By Nancy Nahra
When she took off on her epic flight around the globe on June 1, 1937, Amelia Earhart had already earned her position in twentieth-century background. She was once the 1st girl (and moment individual) to fly solo over the Atlantic Ocean. She set greater than a dozen files within the unsafe early days of aviation: She used to be the 1st pilot to fly nonstop around the continental usa and the 1st to fly from Honolulu to California. regardless of these accomplishments, she remained modest, self-effacing, and fascinating, counting mechanics, rival pilots, and primary girl Eleanor Roosevelt between her shut associates. yet our enduring fascination along with her stems mostly from the secret of her ultimate flight, while she and her navigator Fred Noonan vanished into the vastness of the Pacific Ocean greater than seventy-five years in the past. Her disappearance has come to overshadow her existence, yet she was once extra – even more. this is her unforgettable tale.
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We finally talked Deke into staying on a head of the astronaut office, a new post in which he would represent our mutual interests. It wasn't a charity appointment. At the time, there was serious talk of bringing in a general or admiral to fill the new post, but we all agreed that we didn't need some outside weenie coming in and telling us what to do. Deke's backup, navy pilot Scott Carpenter, was given the next orbital mission, although he didn't have much time to practice for it in the simulator as prime pilot.
In the most ideal siruations were subjcct to malfumisn. For this reason, many redundant u badry sysEms were built into the Mercury spacecraft and related equipnent From prelaunch until safe t@vcry, hndreds of different possible contingerciec wcrc aaticipted. A few examples: IF an impending catasEophic failure was idicated between liftoff and ascrye tower separation (which pulled the spacecraft arvay from the booster about 14O seconds after launch), the automatic abort-sensing and =D Gordon Cooper imFlementation system (ASIS) could automatically initiate an escape sequence to remove the spacecraft from the booster, or the escalre system could be fired by ground command from the bloclfiouse, or by gound command from the Mercury Control Center, or by the astronaut in the cockpit.
He'd corne from being chief of operations at Edwards for NASAs rocket plane prognunsX-l,X-2, and X-3-and was rccustod to dealing with serious and strdiou rcscurh tylrcs, not fighter jocks. 'Waft thinks you're ahot dog and maverickandfuymbcndtherules too much," Deke had. told mc. " look. Had it been all those speeding tickets in Cocoa Beach? Or my racing at Daytona International Speedway? Or mayb running the world-class speedboats? Sometime later Deke told rne ttnt hesident Kennedy, whom I'd ret morp than s doze, times, had gotten wind that I might be passed over and had 6 Gordon Cooper made it clear to NASA that he would have none of it.