I’d like to say I was smart enough to finish six grades in five years but I think perhaps the teacher was just glad to get rid of me.
I think all of us certainly believed the statistics which said that probably 88% chance of mission success and maybe 96% chance of survival. And we were willing to take those odds.
Of course in our grade school in those days there were no organized sports at all. We just went out and ran around the school yard for recess.
I didn’t mind studying. Obviously math and the physical science subjects interested me more than some of the more artistic subjects but I think I was a pretty good student.
Later in the early teens I used to ride my bike every Saturday morning to the nearest airport ten miles away push airplanes in and out of the hangars and clean up the hangars.
I must admit maybe I am a piece of history after all.
You have to be there not for the fame and glory and recognition and being a page in a history book but you have to be there because you believe your talent and ability can be applied effectively to operation of the spacecraft.
It’s a very sobering feeling to be up in space and realize that one’s safety factor was determined by the lowest bidder on a government contract.
We worked with the engineers in the design and construction and testing phases in those various areas then we would get back together at the end of the week and brief each other as to what had gone on.
The pilot looked at his cues of attitude and speed and orientation and so on and responded as he would from the same cues in an airplane but there was no way it flew the same. The simulators had showed us that.