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In Memoriam


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#46    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 09:22 PM

Maj. Gen. Robert White, Former X-15 pilot, Dies at 85

03.25.10



Maj. Gen. Robert M. White, a former commander of the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base who earned his astronaut wings as a test pilot in the X-15 rocket plane in the early 1960s, has died. He was 85.

White had been in declining health, and passed away peacefully March 17 at an assisted living facility in Orlando, Fla.

Posted Image
Four of the five surviving X-15 pilots
gathered at NASA's Dryden Flight
Research Center in August 2005 when
astronaut wings were presented to the
three NASA pilots who flew the X-15
rocket plane into space in the 1960s
-- Bill Dana, Joe Walker (deceased)
and Jack McKay (deceased). From left,
Robert White, Dana, Neil Armstrong,
Joe Engle. White died March 17, 2010
at the age of 85.
(NASA photo / Tony Landis)


White was one of the initial pilots selected for the X-15 program, assigned by the Air Force as its chief X-15 pilot in the joint program with NASA, the Navy, and North American Aviation. Between April 1960 and December 1962, he made 16 flights in the rocket-powered aircraft. He was the first pilot to fly to Mach 4, 5, and 6 (four, five and six times the speed of sound, respectively). He also flew the X-15 to the altitude of 314,750 feet on July 17, 1962, setting a world altitude record. This was 59.6 miles, significantly higher than the 50 miles the Air Force accepted as the beginning of space, qualifying White for Air Force astronaut wings. His flights into the stratosphere, and those of other X-15 pilots, were forerunners of the space shuttle program that would follow years later, and demonstrated that a winged craft could travel and be controlled in space.

White entered the military in 1942 as an aviation cadet and was commissioned as a pilot in 1944 during World War II. His P-51 fighter plane was shot down over Germany in early 1945, and he spent a couple of months in a prisoner of war camp before being liberated.

Posted Image
Then-Major Robert M. White is seen here
next to the X-15 aircraft after a research
flight in 1961.
(Air Force photo))


He also flew combat missions during the Korean and Vietnam wars, and commanded the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards for several years in the early 1970s, a decade after his pioneering high-speed, high-altitude X-15 flights. White retired from the Air Force in 1981.

White returned to Edwards in 2005 to join other former X-15 pilots and astronauts Neil Armstrong and Maj. Gen. Joe Engle at an astronaut wings pinning ceremony for former NASA X-15 research pilot William F. Dana at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center.

Source: NASA - Dryden - Features

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#47    MID

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 10:37 PM

View PostWaspie_Dwarf, on 04 March 2010 - 01:34 AM, said:

NASA Pioneer Aaron Cohen Dead at 79



02 March 2010

Spaceflight pioneer Aaron Cohen, a former director of NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, died Thursday, Feb. 25 after a lengthy illness. He was 79. Cohen's 33-year career with NASA included key leadership roles critical to the success of the Apollo and shuttle programs. As director, his steady hand at the helm of Johnson helped NASA recover from the shuttle Challenger tragedy and return the space shuttle to flight.

Source: NASA Channel - YouTube


40 years ago, Aaron Cohen was, I believe, the Apollo CSM Program Chief.  He directed some very tight timeframed solutions to very complex problems with his teams from North American during the Apollo 13 flight.

This man was one of the heroes of our manned space program.  God bless, Mr. Cohen...

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#48    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 10:55 PM

View PostMID, on 02 April 2010 - 10:37 PM, said:

This man was one of the heroes of our manned space program.
One of many MID.

Earlier today I merged this thread. Previously each  of these individuals had a small thread of their own. Each thread rapidly swallowed up in this section. I decided that by merging them into one, larger thread that it would be more prominent, more easily found and so the passing of these men and women would be noticed by more readers of this section. All of them here, astronomers, writers, artists, engineers, test pilot and astronauts have, in some way, contributed to man's exploration and understanding of the universe.

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf, 02 April 2010 - 10:56 PM.
typo.

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#49    MID

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 10:26 PM

View PostWaspie_Dwarf, on 02 April 2010 - 10:55 PM, said:

One of many MID.

Concur.


Quote

Earlier today I merged this thread. Previously each  of these individuals had a small thread of their own. Each thread rapidly swallowed up in this section. I decided that by merging them into one, larger thread that it would be more prominent, more easily found and so the passing of these men and women would be noticed by more readers of this section. All of them here, astronomers, writers, artists, engineers, test pilot and astronauts have, in some way, contributed to man's exploration and understanding of the universe.

It's a great idea.

...somewhat saddening, personally, but a wonderful idea to pay tribute to these poeple who did so much...


#50    DONTEATUS

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 10:47 PM

I want to Thank you Guys for Keeping the memorys  With us in here ! Im saveing all of these post !

This is a Work in Progress!

#51    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 11:25 PM

Posted Image


The leadership, cosmonauts corps and team of S.P. Korolev Rocket-Space Corporation Energia express sincere condolences to the relatives and friends on the death of the Twice Hero of the Soviet Union, the USSR pilot-cosmonaut, member of the RFCP Central Committee, deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation Federal Assembly of the 1st - 4th convocations, USSR State Prize winner, one of the veterans-developers and test engineers of the national space technology Vitaliy Ivanovich SEVASTIANOV.

V.I. Sevastianov started his working activity in 1958 in famous Korolev's OKB-1, its department led by Mikhail Klavdiyevich Tikhonravov. From the very first days he took part in designing the world's first space vehicle. Just in a year, being a graduate student, he delivered a course of lectures on space flight dynamics to the first corps of cosmonauts, including Yu.A. Gagarin. It was then that space vehicles Vostok were used for the first time in the history of earth's civilization for flight performance by the first planet's cosmonaut and the first woman cosmonaut, our compatriots Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin and Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova.

In 1965 Vitaliy Ivanovich defended candidate's thesis. In January 1967 he was appointed test cosmonaut candidate and in May 1968 he was enlisted in cosmonauts corps. From 1968 to 1990 V.I. Sevastianov had passed more than 15 cycles of training in primary and backup crews under Programs L1 (circumlunar flight), LÇ (Lunar landing), programs of autonomous flights of Soyuz space vehicles, station Salyut, DOS-1, DOS-2, Salyut-4, Salyut-6, Salyut-7, Mir.

He performed two space flights. From June 1 till June 19, 1970 he had performed autonomous flight as a flight engineer of Soyuz-9 space vehicle. The space vehicle crew established the world record on duration of stay in space. From May 24 to July 26, 1975 he performed the second space flight as a flight engineer of Salyut-4 Prime Crew. That flight together with cosmonaut P.I. Klimuk offered in many respects the prospect of subsequent build-up of duration of space crew activities.

Invaluable experience of space flights was successfully implemented during building and utilization of multi-module orbital complex Mir, unique creation of the XX century. Sevastianov contributed a lot to the development of onboard photographic and video complexes, onboard computers for crew members.

V.I. Sevastianov is an extremely decent, sociable and understandable person, he took an active part in the national social and political life as the deputy of the Russian Federation State Duma; for many years he was the narrator at Central TV who ran the program "Man. Earth. Universe.". Also he occupied the position of the USSR Chess Federation Chairman. He is the author of the six inventions and one discovery, the member of a number of foreign Academies, including International Academy of Astronautics.

For his great services to the country and international community he was given the honorary title of the Twice Hero of the Soviet Union, decorated with two orders of Lenin, Orders of the Necklace of Nile (United Arab Republic) the Order of Orthodox Church" Reverend Moscow Prince Daniil" Second Class; awarded with gold medals after K.E. Tsiolkovsky from the USSR Academy of Sciences; after Yu.A. Gagarin; "For the Services in the Science Development and to Humanity" (Czechoslovakia); with the Copernican medal from the association "Man and Space" (FRG); presented with the highest award of the International Academy of Astronautics, the Award after D. and F. Guggenheim; the honorary diploma after V.M. Komarov and medal de Lavour (FAI) and many other medals.

V.I. Sevastianov is the USSR State Prize winner, the Estonian SSR State Prize winner; Merited Master of Sports of the USSR; the honorary citizen of the cities Kaluga, Krasnouralsk, Sochi, Anadir (Russia), Karaganda, Arkalyk (Kazakhstan), Varna (Bulgaria), Los Angeles, Houston, Seattle, San Francisco (USA).

Vitaliy Ivanovich Sevastianov will leave fond memories of himself forever as a bright personality, follower of S.P. Korolev, our colleague and associate, friend and fellow worker, famous public and political figure; pilot-cosmonaut who contributed a lot to space research and development of national cosmonautics.

Management, Cosmonauts Corps and employees of RSC Energia after S.P. Korolev



Source: S.P. Korolev RSC Energia

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#52    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 01:00 AM

Renowned Pad Leader Guenter Wendt Dies at 85

05.03.10



Guenter Wendt, the legendary pad leader who often was the last person astronauts saw before going into space, died at his home Monday morning in Merritt Island, Fla., within a few miles of NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Wendt had been hospitalized with congestive heart failure and suffered a stroke. He was 85.

He worked at Kennedy for 34 years.

Posted Image
Image above: Guenter Wendt, right, and
Wally Schirra discuss Schirra's upcoming
Mercury mission during launch simulation
activities at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.
Photo credit: NASA

›  View Larger image

Wendt, a naturalized American originally from Germany, spoke with a thick accent and made a reputation as a strict overseer of the launch pads and spacecraft astronauts flew. Those traits earned him the nickname "Pad Fuhrer." He also was the first pad leader for crewed spacecraft.

The movie "Apollo 13" made famous the line about the pad leader when Tom Hanks, as astronaut Jim Lovell, asked, "I wonder where Guenter Wendt?"

Fact was, Wendt was never far from the space program. He stood watch over the Mercury and Gemini missions. The contractor for the Apollo spacecraft did not retain him as a full pad leader, Wendt recorded in his memoirs. So, Wendt was at home when the Apollo 1 fire erupted and killed Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee as they ran through a countdown test at Launch Pad 34.

Afterward, astronauts including Wally Schirra insisted on Wendt's return. Wendt was in charge of the White Room and launch pad when Schirra and his crew lifted off on Apollo 7, the first crewed Apollo mission after the fire. Wendt saw all the Apollo astronauts off on their way to the moon, too, before taking serving as the head of flight crew safety for the Space Shuttle Program and served on the investigation board that reviewed the Challenger accident.

Posted Image
Image above: Guenter Wendt was never
far from the space program, and he
returned to Kennedy often. In 2009, he
went to Launch Pad 39A and spent some
time in the White Room with the technicians
who help shuttle astronauts into place
before launch.
Photo credit: NASA/Jim Grossman

›  View hi-res image

He retired in 1989, but still didn't leave the space program far behind. He worked as a consultant on Hanks' production "From the Earth to the Moon," and also worked with the team that recovered the Liberty Bell 7 spacecraft from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. That was the Mercury capsule Gus Grissom flew into space, but the spacecraft filled with water after splashdown and sunk.

He also returned to Kennedy on occasion and spoke with today's spaceflight engineers, technicians and specialists.

In May 2009, Wendt told them to establish credibility, learn from mistakes and "think outside the box." He also told them, "Don't fake it. Always have the facts to back up your statements," and "never take things for granted."

Wendt is survived by three daughters.

› View Image Gallery

Steve Siceloff
NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center


Source: NASA - History - Features

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#53    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 01:02 AM

Posted Image

Guenter Wendt and the Apollo 11 Crew

Within the White Room atop the gantry on Launch Complex 39 Pad A, the Apollo 11 astronauts egress from the Apollo spacecraft after participation in the Countdown Demonstration Test. In the foreground of the photograph is Astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Pad leader Guenter Wendt talks with Neil Armstrong. Astronaut Michael Collins stands to the left of Armstrong.

Image Credit: NASA

Source: NASA - Multimedia - Image of the Day Gallery

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#54    TALM

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 03:23 AM

Awesome thread   :tu:  

Thanks to the contributors and Mr Dwarf for assembling all this info into one thread.


#55    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 07:07 AM

View PostTALM, on 04 May 2010 - 03:23 AM, said:

Awesome thread   :tu:  

Thanks to the contributors and Mr Dwarf for assembling all this info into one thread.
I'm not sure I would chose the word "awesome" in describing a thread as sad as this, but I thank you for the compliment.

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#56    MID

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 10:12 PM

This is genuinely sad news.

Guenter Wendt was "the fuehrer of the pad" ( a nick-name the astronauts affectionately gave him).
When a spacecraft arrived at the Cape, he was responsible for it...completely, totally, and anyone who touched the spacecraft answered to him.  In fact, he approved everyone and anyone who touched his spacecraft, or they didn't touch it at all.  There was no work done, and nothing installed, removed, or modified in a spacecraft unless Guenter said so.

Wally Schirra loved him because he terrorized everyone.  Wendt was once quoted as saying, "There's no reason to say I am narrow-minded.  Just do it my way and you will have no problem at all."  Pete Conrad once said, "It's easy to get along with Guenter.  All you have to do is agree with him!"

Many are the stories of Guenter having an engineer removed from the pad during the Gemini Program.  The engineeer wanted to make a pad fix on a spacecraft, with or without Wendt's permission.  He got himself up on the Mobile Service Structure and had the distinct misfurtune of running into "the fuehrer", who had security come up and threaten to put the man in handcuffs and remove him by force unless he left the pad.

He did.

Wendt launched virtually every manned spaceflight from Al Shepard through Apollo 17, save a couple of Gemini flights.  He was a warm, fatherly figure and the astronauts insisted on his presence when they launched.  

Another Apollo giant has passed...


Posted Image

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God bless you, Guenter...


#57    MID

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 10:17 PM

View PostWaspie_Dwarf, on 04 May 2010 - 01:00 AM, said:



The movie "Apollo 13" made famous the line about the pad leader when Tom Hanks, as astronaut Jim Lovell, asked, "I wonder where Guenter Wendt?"



One of those little things about the movies I don't like.

This was actually said by an Apollo astronaut during a liftoff.

It sounded like this:

"I vunder vere Guenter Vendt!"

It was a fine imitation of Guenter's thick German accent, offered by an astronaut who had a talent for imitating accents.
It wasn't Jim Lovell, it was Don Eisele of Apollo 7 in October of 1968...


#58    TALM

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 05:31 AM

Thanks for the Guenter Wendt summery MID. Ive always seen photos of the man lurking around the pad, but I always assumed he was a faceless Pad Bee. Now I know why he always looked like he was the man who was in charge. Thanks for sharing :tu:

Question though................

I was researching his employment work history and I found this " The native of Germany and served as Luftwaffe on-board mechanic during the war". Considering that Germany's Air Force ceased to be by the time he immigrated in 1949, what did he do in the time when became unemployed and the time he arrived here?

And, if you can indulge me, what did an "on-board mechanic" do? When I think "on board" I envision a mechanic that flies on a bomber or something large.

Also vague is if he had any hands on work with many of the wonders Germany was pumping out in those days. Like the first jet fighter or the V2 rocket. I know he was not part of Operation Paperclip, so I would think he was not on the top list of scientist that were recruited when the war was brought to an end. Where was he at in career development during those days?

One last question...........
After the war, was he living or working in the east or west of Germany?

Edited by TALM, 05 May 2010 - 06:03 AM.


#59    MID

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 10:57 PM

View PostTALM, on 05 May 2010 - 05:31 AM, said:

Thanks for the Guenter Wendt summery MID. Ive always seen photos of the man lurking around the pad, but I always assumed he was a faceless Pad Bee. Now I know why he always looked like he was the man who was in charge. Thanks for sharing :tu:

You're welcome!
Yes, TALM, he was the man in charge.  There was no question about it....ever.


Quote

Question though................

I was researching his employment work history and I found this " The native of Germany and served as Luftwaffe on-board mechanic during the war". Considering that Germany's Air Force ceased to be by the time he immigrated in 1949, what did he do in the time when became unemployed and the time he arrived here?

And, if you can indulge me, what did an "on-board mechanic" do? When I think "on board" I envision a mechanic that flies on a bomber or something large.

I don't know regarding what he did in Germany in the post war years...although I suspect that Guenter had a hard time finding any work in aircraft design and/or development in the immediate post-war years.

As to "on-board mechanic", what he was actually called was a "flight engineer".
A flight engineer was responsible for the operation and monitoring of essentially all aircraft systems, and was also responsible for the diagnosis of problems and implementing fixes to those problems, where possible, in flight.

It's a largely obsolete aircrew position in today's modern aircraft, as computers have automatically taken over the functions of the FE.  There are exceptions, of course.  Aircraft with more than two engines (like the L-1011 and 7470 still have FE's on board).  We have an FE aboard the Shuttle as well.





Quote

Also vague is if he had any hands on work with many of the wonders Germany was pumping out in those days. Like the first jet fighter or the V2 rocket. I know he was not part of Operation Paperclip, so I would think he was not on the top list of scientist that were recruited when the war was brought to an end. Where was he at in career development during those days?

He was a mechanical engineer who had done a four year apprenticeship in aircraft design during his military career.
He was not a member of Von Braun's crew at Peenemunde.    When he immigrated in 1949, he became an auto mechanic until he was naturalized in 1955, at which time he was able to be hired by McDonnell Aircraft.

Quote

One last question...........
After the war, was he living or working in the east or west of Germany?


That's another one I don't know the answer to TALM.  Sorry!


#60    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 06:35 PM

Russian Cosmonaut Twice Hero of the USSR Leonid Kizim Passes Away
:: 15.06.2010

Soviet cosmonaut pilot Twice Hero of the USSR, Colonel General Leonid Denisovich Kizim passed away on June 14.

Leonid Denisovich Kizim (born August 5, 1941 in Krasnyi Lyman, Donetsk Oblast, Ukrainian SSR) was selected as a cosmonaut on October 23, 1965.
Kizim flew as Commander on Soyuz T-3, Soyuz T-10 and Soyuz T-15, and also served as backup commander for Soyuz T-2. All together he spent 374 days 17 hours 56 minutes in space. He retired on June 13, 1987.

Administration of the Russian Federal Space Agency expresses deepest condolences on the death of Leonid Kizim  to his relatives and friends.

Roscosmos PAO

Source: ROSCOSMOS - News

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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