Thread: First Flight
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Old September 23 2012, 08:18 PM   #13
Re: First Flight

I am Surak wrote: View Post
R. Star wrote: View Post

As for why Archer became captain? Honestly I always attributed that to old fashioned nepotism, being his father designed the engine.

YES! That and the fact that science always needs to be made palatable to the masses by having a good story about it.
"Son of designer becomes captain" is a good headline.

I also believe that the first man on the moon was chosen for his all American and easy to understand last name. Buzz was definitively just as qualified. Its always all about the story....
Funny that those Buzz Aldrin and nepotism were brought up, because Buzz's father, an influential colonel who'd been friends with several noted aviators, including Orville Wright, tried to insert himself into the issue and get his son the privledge of getting out first, despite Buzz specifically asking him to stay out of it.

There have been number of reasons given. The technical reason given is that since the LM hatch swung inward towards the LMP's side the two astronauts would have to switch places, which isn't possible after they put on the hard outer suits. (Though Al Bean, the Apollo 12 LMP has pointed out, they could simply switch places before putting on the gear).

There was also some rumors that since Armstrong was a civilian and Buzz was still air force, they preferred it be the civilian. I've never heard anything about Armstrong getting it because of an "all-American" name (whatever THAT is).

There have been some conflicting accounts of how much of an issue this really was. Gene Cernan (Apollo 10 LMP and Apollo 17 commander) wrote in is book that Buzz was pushing the issue a lot, though Dave Scott (Apollo 15 commander) wrote that he thought any controversy over the issue has been blown way out of proportion. Aldrin himself has written that he thought "the matter had been weighing on him (Armstrong) as well", but I think Buzz may have been projecting, because everything I've read about what kind of guy Armstrong was says that he wasn't concerned with that at all.

Me, I prefer to think it was simple protocol: The commander gets out first. Simple as that. Not to mention he had seniority. Remember that if it hadn't been for the Apollo 8 and 9 switch, Pete Conrad and Al Bean almost certainly would've had the first landing, and it's hard to imagine them letting Bean, a rookie on his first mission, get out before Conrad, a veteran on his third mission.
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