Encyclopedia Astronautica
Cooper



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Cooper
Credit: www.spacefacts.de - www.spacefacts.de
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Gemini 5
Astronauts Cooper and Conrad in Gemini spacecraft just after insertion
Credit: NASA
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Gemini 5
Astronaut Conrad tweaks Astronaut Cooper's beard for the cameramen
Credit: NASA
Cooper, Leroy Gordon Jr 'Gordo' (1927-2004) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on Mercury MA-9, Gemini 5. First American to spend over a day in space. High spirited, and reportedly denied an Apollo assignment.

Educated AFIT; Oklahoma City.


Official NASA Biography

NAME: Leroy Gordon Cooper, Jr., Colonel USAF (Ret.)

NASA Astronaut

BIRTHPLACE: Shawnee, Oklahoma, March 6, 1927

PARENTS: Father - Leroy Gordon Cooper, Sr. - deceased Mother - Hattie Cooper - Resides in Carbondale, Colorado

PHYSICAL DATA: Brown hair, blue eyes, 5 ft. 8 in., 155 lbs.

EDUCATION: Primary and Secondary Schools: Shawnee, Oklahoma; Murray, Kentucky

Colleges: University of Hawaii University of Maryland - European Extension U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology

Advanced Level: Eleven years graduate level training in Space Technology, Space Mechanics, Lunar Geology, Spacecraft Design, Spacecraft Check Out and Flight Testing with NASA

Degrees: B.S.A.E. - Air Force Institute of Technology Dr. of Science - Oklahoma City University

Other Schools: Graduate of U.S.A.F. Jet Pilot School, Graduate of U.S. Navy Underwater Demolition Team School, Graduate of U.S.N. Helicopter School

HOBBIES: Treasure hunting, archeology, racing, flying, skiing, boating, hunting, fishing

ORGANIZATIONS: The Society of Experimental Test Pilots, The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics The American Astronautical Society, The Blue Lodge Masons, The York Rite Masons, The Scottish Rite Masons, The Royal Order of Jesters, The Sojourners, The Rotary Club, The Daedalians, The Confederate Air Force, The Boy Scouts of America, The Girl Scouts of America.

AWARDS AND TROPHIES: The Air Force Legion of Merit, The Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross, The Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross Cluster, The NASA Exceptional Service Medal, The NASA Distinguished Service Medal, USAF Command Astronaut Wings, The Collier Trophy, The Harmon Trophy, The Scottish Rite 33o, The York Rite Knight of the Purple Cross, The DeMolay Legion of Honor, The John F. Kennedy Trophy, The Ivan E. Kincheloe Trophy, The Air Force Association Trophy, The Primus Trophy, The John Montgomery Trophy, The General Thomas E. White Trophy, The Association of Aviation Writers Award, The University of Hawaii Regents Medal, The Columbus Medal, The Silver Antelope, and The Sport Fishing Society of Spain Award,

RECORDS AND FIRSTS:

1963 - Flew 22 orbits (solo) in Mercury 9 (Faith 7) 1963 - Gave one of the opening addresses to the first meeting of the League of African Nations (from Space) 1963 - Used the first television camera in Space 1963 - First pilot-controlled re-entry from Space 1963-1965 - First Military man to address the Joint Sessions of Congress twice 1965 - Flew 122 orbits as command pilot of Gemini 5 1965 - First man to fly two orbital flights 1965 - First man to fly a fuel cell in Space 1965 - First man to fly a radar set in Space 1965 - First man to track a typhoon from Space 1965 - Established the World Record of most hours in Space for the United States 1965 - National Aeronautic Association Record Distance in Earth orbit 1965 - National Aeronautic Association Record Duration in Earth orbit

FLYING EXPERIENCE: 7000 hours total time; 4000 hours jet time; Flies all types of commercial and general aviation airplane and helicopters.

MILITARY EXPERIENCE:

1945-1946 - United States Marine Corps.

1946-1949 - Attended the University of Hawaii - obtained commission

1949 - Called to active duty USAF (for pilot training)

1950-1954 - Fighter pilot with 86th Fighter-Bomber group in Germany

1954-1956 - Attended the Air Force Institute of Technology 1956-1957 - Attended the USAF Experimental Flight Test School 1957-1959 - Served as Experimental Flight Test Engineer and Flight Test Pilot at the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB, California

1959 - Selected in First Group of Seven Astronauts for the NASA Mercury Program

May 15-16, 1963 - Command Pilot on MA9 - "Faith 7"

August 21-28, 1965 - Command Pilot on Gemini 5

October 1965 - October 1966 - Served as Back-up Command Pilot on Gemini 12

April 1968 - April 1969 - Served as Back-up Command Pilot on Apollo 10

July 31, 1970 - Retired from the Air Force and the Space Program

MILITARY TECHNICAL AND MANAGEMENT EXPERIENCE:

1956-1959 - Experimental Flight Engineer and Test Pilot at the Air Force Flight Test Center. Served as Project Manager on several flight development projects. Helped to develop new techniques of flight testing and new aircraft stability parameters.

1950-1970 - In addition to training for Space Flight, has had extensive experience in test project management from the drawing board to the flight test phase of check out and qualification for various major systems of the Space Program.

BUSINESS TECHNICAL AND MANAGEMENT EXPERIENCE:

1962-1967 - Performance Unlimited, Inc. - President - Manufactured race engines, fiberglass boats, distributed marine engines and products, raced high performance boats.

1963-1967 - GCR, Inc. - President - Designed, tested and raced championship cars at Indianapolis and other USAC tracks, conducted tire tests for Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, pioneered turbine engine installation on cars.

1965-1970 - Teletest, Inc. - President - Designed, installed and tested various systems using advanced Telemetry.

1966-1969 - Doubloon, Inc. - Participated with Doubloon Inc. on design, construction, and utilization of new types of Treasure Hunting equipment.

1968-1969 - Cosmos, Inc. - Participated with Cosmos, Inc. on Archeology exploration projects.

1968-1970 - Profile Race Team - Part owner and race project manager, designed constructed and raced high performance boats.

1968-1970 - Republic Corp. Technical Consultant - Technical consultant for corporate acquisitions and public relations.

1967-1969 - Thompson Industries Technical Consultant - Technical Consultant for design and construction of various automotive production items for General Motors, Ford and Chrysler Motor Companies.

1970-1972 - Canaveral International, Inc. - Member of Board of Directors and Technical Consultant for developing technical products, public relations in land development projects.

1970 -Present - Gordon Cooper & Associates, Inc. - President for consultant firm specializing technical projects from airline and aerospace fields to land and hotel development projects.

1970-1974 - APECO - Board of Director for corporation which produces and markets modular homes, computer systems, office systems, copy machines and boats and marine equipment.

July 1972-June 1973 - Campco - Member of Board of Directors and Technical consultant for corporation which builds campers and mobile homes.

August 1972-December 1973 - LowCom Systems, Inc. - Board of Directors and Technical Consultant for design and production of various advanced electronic systems.

1972-1973 - Aerofoil Systems, Inc. - Board of Directors and Technical Consultant for design and construction of lifting, inflatable, steerable foils which could land cargo and/or personnel at a precise spot.

July 1973-January 1974 - Craftech Construction, Inc. - Vice President and member of the Board of Directors - Design and construction of economical homes, garages, storage buildings, and hangars of Craftboard and fiberglass.

January 1973-Present - Constant Energy Systems, Inc. - Development of a large energy system to use for metropolitan power and ship engines without use of petrochemicals. Development and sales of improvements to automotive engines to increase their efficiency.

1975 Became Vice President for Research and Development for Walter E. Disney Enterprises, Inc., the research and development subsidiary of Walt Disney Productions. Located in Glendale, California.

Currently President, XL, Inc., Beverly Hills, California.

NOVEMBER, 1989

Birth Place: Shawnee, Oklahoma.
Status: Deceased.


Born: 1927.03.06.
Died: 2004.10.04.
Spaceflights: 2 .
Total time in space: 9.38 days.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Astronaut Category of persons, applied to those trained for spaceflight outside of Russia and China. More...
  • NASA Group 1 - 1959 Requirement: six pilots for the single-crew Mercury manned spacecraft. Originally a wide pool of candidates was going to be considered, but in December 1958 President Eisenhower ruled that military test pilots would form the candidate pool. Nickname: The Original Seven More...

Associated Flights
  • Mercury MA-8 Crew: Schirra. Most successful American manned space flight to that date, six orbits, returning to earth precisely, with astronaut aboard recovery ship 40 minutes after landing. Speed record (7,850 m/s). Backup crew: Cooper. More...
  • Mercury MA-9A Crew: Cooper. Planned Mercury six-orbit mission. Canceled and NASA moved directly to an 18-orbit mission due to astronaut shortage and change in concept (flights no longer used just to train astronauts). Backup crew: Shepard. More...
  • Mercury MA-9 Crew: Cooper. Final Mercury mission, After 22 orbits, virtually all capsule systems failed. Nevertheless the astronaut was able to manually guide the spacecraft to a pinpoint landing. Backup crew: Shepard. More...
  • Mercury MA-10 Crew: Shepard. Planned second one-day Mercury flight. Cancelled as too risky after Mercury MA-9 achieved objective, but only after failure of many spacecraft systems. Backup crew: Cooper. More...
  • Gemini 5 Crew: Conrad, Cooper. First American flight to seize duration record from Soviet Union. Mission plan curtailed due to fuel cell problems; mission incredibly boring, spacecraft just drifting to conserve fuel most of the time. Splashed down 145 km from aim point. Backup crew: Armstrong, See. More...
  • Gemini 12 Crew: Aldrin, Lovell. First completely successful space walk. Final Gemini flight. Docked and redocked with Agena, demonstrating various Apollo scenarios including manual rendezvous and docking. Successful EVA without overloading suit by use of suitable restraints. Backup crew: Cernan, Cooper. More...
  • Apollo 10 Crew: Cernan, Stafford, Young. Speed record (11,107 m/s). Final dress rehearsal in lunar orbit for landing on moon. LM separated and descended to 10 km from surface of moon but did not land. Backup crew: Cooper, Eisele, Mitchell. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • USAF American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. United States Air Force, USA. More...

Associated Programs
  • Apollo The successful US project to land a man on the moon. More...
  • Gemini Gemini was conceived as an 'upgraded Mercury' to test essential orbital manoeuvring, rendezvous, docking, lifting re-entry, and space walking techniques in the four years between the last Mercury flight and the first scheduled Apollo flight. If fulfilled this mission, and numerous variants that never reached production would have serviced manned space stations and taken Americans around and to the moon - at lower cost and earlier than Apollo. More...
  • Mercury Mercury was America's first man-in-space project. Setting the precedent for the later Gemini, Apollo, and Shuttle programs, any capsule configuration proposed by the contractors was acceptable as long as it was the one NASA's Langley facility, and in particular, Max Faget, had developed. McDonnell, at that time a renegade contractor of innovative Navy fighters that had a history of problems in service, received the contract. The capsule had to be as small as possible to match the payload capability of America's first ICBM, the Atlas, which would be used for orbital missions. The resulting design was less than a third of the weight of the Russian Vostok spacecraft, and more limited as a result. More...

Bibliography
  • NASA Astronaut Biographies, Johnson Space Center, NASA, 1995-present. Web Address when accessed: here.

Cooper Chronology


1959 April 2 - .
  • Seven astronauts selected for Mercury project. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Cooper; Grissom; Slayton; Carpenter; Shepard; Schirra; Glenn. Program: Mercury. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Mercury. Seven astronauts were selected for Project Mercury after a series of the most rigorous physical and mental tests ever given to U.S. test pilots. Chosen from a field of 110 candidates, the finalists were all qualified test pilots: Capts. Leroy G. Cooper, Jr., Virgil I. Grissom, and Donald K. Slayton, (USAF); Lt. Malcolm S. Carpenter, Lt. Comdr. Alan B. Shepard, Jr., and Lt. Comdr. Watler M. Schirra, Jr. (USN); and Lt. Col. John H. Glenn (USMC).

1959 April 2 - .
  • NASA Astronaut Training Group 1 selected. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Carpenter; Cooper; Glenn; Grissom; Schirra; Shepard; Slayton. The group was selected to provide six pilots for the single-crew Mercury manned spacecraft. Originally a wide pool of candidates was going to be considered, but in December 1958 President Eisenhower ruled that military test pilots would form the candidate pool.. Qualifications: Qualified jet pilot with minimum 1,500 flight-hours/10 years experience, graduate of test pilot school, bachelor's degree or equivalent, under 40 years old, under 180 cm height, excellent physical condition.. Screening of military service records showed 110 military officers that met these criteria. These 110 were to be called in three groups for briefings on the Mercury program. Of the first two groups of 35 called, 56 volunteered for further physical and psychiatric tests. This provided enough candidates and the third group was never even called for a briefing or asked if they would like to volunteer. Of the 56 tested, seven were finally selected (no objective way was found to reduce the seven finalists to six).

    Of the seven astronauts, all eventually flew in space. Grounded due to a heart murmur, Slayton had to wait 16 years for his flight aboard the last Apollo mission. Glenn left for a career in politics after becoming the first American to orbit the earth, but returned to space aboard a shuttle over 36 years later in a NASA publicity stunt. Schirra was the only astronaut to fly aboard Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo spacecraft. Shepard was the only one to reach the lunar surface (after being grounded for a medical condition during the Gemini program). Grissom would die in the Apollo 204 ground fire.


1962 October 3 - . 12:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC14. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. LV Configuration: Atlas D 113D.
  • Mercury MA-8 - . Call Sign: Sigma 7. Crew: Schirra. Backup Crew: Cooper. Payload: Mercury SC16. Mass: 1,374 kg (3,029 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Schirra; Cooper. Agency: NASA. Program: Mercury. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Mercury MA-8. Spacecraft: Mercury. Duration: 0.38 days. Decay Date: 1962-10-03 . USAF Sat Cat: 433 . COSPAR: 1962-B-Delta-1. Apogee: 285 km (177 mi). Perigee: 153 km (95 mi). Inclination: 32.5000 deg. Period: 88.80 min. The Sigma 7 spacecraft with Astronaut Walter M. Schirra, Jr., as pilot was launched into orbit by a Mercury-Atlas vehicle from Atlantic Missile Range. In the most successful American manned space flight to date, Schirra traveled nearly six orbits, returning to earth at a predetermined point in the Pacific Ocean 9 hours, 13 minutes after liftoff. Within 40 minutes after landing, he and his spacecraft were safely aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Kearsarge. Schirra attempted and achieved a nearly perfect mission by sticking rigorously to mission plan.

1962 November 13 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Cooper named for Mercury MA-9 1-day orbital mission - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Cooper; Shepard. Program: Mercury. Flight: Mercury MA-9. Summary: Gordon Cooper was named as the pilot for Mercury-Atlas 9 (MA-9) 1-day orbital mission slated for April 1963. Alan Shepard, pilot of Mercury-Redstone 3 (MR-3) was designated as backup pilot..

By the end of 1962 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. LV Configuration: Atlas D Mercury s/n 77D.
  • Mercury MA-9A (cancelled) - . Call Sign: Faith 7. Crew: Cooper. Backup Crew: Shepard. Payload: Mercury SC19. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Kennedy; Cooper; Shepard. Program: Mercury. Flight: Mercury MA-9A. Spacecraft: Mercury. NASA’s Mercury orbital operations plan of July 19, 1961 had four spacecraft equipped for three-orbit flights. However by Schirra’s flight the seven-astronaut corps was down to four. So even thought the flight-ready SC19 had been delivered to Cape Canaveral on March 20, 1962, the decision was taken to cancel the remaining short-duration mission and move directly to an 18 orbit mission.

1963 January 26 - .
  • New assignments for the seven original astronauts - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Cooper; Grissom; Slayton; Carpenter; Shepard; Schirra; Glenn; Armstrong; Borman; Conrad; Lovell; McDivitt; See; Stafford; White; Young. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Gemini. MSC announced new assignments for the seven original astronauts: L. Gordon Cooper, Jr., and Alan B. Shepard, Jr., would be responsible for the remaining pilot phases of Project Mercury; Virgil I. Grissom would specialize in Project Gemini; John H. Glenn, Jr., would concentrate on Project Apollo; M. Scott Carpenter would cover lunar excursion training; and Walter M. Schirra, Jr., would be responsible for Gemini and Apollo operations and training. As Coordinator for Astronaut Activities, Donald K. Slayton would maintain overall supervision of astronaut duties.

    Specialty areas for the second generation were: trainers and simulators, Neil A. Armstrong; boosters, Frank Borman; cockpit layout and systems integration, Charles Conrad, Jr.; recovery system, James A. Lovell, Jr.; guidance and navigation, James A. McDivitt; electrical, sequential, and mission planning, Elliot M. See, Jr.; communications, instrumentation, and range integration, Thomas P. Stafford; flight control systems, Edward H. White II; and environmental control systems, personal equipment, and survival equipment, John W. Young.


1963 February 21 - .
  • Cooper, Shepard briefed on experiments for Mercury MA-9 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Cooper; Shepard. Program: Mercury. Flight: Mercury MA-9. Gordon Cooper and Alan Shepard, pilot and backup pilot, respectively, for the Mercury-Atlas 9 (MA-9) mission, received a 1-day briefing on all experiments approved for the flight. Also at this time, all hardware and operational procedures to handle the experiments were established.

1963 March 28 - .
  • Cooper and Shepard received runs on the centrifuge for Mercury training - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Cooper; Shepard. Program: Mercury. Flight: Mercury MA-9. Summary: For the purpose of reviewing the MA-9 acceleration profile, pilot Gordon Cooper and backup pilot Alan Shepard received runs on the Johnsville centrifuge..

1963 April 5 - .
  • Cooper and Shepard visited the Morehead Planetarium for Mercury training - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Cooper; Shepard. Program: Mercury. Flight: Mercury MA-9. Gordon Cooper and Alan Shepard, MA-9 pilot and backup pilot, visited the Morehead Planetarium in North Carolina to review the celestial sphere model, practice star navigation, and observe a simulation of the flashing light beacon (an experiment planned for the MA-9 mission).

1963 April 10-11 - .
  • Recovery and egress training for Cooper and Shepard in preparation for Mercury MA-9 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Cooper; Shepard. Program: Mercury. Flight: Mercury MA-9. Full-scale recovery and egress training was conducted for Gordon Cooper and Alan Shepard in preparation for the Mercury MA-9 mission. During the exercise, egresses were effected from the spacecraft with subsequent helicopter pickup and dinghy boarding. The deployment and use of survival equipment were also practiced.

1963 May 13 - .
  • Korolev fights excessive VVS staff at Tyuratam. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Korolev; Bykovsky; Alekseyev, Semyon; Cooper. Flight: Vostok 5; Vostok 6; Mercury MA-9. Spacecraft: Sokol SK-1. The VVS wants to send 55 staff to Tyuratam for the launches, but Korolev wants no more than 25. This is just possible - 11 cosmonauts, 8 engineers, and vital support staff only. Bykovskiy was to start a two day run in the hot mock-up, but it was called off due to defects with his suits - the biosensors were wired to his helmet microphone! The suit seems not even to have been tested before delivery. Alekseyev was supposed to have it ready by 9 May, now it will only be ready for use by 14 May. Gordon Cooper is scheduled for a 34 hour Mercury flight tomorrow....

1963 May 15 - .
  • Cooper's flight scrubbed; Bukovskiy to start in Vostok 5 hot mock-up. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Cooper; Bykovsky. Flight: Vostok 5; Mercury MA-9. Spacecraft: Vostok. Cooper's flight was scrubbed due to a problem with the Bermuda tracking site. Bykovskiy's suit microphone failed on the second day in the hot-mock-up and he as to communicate by telephone or telegraph. The doctor's insistence that each cosmonaut spend the full duration of his planned flight in the hot mock-up is idiotic. The US practice is to simulate the active portions of the flight only. In actuality every day spent in a suit on the earth is as gruelling as three days in space.

1963 May 15 - . 13:04 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC14. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. LV Configuration: Atlas D 130D.
  • Mercury MA-9 - . Call Sign: Faith 7. Crew: Cooper. Backup Crew: Shepard. Payload: Mercury SC20. Mass: 1,376 kg (3,033 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Cooper; Shepard. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: Mercury. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Mercury MA-9. Spacecraft: Mercury. Duration: 1.43 days. Decay Date: 1963-05-16 . USAF Sat Cat: 576 . COSPAR: 1963-015A. Apogee: 265 km (164 mi). Perigee: 163 km (101 mi). Inclination: 32.5000 deg. Period: 88.70 min. Summary: Final Mercury mission, Faith 7, was piloted by Astronaut L. Gordon Cooper, Jr..

1963 May 16 - .
  • Bykovsky's ordeal in Vostok-5 hot mock-up to be ended on third day. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Cooper; Bykovsky. Flight: Vostok 5; Mercury MA-9. Spacecraft: Vostok. Summary: It is decided that extending Bykovskiy's ordeal in the hot mock-up to a third day makes no sense. The IAKM doctors are utterly incompetent. Cooper has landed after a successful flight. The US is now hot on our tail in the space race. .

1963 May 16 - .
  • Landing of Mercury MA-9 - . Return Crew: Cooper. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Cooper. Program: Mercury. Flight: Mercury MA-9. After 22 orbits, virtually all spacecraft systems had failed, and Cooper manually fired the retrorockets and the spacecraft reentered the atmosphere, landing safely in the Pacific Ocean at 23:24 GMT, 34 hours, 19 minutes, and 49 seconds after liftoff. Cooper was reported in good condition, and this turned out to be the final Mercury flight.

1963 October - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. LV Configuration: Atlas D Mercury s/n 144D.
  • Mercury MA-10 (cancelled) - . Call Sign: Freedom 7 II. Crew: Shepard. Backup Crew: Cooper. Payload: Mercury SC15B. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Shepard; Cooper. Program: Mercury. Flight: Mercury MA-10. Spacecraft: Mercury. Alan Shepard, and others pushed for a six day Mercury 10 endurance mission. This would give America the manned space endurance record for the first time and also cover the biological objectives of the first two Gemini missions. The Mercury 15B capsule had already been modified for long-duration flight and Shepard had the name 'Freedom 7 II' painted on the side. But the risk and work pending on Gemini persuaded NASA managers not to undertake another mission.

1965 August 21 - . 14:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC19. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan II GLV. LV Configuration: Titan II GLV GT-5 / 62-12560.
  • Gemini 5 - . Call Sign: Gemini 5. Crew: Conrad; Cooper. Backup Crew: Armstrong; See. Payload: Gemini SC5/Rendezvous Evaluation Pod. Mass: 3,605 kg (7,947 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Conrad; Cooper; Armstrong; See. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: Gemini. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Gemini 5. Spacecraft: Gemini; Gemini Radar; Gemini REP. Duration: 7.96 days. Decay Date: 1965-08-29 . USAF Sat Cat: 1516 . COSPAR: 1965-068A. Apogee: 395 km (245 mi). Perigee: 304 km (188 mi). Inclination: 32.6000 deg. Period: 91.50 min. Major objectives of the eight-day mission were evaluating the performance of the rendezvous guidance and navigation system, using a rendezvous evaluation pod (REP), and evaluating the effects of prolonged exposure to the space environment on the flight crew. Secondary objectives included demonstrating controlled reentry guidance, evaluating fuel cell performance, demonstrating all phases of guidance and control system operation needed for a rendezvous mission, evaluating the capability of either pilot to maneuver the spacecraft in orbit to rendezvous, evaluating the performance of rendezvous radar, and executing 17 experiments. The mission proceeded without incident through the first two orbits and the ejection of the REP. About 36 minutes after beginning evaluation of the rendezvous guidance and navigation system, the crew noted that the pressure in the oxygen supply tank of the fuel cell system was falling. Pressure dropped from 850 pounds per square inch absolute (psia) at 26 minutes into the flight until it stabilized at 70 psia at 4 hours 22 minutes, and gradually increased through the remainder of the mission. The spacecraft was powered down and the REP exercise was abandoned. By the seventh revolution, experts on the ground had analyzed the problem and a powering-up procedure was started. During the remainder of the mission the flight plan was continuously scheduled in real time. Four rendezvous radar tests were conducted during the mission, the first in revolution 14 on the second day; the spacecraft rendezvous radar successfully tracked a transponder on the ground at Cape Kennedy. During the third day, a simulated Agena rendezvous was conducted at full electrical load. The simulation comprised four maneuvers - apogee adjust, phase adjust, plane change, and coelliptical maneuver - using the orbit attitude and maneuver system (OAMS). Main activities through the fourth day of the mission concerned operations and experiments. During the fifth day, OAMS operation became sluggish and thruster No. 7 inoperative. Thruster No. 8 went out the next day, and the rest of the system was gradually becoming more erratic. Limited experimental and operational activities continued through the remainder of the mission. Retrofire was initiated in the 121st revolution during the eighth day of the mission, one revolution early because of threatening weather in the planned recovery area. Reentry and landing were satisfactory, but the landing point was 145 km short, the result of incorrect navigation coordinates transmitted to the spacecraft computer from the ground network. Landing occurred August 29, 190 hours 55 minutes after the mission had begun. The astronauts arrived on board the prime recovery ship, the aircraft carrier Lake Champlain, at 9:25. The spacecraft was recovered at 11:51 a.m.

    With this flight, the US finally took the manned spaceflight endurance record from Russia, while demonstrating that the crew could survive in zero gravity for the length of time required for a lunar mission. However the mission was incredibly boring, the spacecraft just drifting to conserve fuel most of the time, and was 'just about the hardest thing I've ever done' according to a hyperactive Pete Conrad. An accident with freeze dried shrimp resulted in the cabin being filled with little pink subsatellites.


1965 August 29 - .
  • Landing of Gemini 5 - . Return Crew: Conrad; Cooper. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Conrad; Cooper. Program: Gemini. Flight: Gemini 5. The crew had to use the re-entry thrusters to orient the spacecraft due to OAMS system failures. The retrofire and re-entry were conducted in darkness by the spacecraft computer. However the computer had been misprogrammed with an erroneous rotation rate of the earth (390 degrees per day instead of 360.98 degrees per day). Cooper's efforts compensated for what he recognized as an erroneous reading and brought the capsule down closer to the ship than they would otherwise have been.

1966 November 11 - . 20:46 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC19. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan II GLV. LV Configuration: Titan II GLV GT-12 / 62-12567.
  • Gemini 12 - . Call Sign: Gemini 12. Crew: Aldrin; Lovell. Backup Crew: Cernan; Cooper. Payload: Gemini SC12. Mass: 3,763 kg (8,295 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Aldrin; Lovell; Cernan; Cooper. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: Gemini. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Gemini 12. Spacecraft: Gemini; Gemini Radar. Duration: 3.94 days. Decay Date: 1966-11-15 . USAF Sat Cat: 2566 . COSPAR: 1966-104A. Apogee: 289 km (179 mi). Perigee: 250 km (150 mi). Inclination: 28.8000 deg. Period: 89.90 min. Two very serious astronauts get it all right to end the program. Docked and redocked with Agena, demonstrating various Apollo scenarios including manual rendezvous and docking without assistance from ground control. Aldrin finally demonstrates ability to accomplish EVA without overloading suit by use of suitable restraints and careful movement.

    Major objectives of the mission were to rendezvous and dock and to evaluate extravehicular activities (EVA). Among the secondary objectives were tethered vehicle evaluation, experiments, third revolution rendezvous and docking, automatic reentry demonstration, docked maneuvering for a high-apogee excursion, docking practice, systems tests, and Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) parking. The high-apogee excursion was not attempted because an anomaly was noted in the GATV primary propulsion system during insertion, and parking was not attempted because the GATV's attitude control gas was depleted. All other objectives were achieved. Nine spacecraft maneuvers effected rendezvous with the GATV. The onboard radar malfunctioned before the terminal phase initiate maneuver, but the crew used onboard backup procedures to calculate the maneuvers. Rendezvous was achieved at 3 hours 46 minutes ground elapsed time, docking 28 minutes later. Two phasing maneuvers, using the GATV secondary propulsion system, were accomplished, but the primary propulsion system was not used. The first of two periods of standup EVA began at 19 hours 29 minutes into the flight and lasted for 2 hours 29 minutes. During a more than two-hour umbilical EVA which began at 42 hours 48 minutes, Aldrin attached a 100-foot tether from the GATV to the spacecraft docking bar. He spent part of the period at the spacecraft adapter, evaluating various restraint systems and performing various basic tasks. The second standup EVA lasted 55 minutes, ending at 67 hours 1 minute ground elapsed time. The tether evaluation began at 47 hours 23 minutes after liftoff, with the crew undocking from the GATV. The tether tended to remain slack, although the crew believed that the two vehicles did slowly attain gravity-gradient stabilization. The crew jettisoned the docking bar and released the tether at 51 hours 51 minutes. Several spacecraft systems suffered problems during the flight. Two fuel cell stacks failed and had to be shut down, while two others experienced significant loss of power. At 39 hours 30 minutes ground elapsed time, the crew reported that little or no thrust was available from two orbit attitude and maneuver thrusters.


1969 May 18 - . 16:49 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn V. LV Configuration: Saturn V SA-505.
  • Apollo 10 - . Call Sign: Charlie Brown. Crew: Cernan; Stafford; Young. Backup Crew: Cooper; Eisele; Mitchell. Payload: Apollo CSM 106 / Apollo LM 4 / Saturn S-IVB-505N. Mass: 28,870 kg (63,640 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Cernan; Stafford; Young; Cooper; Eisele; Mitchell. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: Apollo. Class: Moon. Type: Manned lunar spacecraft. Flight: Apollo 10. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM. Duration: 8.00 days. Decay Date: 1969-05-26 . USAF Sat Cat: 3941 . COSPAR: 1969-043A. Apogee: 186 km (115 mi). Perigee: 185 km (114 mi). Inclination: 32.5000 deg. Period: 88.19 min. Final dress rehearsal in lunar orbit for landing on moon. LM separated and descended to 10 km from surface of moon but did not land. Apollo 10 (AS-505) - with crew members Thomas P. Stafford, Eugene A. Cernan, and John W. Young aboard - lifted off from Pad B, Launch Complex 39, KSC, at 12:49 p.m. EDT on the first lunar orbital mission with complete spacecraft. The Saturn V's S-IVB stage and the spacecraft were inserted into an earth parking orbit of 189.9 by 184.4 kilometers while the onboard systems were checked. The S-IVB engine was then ignited at 3:19 p.m. EDT to place the spacecraft in a trajectory toward the moon. One-half hour later the CSM separated from the S-IVB, transposed, and docked with the lunar module. At 4:29 p.m. the docked spacecraft were ejected, a separation maneuver was performed, and the S-IVB was placed in a solar orbit by venting residual propellants. TV coverage of docking procedures was transmitted to the Goldstone, Calif., tracking station for worldwide, commercial viewing.

    On May 19 the crew elected not to make the first of a series of midcourse maneuvers. A second preplanned midcourse correction that adjusted the trajectory to coincide with a July lunar landing trajectory was executed at 3:19 p.m. The maneuver was so accurate that preplanned third and fourth midcourse corrections were canceled. During the translunar coast, five color TV transmissions totaling 72 minutes were made of the spacecraft and the earth.

    At 4:49 p.m. EDT on May 21 the spacecraft was inserted into a lunar orbit of 110.4 by 315.5 kilometers. After two revolutions of tracking and ground updates, a maneuver circularized the orbit at 109.1 by 113.9 kilometers. Astronaut Cernan then entered the LM, checked all systems, and returned to the CM for the scheduled sleep period.

    On May 22 activation of the lunar module systems began at 11:49 a.m. EDT. At 2:04 p.m. the spacecraft were undocked and at 4:34 p.m. the LM was inserted into a descent orbit. One hour later the LM made a low-level pass at an altitude of 15.4 kilometers over the planned site for the first lunar landing. The test included a test of the landing radar, visual observation of lunar lighting, stereo photography of the moon, and execution of a phasing maneuver using the descent engine. The lunar module returned to dock successfully with the CSM following the eight-hour separation, and the LM crew returned to the CSM.

    The LM ascent stage was jettisoned, its batteries were burned to depletion, and it was placed in a solar orbit on May 23. The crew then prepared for the return trip to earth and after 61.5 hours in lunar orbit a service propulsion system TEI burn injected the CSM into a trajectory toward the earth. During the return trip the astronauts made star-lunar landmark sightings, star-earth horizon navigation sightings, and live television transmissions.


2004 October 4 - .
  • Death of Leroy Gordon Jr 'Gordo' Cooper at Ventura, California. Natural causes. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Cooper. Summary: American test pilot astronaut. Flew on Mercury MA-9, Gemini 5. First American to spend over a day in space. High spirited, and reportedly denied an Apollo assignment..

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