McDivitt, James Alton 'Jim'
Astronaut James McDivitt photographed inside Command Module during EVA
(1929-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on Gemini 4, Apollo 9. Flew 145 combat missions during the Korean War.
NAME: James A. McDivitt
BIRTHPLACE AND DATE: McDivitt was born June 10, 1929, in Chicago.
EDUCATION: Bachelor of Science Degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1959.
EXPERIENCE: McDivitt joined the Air Force in 1951 and retired in 1972 as a Brigadier General. He flew 145 combat missions during the Korean War in F-80s and F-86 fighters. He then attended the USAF Experimental Test Pilot School and the USAF Aerospace Research Pilot Course and flew as an experimental test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base, California.
NASA selected him as an astronaut in 1962. He was Command Pilot for Gemini 4, a four-day mission launched on June 3, 1965. During the mission astronaut Edward H. White made America's first space walk. McDivitt next commanded Apollo 9, a ten day earth orbit flight launched March 3, 1969. Together with David R. Scott and Russell L. Schweickart, Scott conducted first Ďall-up' test of the complete set of Apollo moon-landing hardware. McDivitt and Schweickart separated the Lunar Module and flew 180 km from Scott and the Command Module before manoeuvring back to redock with the Command Module.
McDivitt became NASA's Manager of Lunar Landing Operations in May 1969 and led the team that planned the lunar exploration program. In August of that year he became Manager of the Apollo spacecraft program and stayed in that for Apollo missions 12 to 16. He left NASA in 1972 to enter business.
After serving as President of the Pullman Standard Corporation, McDivitt became Senior Vice President, Government Operations and International, for Rockwell International Corporation.
Official USAF Biography
BRIGADIER GENERAL JAMES A. MCDIVITT
Retired Sept. 1, 1972
Brigadier General James A. McDivitt is a National Aeronautics and Space Administration astronaut and the manager of the Apollo Spacecraft Program, NASA Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston, Texas.
General McDivitt was born in 1929, in Chicago, Ill. He graduated from Central High School in Kalamazoo, Mich., and received his bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1959. He entered the Air Force as an aviation cadet in January 1951, received his pilot wings and commission as second lieutenant in May 1952 at Williams Air Force Base, Ariz., and completed combat crew training in November 1952.
He then went to Korea where he flew 145 combat missions in F-80 and F-86 aircraft with the 35th Bombardment Squadron during the Korean War. He returned to the United States in September 1953 and served as pilot and assistant operations officer with the 19th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Dow Air Force Base, Maine. In November 1954 General McDivitt entered advanced flying school at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., and in July 1955 went to McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., where he served as pilot, operations officer, and later as flight commander with the 332d Fighter Interceptor Squadron. He returned to school in June 1957 at the University of Michigan under the Air Force Institute of Technology program and received his bachelor of science degree.
General McDivitt went to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., as a student test pilot in June 1959. He remained there with the Air Force Flight Test Center as an experimental flight test pilot, completed the U.S. Air Force Aerospace Research Pilot School, and joined the Manned Spacecraft Operations Branch in July 1962. He has logged more than 4,500 hours flying time, more than 3,500 hours in jet aircraft.
General McDivitt was selected as an astronaut by NASA in September 1962. He was command pilot for Gemini IV, a 66-orbit, 4-day mission in June 1965. Highlights of the mission included opening of the spacecraft cabin doors, an extravehicular activity period performed by pilot Ed White, and the completion of 12 scientific and medical experiments.
During March 1969 he was also commander of Apollo 9, an earth orbital mission, which was the first demonstration of the entire set of Apollo flight hardware. The highlights of this mission include the first flight of the lunar module, the first rendezvous between the LM and the command and service module, and first joint operation of two manned spacecraft in flight, and an extravehicular activity period.
In June 1969 he left the Astronaut Office and became manager for Lunar Landing Operations in the Apollo Spacecraft Program Office. In this position he was responsible for planning the lunar landing missions subsequent to the first landing and redesigning the Apollo spacecraft to extend their lunar exploration capability.
In September 1969 he became manager, Apollo Spacecraft Program, with overall responsibility for the entire Apollo Spacecraft Program.
General McDivitt is a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the American Astronautical Society, Tau Beta Pi, and Phi Kappa Phi.
His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal (Air Force design), Distinguished Flying Cross with three oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters, NASA Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, NASA Exceptional Service Medal, Order of Military Merit from South Korea, and the Air Force Astronaut Wings. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Astronautical Science from the University of Michigan in 1965, an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Seton Hall University in 1969, and an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Miami University of Ohio in 1970.
He was promoted to the temporary grade of brigadier general effective March 1, 1972, with date of rank Feb. 17, 1972.
(Current as of March 15, 1972)
Departed Date: 1972-09-01. Marital Status: married. Children: six children. Education: Michigan;Edwards.
Birth Place: Chicago, Illinois.
More... - Chronology...
Spaceflights: 2 .
Total time in space: 14.12 days.
Astronaut Category of persons, applied to those trained for spaceflight outside of Russia and China. More...
Gemini 4 Crew: McDivitt, White. First American space walk. First American long-duration spaceflight. Astronaut could barely get back into capsule after spacewalk. Failure of spacecraft computer resulted in high-G ballistic re-entry. Backup crew: Borman, Lovell. More...
Apollo 204 Crew: Chaffee, Grissom, White. The first manned flight of the Apollo CSM, the Apollo C category mission. Crew killed in a fire while testing their capsule on the pad on 27 January 1967, still weeks away from launch. Set back Apollo program by 18 months. Backup crew: McDivitt, Scott, Schweickart, Schirra,
Eisele, Cunningham. More...
Apollo 207 Crew: McDivitt, Schweickart, Scott. Planned Apollo D mission. Two Saturn IB launches would put Apollo CSM and LM into orbit. CSM crew would dock with LM, test it in earth orbit. Cancelled after Apollo 204 fire. Backup crew: Cernan, Stafford, Young. More...
Apollo 9 Crew: McDivitt, Schweickart, Scott. First manned test of the Lunar Module. First test of the Apollo space suits. First manned flight of a spacecraft incapable of returning to earth. If rendezvous of the Lunar Module with the Apollo CSM had failed, crew would have been stranded in orbit. Backup crew: Bean, Conrad, Gordon. More...
Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
USAF American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. United States Air Force, USA. More...
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...
Air Force Link, Web Address when accessed: here.
1962 April 18 -
- NASA announced that applications would be accepted for additional astronauts until June 1, 1962. - .
Nation: USA. Related Persons: Armstrong; Borman; Conrad; Lovell; McDivitt; See; Stafford; White; Young. Spacecraft: Gemini. NASA planned to select five to ten astronauts to augment the seven-member Mercury astronaut team. The new pilots would participate in support operations in Project Mercury and would join the Mercury astronauts in piloting the two-man Gemini spacecraft. To be chosen, the applicant must (1) be an experienced jet test pilot and preferably be presently engaged in flying high-performance aircraft; (2) have attained experimental flight test status through military service, aircraft industry, or NASA, or must have graduated from a military test pilot school; (3) have earned a degree in the physical or biological sciences or in engineering; (4) be a United States citizen under 35 years of age at the time of selection, six feet or less in height; and (5) be recommended by his parent organization. Pilots meeting these qualifications would be interviewed in July and given written examinations on their engineering and scientific knowledge. Selected applicants would then be thoroughly examined by a group of medical specialists. The training program for the new astronauts would include work with design and development engineers, simulator flying, centrifuge training, additional scientific training, and flights in high-performance aircraft.
1962 September 11 -
- NASA Astronaut Training Group 2 selected. - .
Nation: USA. Related Persons: Borman; Conrad; Lovell; McDivitt; See; Stafford; White; Young. The group was selected to provide pilots for the Gemini program and early Apollo missions.. Qualifications: Test pilot status (either military, NASA, or aircraft industry), qualified jet pilot with minimum 1,000 flight-hours, under 35 years old, under 183 cm height, excellent health. US citizen.. 253 applicants survived initial NASA screening of their records. Following physical and psychiatric tests, nine were selected. Eight made it to space (See was killed in a T-38 crash before his first spaceflight). This was generally considered the highest quality group of astronauts ever selected. They would command the missions during the glory days of the American space program - Gemini, Apollo, and Skylab. Young was the only astronaut to fly Gemini, Apollo, and the Shuttle program. Armstrong was the only one to fly the X-15, Gemini, and Apollo. Conrad was the only one to fly Gemini, Apollo, and Skylab.
1962 September 17 -
- Nine new astronauts named - .
Nation: USA. Related Persons: Armstrong; Borman; Conrad; Lovell; McDivitt; See; Stafford; White; Young. Program: Gemini. Spacecraft: Gemini. NASA's nine new astronauts were named in Houston, Tex., by Robert R. Gilruth, MSC Director. Chosen from 253 applicants, the former test pilots who would join the original seven Mercury astronauts in training for Projects Gemini and Apollo were: Neil A. Armstrong, NASA civilian test pilot; Maj. Frank Borman, Air Force; Lt. Charles Conrad, Jr., Navy; Lt.Cdr. James A, Lovell, Jr., Navy; Capt. James A. McDivitt, Air Force; Elliot M. See, Jr., civilian test pilot for the General Electric Company; Capt. Thomas P. Stafford, Air Force; Capt. Edward H. White II, Air Force; and Lt. Cdr. John W. Young, Navy.
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 January 26 -
- Manned Spacecraft Center announced specialty areas for the nine new astronauts. - .
Nation: USA. Related Persons: Armstrong; Borman; Conrad; Lovell; McDivitt; See; Stafford; White; Young. Spacecraft: Gemini; Gemini ECS. Manned Spacecraft Center announced specialty areas for the nine new astronauts: trainers and simulators, Neil A. Armstrong; boosters, Frank Borman; cockpit layout and systems integration, Charles Conrad, Jr.; recovery systems, 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 and survival equipment, John W Young.
1963 May 6 -
- Apollo LEM manual control simulated - .
Nation: USA. Related Persons: Carpenter; Schirra; Armstrong; McDivitt; See; White; Conrad; Young. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM; CSM Guidance; LM Simulator. Astronauts M. Scott Carpenter, Walter M. Schirra, Jr., Neil A. Armstrong, James A. McDivitt, Elliot M. See, Jr., Edward H. White II, Charles Conrad, Jr., and John W. Young participated in a study in LTV's Manned Space Flight Simulator at Dallas, Tex. Under an MSC contract, LTV was studying the astronauts' ability to control the LEM manually and to rendezvous with the CM if the primary guidance system failed during descent.
1964 October 17 -
- First Gemini extravehicular prototype suit. - .
Nation: USA. Related Persons: McDivitt. Spacecraft: G4C. Crew Systems Division reported that the first Gemini extravehicular prototype suit had been received from the contractor and assigned to Astronaut James A.McDivitt for evaluation in the Gemini mission simulator. Crew Systems Division reported that the first Gemini extravehicular prototype suit had been received from the contractor and assigned to Astronaut James A. McDivitt for evaluation in the Gemini mission simulator. During the test, McDivitt complained of some bulkiness and immobility while the suit was in the unpressurized condition, but the bulk did not appear to hinder mobility when the suit was pressurized. The thermal/micrometeoroid cover layer had been installed on a test suit sent to Ling-Temco-Vought for thermal testing in the space simulator chamber.
1965 June 3 -
15:16 GMT - .
: Cape Canaveral
. Launch Complex
: Cape Canaveral LC19
. LV Family
. Launch Vehicle
: Titan II GLV
. LV Configuration
: Titan II GLV GT-4 / 62-12559.
1965 June 7 -
- Landing of Gemini 4 - .
Return Crew: McDivitt; White. Nation: USA. Related Persons: McDivitt; White. Program: Gemini. Flight: Gemini 4. Gemini 4 landed at 17:11 GMT in the Atlantic Ocean about 725 km east of Cape Kennedy - some 65 km from its nominal landing point due to failure of its guidance computer. The crew boarded a helicopter 34 minutes after landing and was transported to the prime recovery ship, the aircraft carrier Wasp. Spacecraft recovery was completed at 2:28 p.m., a little more than 100 hours after Gemini 4 had been launched. Gemini 4 was the first mission to be controlled from the mission control center in Houston. Additional Details: here....
1966 October 19 -
: Saturn I
. Launch Vehicle
: Saturn I
1967 January 27 -
: Cape Canaveral
. LV Family
: Saturn I
. Launch Vehicle
: Saturn IB
1967 August -
: Saturn I
; Saturn V
- Apollo 207 (cancelled) - .
Crew: McDivitt; Schweickart; Scott. Backup Crew: Cernan; Stafford; Young. Payload: CSM-101. Nation: USA. Related Persons: McDivitt; Schweickart; Scott; Cernan; Stafford; Young. Program: Apollo. Flight: Apollo 207. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM. Before the Apollo 1 fire, it was planned that McDivitt's crew would conduct the Apollo D mission - a first manned test in earth orbit of the Lunar Module. Separate Saturn IB launches would put Apollo Block II CSM 101 / AS-207 and Lunar Module LM-2 / AS-208 into earth orbit. The crew would then rendezvous and dock with the lunar module and put it through its paces. After the fire, it was decided to launch the mission on a single Saturn V as Apollo 9.
1969 March 3 -
16:00 GMT - .
: Cape Canaveral
. Launch Complex
: Cape Canaveral LC39A
. LV Family
: Saturn V
. Launch Vehicle
: Saturn V
. LV Configuration
: Saturn V SA-504.
- Apollo 9 - .
Call Sign: Gumdrop. Crew: McDivitt; Schweickart; Scott. Backup Crew: Bean; Conrad; Gordon. Payload: Apollo CSM 104 / Apollo LM 3 / Saturn S-IVB-504N. Mass: 36,511 kg (80,492 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: McDivitt; Schweickart; Scott; Bean; Conrad; Gordon. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: Apollo. Class: Moon. Type: Manned lunar spacecraft. Flight: Apollo 9. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM. Duration: 10.04 days. Decay Date: 1969-03-13 . USAF Sat Cat: 3769 . COSPAR: 1969-018A. Apogee: 187 km (116 mi). Perigee: 185 km (114 mi). Inclination: 32.6000 deg. Period: 88.60 min. Apollo 9 (AS-504), the first manned flight with the lunar
module (LM-3), was launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, KSC, on a
Saturn V launch vehicle at 11:00 a.m. EST March 3. Originally scheduled
for a February 28 liftoff, the launch had been delayed to allow crew
members James A. McDivitt, David R. Scott, and Russell L. Schweickart
to recover from a mild virus respiratory illness. Following a normal
launch phase, the S-IVB stage inserted the spacecraft into an orbit of
192.3 by 189.3 kilometers. After post-insertion checkout, CSM 104
separated from the S-IVB, was transposed, and docked with the LM. At
3:08 p.m. EST, the docked spacecraft were separated from the S-IVB,
which was then placed on an earth-escape trajectory.
On March 4 the crew tracked landmarks, conducted pitch and roll yaw
maneuvers, and increased the apogee by service propulsion system burns.
On March 5 McDivitt and Schweickart entered the LM through the docking
tunnel, evaluated the LM systems, transmitted the first of two series of
telecasts, and fired the LM descent propulsion system. They then
returned to the CM.
McDivitt and Schweickart reentered the LM on March 6. After transmitting
a second telecast, Schweickart performed a 37-minute extravehicular
activity (EVA), walking between the LM and CSM hatches, maneuvering on
handrails, taking photographs, and describing rain squalls over KSC.
On March 7, with McDivitt and Schweickart once more in the LM, Scott
separated the CSM from the LM and fired the reaction control system
thrusters to obtain a distance of 5.5 kilometers between the two
spacecraft. McDivitt and Schweickart then performed a lunar-module
active rendezvous. The LM successfully docked with the CSM after being
up to 183.5 kilometers away from it during the six-and-one-half-hour
separation. After McDivitt and Schweickart returned to the CSM, the LM
ascent stage was jettisoned.
During the remainder of the mission, the crew tracked Pegasus
III, NASA's meteoroid detection satellite that had been launched
July 30, 1965; took multispectral photos of the earth; exercised the
spacecraft systems; and prepared for reentry.
1969 March 13 -
- Landing of Apollo 9 - .
Return Crew: McDivitt; Schweickart; Scott. Nation: USA. Related Persons: McDivitt; Schweickart; Scott. Program: Apollo. Flight: Apollo 9. The Apollo 9 CM splashed down in the Atlantic 290 kilometers east of the Bahamas at 17:01 GMT. The crew was picked up by helicopter and flown to the recovery ship U.S.S. Guadalcanal within one hour after splashdown. Primary objectives of the flight were successfully accomplished.
1969 August 7 -
- Modes for future Apollo lunar surface exploration - .
Nation: USA. Related Persons: Armstrong; Aldrin; McDivitt. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LRV. George Low, James McDivitt, Neil Armstrong, and Edwin Aldrin discussed lunar exploration that could be carried out by astronauts walking in spacesuits or riding roving vehicles. The following conclusions were reached: "a. A possible mode of exploration would be to walk 1 hour (3 to 5 miles (5 to 8 kilometers)) to an exploration site; spend 1 to 2 hours at that site; and then return to the LM. b. It would be easy to carry anything that need be carried, provided that it did not require the hands for the purpose. c. A roving vehicle might work if it had extremely large wheels. There appeared to be no significant advantage of using the presently conceived roving vehicle instead of walking. d. All extravehicular excursions should be carried out by two men at a time. e. Excursions should not be carried out beyond the radius of ground communications."
1969 September 25 -
- James A McDivitt appointed Apollo ASPO Manager - .
Nation: USA. Related Persons: Low, George; McDivitt. Program: Apollo. Summary: James A. McDivitt was appointed ASPO Manager at MSC. George M. Low, former ASPO Manager was temporarily on special assignment at MSC to plan future MSC programs and work on organizational matters..
1972 April 28 -
- Owen G Morris appointed Manager, Apollo Spacecraft Program Office - .
Nation: USA. Related Persons: McDivitt. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM. Owen G. Morris was appointed Manager, Apollo Spacecraft Program Office, at MSC. Morris, who had been Manager for the Lunar Module, succeeded James A. McDivitt, who was appointed Special Assistant to the Center Director for Organizational Affairs. Both appointments were effective immediately.
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