Born September 26, 1932, in Mobile, Alabama. Bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from Auburn University. Died October 5, 1967, near Tallahassee, Florida, in the crash of a T-38 jet. Major, U.S. Marine Corps.
I was young, but C.C., as everyone called him, was just the neatest guy to me. He lived at the end of the block from us on Country Club Drive in Dickinson, Texas. My father was an engineer at NASA and he and C.C. were good friends. I remember as a kid that he used to buzz the neighborhood to let his wife know that he'd be home soon. Obviously not legal now-a-days. Just more of a reflection on the test pilot/astronaut side of his personality. Everyone loved it and I know of no complaints.
He'd throw neighborhood parties and you'd never know who'd show up. The famous Red Adair of oil well fire-fighting fame had a speed boat that he'd pull up to C.C.'s waterfront property on the Dickinson Bayou. That boat was so loud and threw up such a rooster tail that its still memorable to this day. Dr. Gilruth even would take his graceful trimaran up to visit on occasion. Interesting comparison of personalities, eh?
My dad went on from the Apollo program to become Section Head of the Guidance & Control Design Section for the Space Shuttle. That roll-over manuever that the shuttle makes after launch is his claim to fame. He often mentioned how he missed C.C.. Obviously he was thinking of the continued contributions that C.C. could have made in addition to their friendship.
Exciting mission with successful docking with Agena, flight up to parking orbit where Gemini 8 Agena is stored. Collins space walks from Gemini to Agena to retrieve micrometeorite package left in space all those months. Loses grip first time, and tumbles head over heels at end of umbilical around Gemini. Package retrieved on second try.
The Gemini X mission began with the launch of the Gemini Atlas-Agena target vehicle from complex 14. The Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) attained a near-circular, 162- by 157-nautical-mile orbit. Spacecraft No. 10 was inserted into a 145- by 86-nautical-mile elliptical orbit. Slant range between the two vehicles was very close to the nominal 1000 miles. Major objective of the mission was achieved during the fourth revolution when the spacecraft rendezvoused with the GATV at 5 hours 23 minutes ground elapsed time and docked with it about 30 minutes later. More spacecraft propellant was used to achieve rendezvous than had been predicted, imposing constraints on the remainder of the mission and requiring the development of an alternate flight plan. As a result, several experiments were not completed, and another secondary objective - docking practice - was not attempted. To conserve fuel and permit remaining objectives to be met, the spacecraft remained docked with the GATV for about 39 hours. During this period, a bending mode test was conducted to determine the dynamics of the docked vehicles, standup extravehicular activties (EVA) were conducted, and several experiments were performed. The GATV primary and secondary propulsion systems were used for six maneuvers to put the docked spacecraft into position for rendezvous with the Gemini VIII GATV as a passive target. The spacecraft undocked at 44 hours 40 minutes ground elapsed time, separated from the GATV, and used its own thrusters to complete the second rendezvous some three hours later. At 48 hours and 42 minutes into the flight, a 39-minute period of umbilical EVA began, which included the retrieval of a micrometorite collection package from the Gemini VIII Agena. The hatch was opened a third time about an hour later to jettison extraneous equipment before reentry. After about three hours of stationkeeping, the spacecraft separated from the GATV. At 51 hours 39 minutes ground elapsed time, the crew performed a true anomaly-adjust maneuver to minimize reentry dispersions resulting from the retrofire maneuver. The retrofire maneuver was initiated at 70 hours 10 minutes after liftoff, during the 43rd revolution. The spacecraft landed within sight of the prime recovery ship, the aircraft carrier Guadalcanal, some 5 km from the planned landing point on July 21.
The third Apollo flight announced on December 22, 1966, was the Apollo E mission - a test of the Apollo lunar module in high earth orbit. The Borman crew would be launched aboard a Saturn V, and put into a very high earth orbit. In mid-1968 Collins had to leave the crew due to a medical problem, and was replaced by Lovell. By late 1968, Apollo 7 had flown the Apollo C mission, but delays with the lunar module meant that neither the D or E profile missions could be flown. In order to beat the Russians around the moon, it was decided that the E mission would be cancelled and instead Borman's crew would fly an Apollo CSM into lunar orbit. This became Apollo 8.