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dks13827

Astronaut Wally Schirra

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Al Worden relates this joke on Wally in his new book:
"Falling to Earth". This was in the 1990's.

Wally and 3 astronauts travelled to a charity event out of town...

The 3 astronaut buddies set this up with the hotel manager... in Wally's room.

The 3 astronauts hid in Wally's bathroom..

The hotel manager and his sexretary got in the bed under the covers and hugged.

The bellman took Wally to his room, opened the door and popped on the lights !!

The girl in the bed sits up and screams !!! ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!! real loud !!!

The guy in bed sits up and says "Oh my God !!!!!

Then he says..

" say.. aren't you Wally Schirra !!! Can I have your autograph please ????"

Then the 3 buddies popped out of the bathroom laughing....... GOTCHA WALLY !!!!!!!!

Wally was the king of Gotcha's !! Whenever he was asked for a urine sample he would bring back a gallon jug of water and iodine mix and say.. "here's your damn urine sample !!! " ;)

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Wasn't he the one who, during the Mercury eval process, looked at the blank sheet of paper and asked why it was upside down?

The evaluators handed candidates a blank sheet of paper and asked them to describe what they saw.
John Glenn was said to have replied "It's a blank piece of paper."

And probably blew his chances for a slot.
"There are NO situations which do not call for a French Maid outfit." Lucky McSwervy

"~ya don't GET old by being weak & stupid!" - Airtwardo

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Wasn't he the one who, during the Mercury eval process, looked at the blank sheet of paper and asked why it was upside down?

I think that might have been Pete Conrad, the 3rd man to walk on the moon. "The Right Stuff" has that anecdote in it.

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The evaluators handed candidates a blank sheet of paper and asked them to describe what they saw.
John Glenn was said to have replied "It's a blank piece of paper."

And probably blew his chances for a slot.

But he made the Mercury 7. ;)

Those docs had carte blanche to test those guys at will. They certainly took it. :S

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Wasn't he the one who, during the Mercury eval process, looked at the blank sheet of paper and asked why it was upside down?
I think that might have been Pete Conrad, the 3rd man to walk on the moon. "The Right Stuff" has that anecdote in it.



Yep. That was Pete Conrad, who also wrapped a stool sample in a bow and provided it. For that initial selection process, Pete was rejected as “not suitable for long duration space flight.” Of course, he was Gordo Cooper’s pilot for the “8 days or Bust” Gemini 5 mission and would have been slated for the first moon landing until Jim McDivitt switched with Frank Borman to make the first moon orbit. (McDivitt wanted to test fly the LEM, so he took Apollo 9 instead of Apollo 8.)

Slayton’s system provided that the backup crew for a mission would be prime crew three missions later. Borman, Lovell and Anders’ backup crew was Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins (though Collins was originally assigned to 8, he took up backup role due to a neck surgery). McDivitt, Scott and Schwiekart’s backups were Conrad, Gordon and Freeman, so WOULD have had Apollo 11 had the switch not occurred. (Freeman died in a T-38 crash before the switch and Alan Bean – who had been sent to the Siberia of Apollo Applications – was personally requested by Conrad to be his LMP).

But for that switch in Summer of 1968, Conrad would have been the first to walk on the Moon. Note – Conrad was also regarded as the most relaxed. He was considered the best in simulations, and had a habit of singing to himself – “dooby dooby doo” – during sims and the like. He said, “Man, that may have been a small step for Neil but that’s a long one for me” when he stepped onto the moon, both as a joke of his short stature and to win a bet with an Italian journalist who insisted that words from the moon were scripted by NASA. And after “SCE to Aux” call saved the Apollo 12, mission, Conrad laughed like hell all the way into orbit. Conrad went to Skylab and then did a “Do you know me?” commercial for American Express.

Conrad – one of the all time greats!




Of course, almost all the astronauts were characters of some sort. Schirra was a classic. He would veto whatever experiment they wanted him to do. He was always trying to lower the workload and insisted on Sigma 7 being as experiment-free as possible. He also was asked “Are you a turtle?” on his flight and decided not to radio down “You bet your sweet ass I am.” He was cool enough not to eject when the Gemini 6 shut down moments after lighting. He radioed, “We’re just sitting here, breathing.” And he got the most famous head-cold in history on Apollo 7. His grouchiness and, let’s face it, outright mutiny of mission control, ended his NASA career, as well as those of Cunningham and Eisele. This despite the fact that every objective of that flight was met. Wally went on to do commercials for Actifed – as he put it, “I went from flying capsules to pitching them.”

Schirra himself said that only Conrad surpassed him as a “smart asstronaut.” Self-deprecating, his often repeated story was of returning from Sigma 7 and was celebrated by a big party in Houston, the top dog on block. When he got home in the early morning hours, his wife told him not to forget to take the trash out. Schirra said, “That’s the way to get back to earth in a hurry.”


My wife is hotter than your wife.

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I spent the past couple weeks on a boat so I finally had a chance to read both 'Rocket Men' and 'Riding Rockets' back to back...interesting and quite a difference, seeing what NASA 'was' chasing the moon and then 'became' focusing on shipping hardware to low orbit...a trucking company.

Hard to believe we now have to rent a seat on Russian missile in order to get off the planet. :S

Two things~

1) Since you seem to be versed, any recommended reading I should pick up regarding the 'old days' in space?

2) Your sig line is fortunately for me...quite inaccurate & drastically incorrect! :P




Edited to add: One interesting factoid in 'Riding Rockets' was that the over-all cost of going to the Moon... Mercury, Gemini & Apollo ~ when adjusted for inflation, equals 535 days of fighting the Iraq war. :S

We should be building a moon base and traveling to Mars...:|

Mullane brings up a great point regarding our future 'legacy', 200 years from now people will be looking back saying "look at what they accomplished in ONLY 8 1/2 years...went from nothing, to traveling to another planet...then they just QUIT!" WTF were they THINKING?!:(










~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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Mullane’s book is, in my arrogant opinion, the most entertaining and insightful book written by an astronaut. Mullane pulls no punches. I was particularly impressed with his stories about being a military flyer (not a pilot) that had immense distrust of the civilian scientists in the TFNGs and especially the women – they can’t hack it. Of how his friendship with Judy Resnik got him to reevaluate his ideas of women because she DIDN’T grow up wanting to be an astronaut for no other reason than girls couldn’t be one when she was a child. And his angst at what the wives went through every launch attempt.

And especially Mullane putting it out there that Astronauts were just as much to blame for the go Fever culture that led to the demise of the Challenger. For anybody who wants to read a mix between the Right Stuff and Yeager, read “Riding Rockets.” The shuttle wasn’t the glory of Mercury or Apollo. His is, to me, the definitive writing of Shuttle Era astronauts.


Books I’d recommend?
(1) A Man on the Moon by Andrew Chaikin. It’s a fine biography of all of the Apollo fights from assignment to afterward. It’s a study of the politics, the personalities, even the science. It brings together the flying, the science, the astronauts, mission control, contractors, politics. Weaves the story very nicely and he pulls from a LOT of resources.
- This book is so good that every other book on Apollo should be considered an “in depth filling in of details.”
(2) Failure is Not an Option by Gene Krantz. It’s another one that hits from the Mission Control standpoint – sort of the ground version of A Man on the Moon. I developed a hardcore appreciation for the Gemini project after this book. The science and the personalities and the problems of space flight. Spanning from early Mission Control through the beginning of the Shuttle Era.
(3) Carrying the Fire by Mike Collins – I’m about halfway through it now. It doesn’t have the same cutting sense to it, but Collins spends a lot of time describing what being an astronaut was like when NOT on a flight. His command module? His baby that he’s been nurturing into development – is going to be given to another crew? Or the philosophical “exultation” he felt at realizing from the far side of the moon that there are 3 billion people on that planet there, another 2 on that moon, and then him and who knows what? His terror at the thought of having to return to earth alone.
(4) Deke! – by Slayton. It’s a super easy read and about the early astronaut office and an idea about how and why astronauts were assigned and a guy who waited so long to finally get his flight – which almost killed him!

For some more fine reading, take a look at the transcriptions of the Apollo flights themselves. http://history.nasa.gov/afj/

They’ll give you a further appreciation of the training required to fly it and run the computers. Like this communication for trans-earth injection:
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169:00:11 Conrad: Okay, go ahead.
169:00:13 Carr: Roger, preliminary. TEI-45, SPS/G&N: Noun 47: 34163; minus 0.64, plus 0.24; Noun 33: 172:27:16.15; Noun 81: plus 3027.4, plus 0297.8, minus 0019.6; roll, pitch, and yaw, 180, all zips, all zips; Noun 44: both NA; Delta-Vt, 3042.1, 2:10, 3020.9; sextant: 01; 232.9; 23.7; boresight: 041; down 01.6; left 4.8; Noun 61: minus 15.82, minus 165.00; EMS: 1171.2, 36198; GET of 0.05g is 244:21:55; GDC align on Sirius and Rigel; roll is 138; pitch, 079; yaw, 002; four jet ullage; 11 seconds. Over.
169:03:22 Bean: Roger, Houston. Copy 34163; minus 0.64, plus 0.24; 172:27:16.15; plus 3027.4, plus 0297.8, minus 0019.6 200,000,000; NA, NA; 3042.1, 2:10, 3020.9: 01; 232.9; 23.7; 041; down 01.6; 14.8; minus 15.82, minus 165.00; 1171.2, 36198; 264:21:55. Let's go back up to the sextant, counting the boresight star, SXT, I think that should have been 648. Over.
169:03:40 Carr: That's negative, Al. That's an L for left, 4.8.

169:04:47 Bean: Roger. Understand.


I mean, damn! And considering that this system wasn’t even invented when Kennedy made his challenge to go to the moon.

I love reading those things...


My wife is hotter than your wife.

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A great book is Apollo by Charles Murray, any Apogee book on an Apollo mission is good, Return to Earth 1974 by Buzz is good.......
All American Boys by Cunningham very good.
Falling to Earth, brand new book.

on youtube watch Apollo 15 Remembered 40 Years Later ( if you love Apollo you will get tears, maybe ).
also this shows exactly what lunar liftoff and plane change look like:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbOq-fRp5YI&feature=related


and a book Moonwalker by Charlie Duke

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Mullane’s book is, in my arrogant opinion, the most entertaining and insightful book written by an astronaut. Mullane pulls no punches.

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I thought it was insightful and entertaining but it was also somewhat self-serving.

A shuttle driver I know was discussing the book in a bar last year long before I read it...there are some 1/2 truths and 'oversights' that could have been let out altogether.

It IS his story and no one can take away the accomplishment of being a non-pilot TFNG Air Force nobody that rode the rocket 3 times when every thing was against someone like that even getting in much less getting missions...but on the other hand if you pen a book and call it a biography, you kinda owe to history, yourself and those around you to be totally honest & not 'spin' anything to make you look like something/someone you are not/weren't.

I really enjoyed 'Rocket Men' cover to cover...think I look for Krantz's book this weekend.

Met and talked with Alan Bean a few years ago, he was signing books at a local book store...Me and another guy were the only ones there for at least an hour. Beano didn't miss a beat, he knew he was a hero to us, invited us to sit down at the table and just keep talking like we were old friends. Asked us as many questions as he answered...NEAT guy! B|

Couple years ago I was downtown in Houston taking care of some business in one of the high rise office buildings. Looked up, told the wife 'be right back' and took off running to the parking garage and our car.
Ten minutes later I'm back out of breath and sweatin', wife looks at me like I'm nuts...I go over to the bald guy in the chair across the room and hand him my logbook for a signature. "Excuse me Mr. Musgrave, could I trouble you to sign off yesterdays jump? :$

"No problem young man, have a seat, call me Story" B|B|B|~probably 20 of THE most interesting minutes talking to someone I've ever had! :)




I remember reading 'Lost Moon' a few weeks after it came out years ago....finished it in a day, thinking THIS would make a GREAT movie! :ph34r:











~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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Bean is a guy i'd love to meet. His story is fascinating to me. I like Bean so much BECAUSE he was so different from the mold of the regular astronaut. He wasn't the most talented guy, but Conrad wanted him because he knew that Bean was the most tenacious guy he'd ever seen as solving a problem. Neither Conrad nor Gordon was interested in the minutiae but Bean was and he rounded out the team nicely.

I never have met an astronaut. Musgrave's a guy I'd love to meet - he seems to be considered one of the strangest guys around. Not to take away from him, but I've never read anything that describes Musgrave as a normal kind of guy.

Young would be a great guy to speak to (despite Mullane's opinion of him - even Mullane stated he was an astronaut without equal). As would Ed Mitchell (because he's such a weird man).

Of course, these would pale in comparison to sitting back and listening to you and Nick DG and Walt tell stories...


My wife is hotter than your wife.

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Musgrave's a guy I'd love to meet - he seems to be considered one of the strangest guys around. Not to take away from him, but I've never read anything that describes Musgrave as a normal kind of guy.

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Interesting guy, and he has a couple hundred jumps! B| And IIRC he has the most time in space working 'outside' of the ship...

Very quickly talking/listening to Story, it hits you that his mind
is working in some way so far beyond 'normal' that he's probably got a governor installed on his brain so 'regular' people can follow what he's saying.

His speaking voice is almost hypnotic in both the tone the selection of words and the delivery. You find yourself paying very close attention because miss a word and you're lost, he sees it and breaks the flow for 1/4 second...like he's waiting for ya to catch up.:D

~ya just know there are 1,357 different trains of thought going on, all fully loaded and all running on schedule. B|

Whenever asked 'what famous person would you most like to have dinner with" ...for me it's always Story Musgrave, no contest. :$











~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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