[amsat-bb] Friendship 7 details?

B J va6bmj at gmail.com
Mon Jan 9 23:33:03 UTC 2017

On 1/9/17, Richard Tejera <Saguaroastro at cox.net> wrote:
> IIIRC, it was planned for 6 orbits. But when telemetry showed the landing
> bag deployed, it was cut to 3.

I've heard different accounts about that.  Some say 7, others say 3.
I don't know if it was mentioned in the mission transcripts.  Maybe I
should check my copies.

 Flight Director Kris Kraft was convinced,,
> based on report from controllers and the spacecraft that it was a faulty
> indication and wanted to go the full six.

Had the landing bag been deployed, it wouldn't have mattered how long
Glenn had stayed in orbit.

He was overruled by upper
> management. During t-shirt they told Glenn to keep the retro package on
> during re-entry, the idea being the straps would keep the heat shield
> attached and thus the landing bag stowed.
> After the flight, Kraft lobbied for and got the rule added to tall mission
> profiles the "The Flight Director shall have the final authority for call
> decisions pertaining to completion of mission objectives and crew safety",
> essentially preventing management from interfering again.
> Also IIRC there were two landing zones. In the event of an abort or, in this
> case, a shortening of the mission, retro fire would be planned for one of
> those.

You might be right, but the Mercury astronauts were trained for
landing anywhere, just in case.

 Now much after 6orbits, the rotation of earth, put the ground track
> out of range of groundbreaking station s for extended times. They had
> tracking stations on the Canadiens, Zanzibar Canberra, Hawaii & Goldstein,
> can (there may more,but those come to mind right now), so even under optimal
> conditions they were in direct contact with the spacecraft for about 10
> minutes at a time maybe 4 or 5 times per orbit.

I believe the Indian Ocean tracking ships came later, starting with Gemini.

> During Gemini VIII, when the spacecraft almost spun out of control due to a
> stuck thruster, they had to abort since Armstrong had used their reentry
> thrusters to recover.

That was part of the mission rules.  Once Armstrong activated them,
the flight was over and the crew had to return as soon as possible.

All that happened out of communication range. When
> they came back in range the abort was called at the first opportunity. This
> put them well away from the recovery area.

I believe that the flight director on duty at the time, John Hodges,
selected the South China Sea site.  It was an auxiliary location, so
there wouldn't have been a full recovery force on hand, but it was
within reach of any ships in the area.  Part of that might have been
because the base at Subic Bay, plus the presence of the USN in the
Gulf of Tonkin.

The crew had to wait several
> hours before recovery teams got to them not being a boat, the capsule bombed
> around a lot. armstrong, being a Navy man rode it out, but Scott, who was
> Air force, spent the time puking his guts out.

One thing that nobody counted on was the sea state.  The account I
heard was that even Armstrong became queasy.



Bernhard VA6BMJ @ DO33FL

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