Ever so few - Correction

Aodhan Ite an Fhithich aodhan at dobharchu.org
Tue Jan 28 07:13:53 PST 1997

Mark Wallace wrote in a message to All:

 MW>    Stefan, having the "right stuff" winnowed out hundreds of brave
 MW> military pilots from the final 7 men who were designated Mercury
 MW> Astronauts.  Their names are familiar to any schoolchild: Glenn,
 MW> Shirra, White, Chaffee, Grissom. Shepard, Cooper.

Tsk, tsk, tsk, Blackfox.  Here we are students of history and you can't even
get something right that happened in your lifetime. :)  (For the record, I had
to double check on the NASA JSC web - and I work in the space program. 
See: http://images.jsc.nasa.gov/images/pao/MERMANOV/10073465.htm)

White and Chaffee were not members of the original seven astronauts. Carpenter
and Slayton were.  

White and Chaffee died in the Apollo 1 fire, along with Grissom (which is
probably why you link those names together). If I'm reading the info at
http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/pao/factsheets/astrofb/deceased.html correctly, then
Chaffee's first flight was to have been Apollo 1.  White had previously flown
on Gemini 4 (where he was the first American to walk in space). Grissom had
previously flown on Mercury 4 and Gemini 3 (the first manned Gemini mission).

Slayton, BTW, did not fly until the Apollo-Soyuz mission, due to a medical
condition (heart, I *think*) which kept him grounded for years and wasn't
spotted until after his selection for the astronaut corps.  NASA never had the
heart to boot him out so he headed the Astronaut Office for years, until
improvements in his condition and/or space medicine enabled him to finally fly.
Slayton passed away in '93 from complications of a brain tumor.

Hadn't intended to be so long-winded, but *these* people (the astronauts as a
whole) are my heroes.  And my neighbors.

(who writes space shuttle simulation software for a living)

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