NASA Astronaut Group 2
NASA's Astronaut Group 2, also known as The New Nine, was the second group of astronauts selected by NASA and announced on September 17, 1962. The group was required to augment the original Mercury 7 with the announcement of the Gemini program and leading to the Apollo program. While the Original 7 had been selected to accomplish the simpler task of orbital flight, the new challenges of rendezvous and lunar landing led to the selection of candidates with advanced engineering degrees (for four of the New Nine) as well as test pilot experience. Two of this group (Lovell and Conrad) had been candidates for the original 7, but were not selected then for medical reasons. In addition, Group 2 became the first group with civilian test pilots in the group; See flew for General Electric, while Armstrong flew the X-15 research plane for NASA.
Seven of the nine would receive the Congressional Space Medal of Honor for their service, valor, and sacrifice: Ed White, killed on Apollo 1); Frank Borman, for commanding the first manned mission to the Moon (Apollo 8); Neil Armstrong, for commanding the first lunar landing (Apollo 11); Jim Lovell, for commanding Apollo 13; Pete Conrad, for commanding Skylab 2 and saving the damaged station; Thomas P. Stafford, for commanding the international Cold War Apollo-Soyuz Test Project; and John Young, for commanding the first Space Shuttle mission, STS-1, in Space Shuttle Columbia.
- Neil Armstrong (1930–2012), civilian (2 flights)
- Gemini 8 — March 1966 — Command Pilot — First docking (Gemini ATV) in space, first mission aborted from Earth orbit
- Apollo 11 — July 1969 — Commander — First manned lunar landing; first person to walk on the Moon
- Frank Borman (born 1928), U.S. Air Force (2 flights)
- Gemini 7 — December 1965 — Command Pilot — First two-week manned space mission; first rendezvous in space, with Gemini 6A
- Apollo 8 — December 1968 — Commander — First manned circumlunar mission
- Charles "Pete" Conrad (1930–1999), U.S. Navy (4 flights)
- Gemini 5 — August 1965 — Pilot — First eight-day space mission, first use of fuel cells
- Gemini 11 — September 1966 — Command Pilot — First direct-ascent rendezvous; set highest apogee Earth orbit; first artificial gravity experiment
- Apollo 12 — November 1969 — Commander — Second manned lunar landing; third man to walk on the Moon
- Skylab 2 — May–June 1973 — Commander — First American space station mission
- Conrad was a candidate for the Mercury Seven, but disqualified himself when he refused to complete what he considered to be invasive medical tests.
- Jim Lovell (born 1928), U.S. Navy (4 flights)
- Gemini 7 — December 1965 — Pilot — First two-week space mission, first rendezvous in space, with Gemini 6A
- Gemini 12 — November 1966 — Command Pilot — Final Gemini mission
- Apollo 8 — December 1968 — Command Module Pilot — First manned circumlunar mission
- Apollo 13 — April 1970 — Commander — Third manned lunar landing attempt, first mission abort beyond Earth orbit; highest human altitude record.
- Lovell became the first person to travel to the Moon twice. Like Conrad, he had been a candidate for the Mercury Seven, but was not selected due to a high bilirubin blood count.
- James McDivitt (born 1929), U.S. Air Force (2 flights)
- Gemini 4 — June 1965 — Command Pilot
- Apollo 9 — March 1969 — Commander — First manned flight of Lunar Module
- Elliot See (1927–1966), civilian
- See was chosen as Command Pilot of Gemini 9, but died in a T-38 plane crash less than four months before launch.
- Thomas P. Stafford (born 1930), U.S. Air Force (4 flights)
- Gemini 6A — December 1965 — Pilot — First rendezvous in space, with Gemini 7
- Gemini 9A — June 1966 — Command Pilot (See's backup)
- Apollo 10 — May 1969 — Commander — "Dress rehearsal" for Apollo 11, first lunar orbital flight of Lunar Module, highest speed attained by a manned vehicle (24,791 mph)
- Apollo-Soyuz Test Project — July 1975 — Commander — First joint American-Soviet space mission, first docking of an American and Russian spacecraft
- Ed White (1930–1967), U.S. Air Force (1 flight)
- Gemini 4 — June 1965 — Pilot — First American EVA
- Apollo 1 — January 1967 — Senior Pilot — Killed in fire during a launch pad test one month before launch
- John Young (1930–2018), U.S. Navy (6 flights)
- Gemini 3 — March 1965 — Pilot — First manned Gemini mission; first manned mission to change orbital plane
- Gemini 10 — July 1966 — Command Pilot — First double rendezvous
- Apollo 10 — May 1969 — Command Module Pilot — "Dress rehearsal" for Apollo 11, first lunar orbital flight of Lunar Module, highest speed attained by a manned vehicle (24,791 mph)
- Apollo 16 — April 1972 — Commander — Fifth manned lunar landing; Young became the ninth person to walk on the Moon
- STS-1 Columbia — April 1981 — Commander — First Space Shuttle mission, maiden flight of Columbia
- STS-9 Columbia — November 1983 — Commander — First Spacelab mission; Young became the first person to travel into space six times
References on television
The first episode, "Can We Do This?", of the 1998 HBO miniseries, From the Earth to the Moon depicts the first meeting of the New Nine. The eleventh episode, "The Original Wives' Club", depicts how the space program affected the wives of this group.
- Conrad, Nancy and Klausner, Howard. Rocketman: Astronaut Pete Conrad's Incredible Ride to the Moon and Beyond (NAL 2005), pp. 113–118.
- Kluger, Jeffrey; Jim Lovell (July 1995). Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13 (First Pocket Books printing ed.). New York: Pocket Books. pp. 188–196. ISBN 0-671-53464-5.