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Thread: John Glen, Mercury Orbits

  1. #1
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    John Glen, Mercury Orbits

    I just saw another documentary on John Glen on Discovery Wings. It annoyed me because it perpetuated a misconception about the number of orbits Friendship 7 was supposed to make.

    Here is the deal (as I remember it from research papers written back in High School a million years ago): John Glen's first orbital flight was originally scheduled to make three orbits. After achieving orbit and going through all the after-launch checks, the controllers cleared him for six orbits. This was done in case the spacecraft was forced to stay up longer than planned for various reasons (mechanical, weather at the landing site, etc). However, the flight was still planned for three orbits.

    Many reporters have over the years have misinterpreted by many reporters and writers. Later, controllers received a signal from the spacecraft that the heat shield was loose and we all know the story of the re-entry with the retro-rocket pack attached after the scheduled three orbits. Many of the mis-informed reporters and historians have written that the spacecraft was ordered to return early because of the problem. This is wrong!

    I have seen this mistake in many recent articles, books, and documentaries. This is probably because the mistake was most publicly made in the movie, The Right Stuff.

    Thought I would through out my understanding on the subject.

    -David

  2. #2
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    Shepard meant that the Cape computers indicated the insertion of the capsule was good enough for a minimum of seven orbits.
    Life Magazine, on the web!
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

  3. #3
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    [quote="ToSeek"]
    Shepard meant that the Cape computers indicated the insertion of the capsule was good enough for a minimum of seven orbits.
    Thank you! Way to clear up my clarification! I know it was something like that...

    -David

  4. #4
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    But you might want to spell John Glenn's name the way he does.

  5. #5
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    Heck, I should have proofread my entire post!

  6. #6
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    You mean for sentences like this one?
    Many reporters have over the years have misinterpreted by many reporters and writers.

  7. #7
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    Hey, i read the whole article on the link but i still do not really understand why he came down so early. if you dont mind, Could one of you explain please? Thanx.

    --------------------------------------
    Ha ha ha! Very funny Scottie!
    Now beam down my clothes!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpaceTrekkie
    Hey, i read the whole article on the link but i still do not really understand why he came down so early. if you dont mind, Could one of you explain please? Thanx.
    He did not come down early. The mission was always planned to be three orbits. The "seven orbits" mention just indicated that the capsule would have stayed up for at least seven orbits without re-entering the atmosphere on its on. As it was, Glenn had to fire his retrorockets at just the right time to re-enter and splash down at the planned location.
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

  9. #9
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    Oh thanx for explaining that. They really did get that whole thing wrong in the Right Stuff. It makes more sense now! thanx again.

    _______________

    Ha ha ha! Very funny Scottie!
    Now beam down my clothes!

  10. #10
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    While we're talking about "The Right Stuff", my personal opinion of that movie is quite low. In fact I think it would have to imporve before it could suck. It made characatures of all the main characters, it got very many of the historical details wrong and generally made the whole space program look stupidly bad.

    This is just my humble opinion.

  11. #11
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    If you read Deke Slaytons auto-biography "Deke" you will see that he was not very happy with Tom Wolfe's portrayel of the Mercury astronauts, especially the attacks on Gus Grissom's problems after he splached down in the Liberty 7. He basically said that he felt that it was a low blow to attack someone who was dead, making them look like an incompetent person.

  12. #12
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    I've started changing the channel when Discovery Wings does something about the space program, which is really sad when you consider how much I love space stuff. So often it's got major mistakes in it, or omits huge portions of the material. One show (which was cool because it had the illustrious Jim Oberg in it!) bugged me because although it devoted a whole hour to space accidents, they only talked about Columbia, Apollo 1, Columba, Apollo 13, Columbia, Challenger, and Columbia. (Yes, they kept coming back to Columbia, which, to be fair, is very fresh in people's minds but not really fully investigated yet.) They didn't even touch on the Soviet ones, which is sad to me because those brave souls deserve just as much remembrance as the Americans and one Israeli who have died for humanity's quest for space. Not even a single mention of Vladimir Komarov, the first space fatality, killed after surviving multiple failures aboard Soyuz 1 when one last failure finally did him in (his main 'chute didn't deploy, and the reserve got tangled in the drogue, so the descent module hit the Earth at hundreds of miles per hour, killing him instantly).

    Sometimes the space shows are good. But I've been disappointed too often.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by NASA Fan
    [Deke Slayton] basically said that he felt that it was a low blow to attack someone who was dead, making them look like an incompetent person.
    In that case, he'd hate my pages about Wilhelm Reich.

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    I guess I'm preaching to the choir here. I was not the only one to notice the short comings of that film. I feel like I'm in estemed company if Deke didn't like it as well.

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