NASA Astronaut Group 3

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Group 3 astronauts. Back row, L-R: Collins, Cunningham, Eisele, Freeman, Gordon, Schweickart, Scott, Williams. Front row, L-R: Aldrin, Anders, Bassett, Bean, Cernan, Chaffee.

Astronaut Group 3 was the third group of astronauts selected by NASA. Their selection was announced in October 1963. Fourteen astronauts made up Group 3. Four died in training accidents before they could fly in space. All of the surviving ten flew in the Apollo program; five also flew Gemini missions. Aldrin, Bean, Cernan and Scott walked on the Moon. They are the only ones of the first 19 NASA astronaut groups to have no members at all fly on the Space Shuttle.

Group 3 was the first to waive the requirement of a test pilot background, though military jet fighter aircraft experience was substituted. This applied to Aldrin and Cernan; all the others were test pilots.

A chart showing Group 3 assignments in Gemini and Apollo in relation to assignments from other astronaut groups. It shows how the surviving members of this group flew on Apollo, providing more moonwalkers than any other group (four), with half of the group (seven) making it to lunar orbit. This group also bore the brunt of casualties, with four members dying in the span of three years.

Group members[edit]

Gemini 12 - November 1966 - Pilot - First productive EVA without tiring
Apollo 11 - July 1969 - Lunar Module Pilot - First manned lunar landing; Aldrin became the second man to walk on the Moon
Aldrin also served as the backup Pilot for Gemini 9 and backup Command Module Pilot for Apollo 8.
Apollo 8 - December 1968 - Lunar Module Pilot - First manned circumlunar flight; Anders was responsible for significant photography
Anders also served as the backup Pilot for Gemini 11 and backup Command Module Pilot for Apollo 11.
Selected as Pilot for Gemini 9, but died in a T-38 plane crash less than four months before the mission.
Apollo 12 - November 1969 - Lunar Module Pilot - Second manned lunar landing; Bean became the fourth man to walk on the Moon
Skylab 3 - July–September 1973 - Commander - Second American space station mission
Bean also served as the backup Command Pilot for Gemini 10 and backup Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 9.
Gemini 9A - June 1966 - Pilot - Second American EVA, first mission where a backup crew completely replaced the prime crew
Apollo 10 - May 1969 - Lunar Module Pilot - "Dress rehearsal" for Apollo 11, first lunar flight of the Lunar Module and highest velocity achieved by a manned vehicle
Apollo 17 - December 1972 - Commander - Final manned lunar mission and final manned lunar landing; Cernan is currently the last person to walk on the Moon
Cernan also served as backup Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 7 and backup commander for Apollo 14.
Slated to be Pilot on the Prime Crew for first manned Apollo mission, but was killed in a cabin fire during launch rehearsal.
Gemini 10 - July 1966 - Pilot - First double rendezvous, first manned mission to change orbital plane
Apollo 11 - July 1969 - Command Module Pilot - First manned lunar landing
Collins also served as backup Pilot for Gemini 7.
Apollo 7 - October 1968 - Lunar Module Pilot - First manned Apollo mission
Apollo 7 - October 1968 - Command Module Pilot - First manned Apollo mission
Eisele also served as the backup Command Module Pilot for Apollo 10.
Killed in T-38 crash in 1964 before being selected for any flight assignment.
Gemini 11 - September 1966 - Pilot - First direct-ascent rendezvous, set highest apogee Earth orbit, first artificial gravity experiment
Apollo 12 - November 1969 - Command Module Pilot - Second manned lunar landing
Gordon was slated to command Apollo 18 but the mission was canceled due to budget cuts. He was also backup Pilot for Gemini 8 and backup Command Module Pilot for Apollo 9.
Apollo 9 - March 1969 - Lunar Module Pilot - First manned flight of the Lunar Module
Schweickart also served as the backup commander for the Skylab 2 crew in 1973.
Gemini 8 - March 1966 - Pilot - First docking (Gemini ATV) in space and first mission abort from Earth orbit
Apollo 9 - March 1969 - Command Module Pilot - First manned flight of the Lunar Module
Apollo 15 - July 1971 - Commander - Fourth manned lunar landing, first use of the Lunar Rover; Scott became the seventh person to walk on the Moon
Scott also served as the backup commander for Apollo 12.
Trained as a Lunar Module Pilot. Served as the backup Pilot for Gemini 10. Selected as a member of the backup crew for Apollo 9, but died in a plane crash before the mission.

See also[edit]