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    NASA Career

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    MSC Names Nine New Pilot Trainees

    Reprinted from the JSC Space Roundup - September 19, 1962
    Nine new Manned Spacecraft Center flight test pilots were presented to the public Monday afternoon in a Houston press conference before being assigned to a comprehensive training program designed to prepare them for possible space flight.

    The nine were Neil A. Armstrong; Air Force Major Frank Borman; Navy Lieutenant Charles Conrad, Jr; Navy Lieutenant Commander James A. Lovell, Jr.; Air Force Captain James A. McDivitt; Elliott M. See, Jr.; Air Force Captain Thomas P. Stafford; Air Force Captain Edward H. White, II; and Navy Lieutenant Commander John W. Young.

    From these nine and the present seven astronauts will come the flight crews for future space missions.

    Their selection culminated more than six months of extensive evaluation of 200 volunteers.

    The new test pilots will not all necessarily participate in actual space flights, MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth stressed at the press conference. "Assignment to flight crews," he said, "will depend upon the continuing physical and technical status of the individuals concerned, and upon the future flight schedule requirements.

    "Important Role"

    "The new flight test personnel will, however, have an important role in the Manned Spacecraft Center space program, in addition to any flight participation. This role will include contributions to engineering design, to the development of future spacecraft, the monitoring of flights, and to the development of advanced flight simulators."

    The original invitation for volunteers for the flight test program was announced last April. Criteria for selection included experience as a jet test pilot, preferably still going on; status as an experimental flight test pilot acquired either through military service, through aircraft industries, or through NASA, or else a certificate of graduation from a military test pilot school; a degree in physical or biological sciences, or in engineering; U. S. citizenship; age less than 35 at the time of selection; a height of six feet or less; and recommendation from the applicant's organization.

    The qualifications were similar to those for the original seven astronauts, but unlike earlier criteria opened the way for civilian volunteers. The new standards also allowed candidates to be somewhat taller and reduced the age limit required, the latter because of the long-range nature of the program.

    From Seven States

    The new pilots were born in seven of the United States, two each from Ohio and Texas and one each from California, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Oklahoma. (The Project Mercury astronauts were born in Colorado, Oklahoma, Ohio, New Jersey, New Hampshire and Wisconsin.)

    Four Air Force, three Navy and two civilian pilots form the new group. The Project Mercury team is composed of three Navy, three Air Force and one Marine pilot.

    The pilots selected in 1959 had an average of more than 3,500 hours flying time, including 1,700 hours in jet aircraft. The new group has an average of about 2,800 hours flying time, 1,900 of it in jets.

    Average age of the new group is 32.5, compared to 34.5 year age average of the seven Mercury astronauts. Average weight of the new pilots is slightly over that of the first group-161.5 pounds as compared to 159 pounds. The new pilots average only two-tenths of an inch taller than those already in the program, however.

    Applications were received until June 1 and each application was carefully reviewed in terms of these basic qualification requirements. Each candidate who met the five basic standards was required to take and complete a variety of forms describing his academic background, flight and work experience in detail. Each was required to take a medical examination and to forward the results to MSC.

    Selection Committee

    A preliminary selection committee met in June to consider 63 of the most highly-qualified applicants. The committee was composed of MSC management, and representatives from the present group of astronauts.

    Criteria such as flight test experience, academic achievement and present supervisor's evaluation were studied.

    Thirty-two of the most outstanding applicants were selected for further study. This group included volunteers from all four military services and civilian applicants.

    During July and August, the group of 32 were given medical examinations, and one was eliminated as being too tall. During the week of August 12, the remaining 31 applicants reported to Houston for four days of examinations and interviews. For the next few weeks, the selection committee carefully reviewed and evaluated tests and interviews. Eventually, nine were selected from which to draw flight crews for future missions.

    "It is planned that in late stages of Apollo spacecraft development a third group of flight test personnel will be selected to join those then available as the pool from which Apollo flight crews will be chosen," personnel Director Stuart Clarke said Monday.

    Training Program

    MSC Associate Director Walter C. Williams said that an intensive training program will be implemented in miD-October for the new pilots. "The early phases of this training program will familiarize them with the Mercury spacecraft, launch vehicle and operational techniques. They will then receive spacecraft and launch vehicle briefings on Gemini and Apollo. As they become more familiar with Gemini and Apollo, they will be assigned, together with the current Mercury pilots, to help establish design and operational concepts," Williams said.

    "Concurrent with the project-oriented aspects of the program, the men will attend basic science lectures one or two days per week. Because of their previous academic and occupational experience, most of the courses will be of the refresher type. The basic program will place special emphasis on space navigation, computer theory, flight mechanics, astronomy, physics of the upper atmosphere and space, bioastronautics, advanced propulsion systems, aerodynamics, guidance and control, space communications, global meteorology, and selenology.

    "During later phases of the training program, the pilots will work with static and dynamic simulators to establish detailed flight operational procedures.

    "NASA has established a special aircraft operations group in Houston to provide proficiency flying for the pilots. T-33 and F-102 type aircraft are being assigned.

    "Although the early phases of this training program were tailored primarily for the new pilots, the Mercury pilots will be integrated with the new group immediately, and all will train together insofar as is practical," Williams said.

    Young portrait John W. Young

    John W. Young was born in San Francisco, Calif. Sept. 24, 1930.

    He graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1952 with a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering.

    Young joined the Navy in June of 19S2. His last assignment was as maintenance officer for Fighter Squadron 53 at the Naval Air Station, Miramar, Calif.

    Earlier this year he set world time-to-climb records for the 3,000 meter and 25,000 meter events in Project High Jump. He has logged 2,300 hours flying time, including 1,600 hours in jet aircraft.

    From 1959 until 1962 he was program manager and test pilot for the Navy's F4H project, flying and writing technical reports and test results for preliminary evaluation by the Navy.

    His father, William Young, lives in Orlando, Fla. Young is five feet, nine inches tall, weighs 173 pounds, has brown hair and green eyes.

    He is married to the former Barbara Vincent White of Savannah, Ga. and they have two children, Sandra, 5 and John, 3.

    His hobbies include swimming, water skiing and physical fitness exercises. He is also a member of Toastmasters International.

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