptoms presenting unusual sights, sounds, smells, or vibrations. As many as 18 different failures, however, might show the same set of multiple cues, so the work of categorizing and organizing these data required another full year. Preliminary results from these cooperative studies helped early to isolate malfunctions that needed new indicators, to rank the frequency of instrument use, and to shape the training program. Efforts to predict the total system reliability by this evaluation intensified the debate over the "numbers game."52

28 "Tentative Schedule of Activities for First Months of Training Program," STG, April-Oct., 1959.

29 Project Mercury: First Interim Report, 54-59; "Astronauts: Symposium," Life, XLVII, Sept. 14, 1959; "Seven Brave Women Behind the Astronauts," Life, XLVII, Sept. 21, 1959; "Astronauts Get Their Prodigious Chariot," Life, XLVII, Dec. 14, 1959.

30 Donald K. Slayton, "Like Seeing My Own Future," Life, XLVII, Feb. 29, 1960; M. Scott Carpenter, "Eerie World of Zero G," Life, XLVII, Mar. 21, 1960; Walter M. Schirra, Jr., "Suit Tailor-Made for Space," Life, XLIX, Aug. 1, 1960; L. Gordon Cooper, Jr., "First Rocket We Will Ride: Redstone's Role in Project Mercury," Life, XLIX, Oct. 3, 1960.

31 Letters, Lila J. Phillips to Mercury Astronauts, July 21, 1959. Enclosed questionnaires were answered in part by each astronaut.

32 Hugh L. Dryden, in interview, Washington, Aug. 31, 1965. Walter T. Bonney, in interview with Eugene M. Emme and William Putnam, Washington, Oct. 15, 1965, stressed the administrative need for one rather than seven such contracts, since NASA's modest public information staff was already deluged.

33 Memo, North to Dir. of Space Flight Development, "Interim Status Report for Project Mercury," Aug. 7, 1959, 2; John A. Powers, interview, Houston, Nov. 12, 1965; Donald Slayton, interview, Houston, Dec. 16, 1964. For the contract made by DeOrsey on May 28, 1959, see House Committee on Science and Astronautics, 87 Cong., 1 sess. (1961), 1962 NASA Authorization, Part I, 147-148. Cf. William Hines, "Astronauts Face 'Exclusivity' Crisis," Washington Evening Star, Dec. 9, 1965. See also John Troan, "NASA Will Police Spacemen," Washington Daily News, April 4, 1962, for one account of another highly controversial issue, the offer of free homes in Houston.

34 On NASA public information policy and the division of labor regarding public relations for Mercury between Headquarters and STG, see Walter Bonney's remarks before United Press International Editors' Conference, Washington, NASA release, Sept. 9, 1960. Bonney recalls the day "all hell broke loose!" (p. 4) and how astronaut information policy evolved. Many NASA officials still vigorously defend the propriety and the wisdom of the "personal stories" contracts, but others disagree. See also Walter T. Bonney, comments, Dec. 1, 1965.

35 Memo, George C. Guthrie to Training Office, "Second Bimonthly Report," Aug. 10, 1959; memos, Stanley Faber to Project Dir., "Outline of the January Program on the Aviation Medical Acceleration Laboratory Centrifuge," Dec. 3, 1959; and "Additional Information on January Centrifuge Program," Dec. 15, 1959. Memo for files, Robert B. Voas, "Astronaut Activities During Missile Preparation, Launch and Flight, Preliminary Outline," Nov. 5, 1959.

36 Letter, John H. Glenn, Jr., to James B. Stockdale, Dec. 17, 1959. See also "Summary of Mercury-Johnsville Centrifuge Program of August 1959," NASA Project Mercury working paper No. 127, June 22, 1960.

37 For a review article on the resonant frequencies of various bodily organs, see David E. Goldman, M.D., and Henning E. von Gierke, "The Effects of Shock and Vibration on Man," paper, Naval Medical Research Institute, Lecture and Review Series No. 60-3, Bethesda, Md., Jan. 8, 1960.

38 Memo, William Douglas to Assoc. Dir., "Training, Static Firing of Jupiter with Mercury Capsule," Feb. 10, 1960; William H. Mayes and David A. Hilton, "External and Internal Noise of Capsules," paper, STG Research Dept. meeting, Feb. 1, 1960; letter, Charles J. Donlan to R. W. Costin, July 29, 1960. Even Congressional attention was invited to these problems by the publication of House Committee on Science and Astronautics, 86 Cong., 2 sess. (1960), Noise: Its Effect on Man and Machine, Oct. 13, 1960, 33-35.

39 Memos, Alan B. Shepard, Jr., for files, "Report on Astronaut Training - Capsule Egress and Water Survival, Pensacola, Florida, Mar. 28-Apr. 1, 1960," April 5, 1960; and "Astronauts' Comments on Mercury Capsule Survival Kit and Equipment," April 28, 1960.

40 Memo, Shepard to Project Dir., "Personal Parachute Application to Mercury," June 27, 1960. The results of these studies were summarized in memo, William C. Mosely, Jr., for Aleck Bond, "Procedure for Personal Parachute Usage During Mercury-Redstone Missions," April 18, 1961. On Project Excelsior,see Eugene M. Emme, Aeronautics and Astronautics: An American Chronology of Science and Technology in the Exploration of Space, 1915-1960 (Washington, 1961), 114, 116, 120; Joseph W. Kittinger, "The Long, Lonely Leap," National Geographic, CXVIII (Dec. 1960), 854.

41 "Highlights of the First Year of the Astronaut Training Program," with charts and tables for oral presentation, STG, May 1, 1960.

42 See, e.g., "Briefing Given to NASA Astronauts," Rocketdyne BC1-59-12, Rocketdyne Div., North American Aviation, Inc., Canoga Park, Calif., Sept. 18, 1959.

43 Johnson, "Pilots' Training Aids," briefing, Wright Air Development Center, Feb. 3, 1960, 2; letter, the astronauts to Dir., Project Mercury, Feb. 4, 1960.

44 Robert R. Miller, interview (telephonic), Cleveland, Jan. 26, 1965. For an illustrated catalog of most United States training simulations of this nature, see H. E. von Gierke and E. Steinmetz, eds., Motion Devices for Linear and Angular Oscillation and for Abrupt Acceleration Studies (Impact), NAS/NRC Publication 903 (Washington, 1961) .

45 James W. Useller, interview, Cleveland, May 1, 1964. See Useller and Joseph S. Algranti, "Pilot Reactions to High-Speed Rotations," Aerospace Magazine, XXXIV (June 1963), 501-504. Test subjects were brought up to speed in about 10-15 seconds, and then were expected to damp out all three axial rotations in the next 30 seconds or so.

46 Useller interview. Meanwhile the Lewis altitude wind tunnel was being used as a space vacuum chamber and was needed for some important separation tests of the spacecraft from an Atlas adapter. R. R. Miller and Robert B. Nunemaker also ran tests of pyrotechnics, monitored by John B. Lee and Charles Yodzis of STG, that uncovered a host of anomalies in the design and performance of explosive bolts, retrograde and posigrade rockets, and the alignment of the escape rocket. See also souvenir picture booklet, "Astronaut Press Meeting, Lewis Research Center, March 4, 1960."

47 "Status Report, Crew Training," April 1960, 3; see also memo, Brent Y. Creer and Rodney C. Wingrove to Dir., Ames Research Center, "Preliminary Results of Pilot's Sidearm Controller Tests Conducted on the AMAL-NADC Centrifuge . . .," Feb. 26, 1960.

48 "Astronauts' Handbook - Project Mercury," preliminary edition, McDonnell Aircraft Corp., Jan. 25, 1960.

49 "Project Mercury General Systems Document," NASA Project Mercury working paper No. 118, March 10, 1960, rev. Oct. 24, 1960, and March 23, 1961.

50 Voas, "Human Factors Aspects of the Man-In-Space Program," paper, Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, Psychology and Social Science Panel, Jan. 26, 1961, 24, 7.

51 Jones, "Analytical Techniques for Defining the Astronaut's Task," and "Astronauts' and Ground Station Failure Reference," papers, ninth annual Human Engineering Conference, Office of Naval Research, St. Louis, June 2, 1961.

52 Voas, "Human Factors Aspects," 14; Jones, interview, St. Louis, Sept. 2, 1964; "The Failure Task Analysis," McDonnell Aircraft Corp., June 15, 1961, rev. June 21, 1962. Voas, for instance, believed, in spite of considerable opposition, that: "A rough estimate of the priority that should be given to each subsystem in the training program can be expressed as the reliability of the automatic component plus the estimated reliability for the human. Tasks associated with subsystems for where this sum is low should be assigned the highest priority in the training program. This procedure is similar to traditional task analysis procedures, but permits a more qualitative approach to the evaluation of design tradeoffs and the construction of training program."

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