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Apollo 10 was practically a full dress rehearsal of moon landing, except the landing act. As such, its crew (astronauts) gained all the experience needed for a moon mission. They were best suited to "expect the unexpected". Despite this, why was a completely new (an "inexperienced" crew, w.r.t Moon mission) selected for Apollo 11? (unless of course the answer is "it was planned earlier"). Would it not have been more risky to send the "first timers" as compared to the crew of Apollo 10?

The question is specifically about repeating the crew of Apollo 10, on Apollo 11 - which was the first human stepping on moon - that too American. Possibility of another failure like vanguard launch would have been greatly reduced.

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    $\begingroup$ If they won't send "first timers", they had to send the same team for all missions from 7 to 17. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    May 20 at 15:15
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    $\begingroup$ In effect, every NASA space mission from Mercury to Apollo was a proof of concept mission. Something new had to be achieved on each mission for the space program to advance. If a task set for one crew wasn't achieved it had to be successfully performed by the next crew. If Apollo 10 had failed to achieve all tasks, Apollo 11 would have had to repeat the mission. With Apollo 10 proving the systems necessary for a moon landing were in place, Apollo 11 were given the next proof of concept mission - an actual moon landing. $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    May 20 at 15:45
  • $\begingroup$ @Uwe, Russel and Fred... NO. Although the question on "practical advantage" does provide justification for "not repeating" the crew each time (at least after Apollo 11), as Uwe has said / (& you all seem to) suggest, my question was specifically about repeating the crew of Apollo 10 , for Apollo 11. I thought, NASA was taking so much care, so much amount of testing and training, JUST TO ENSURE THAT THE MAN ON THE MOON MISSION SHOULD NOT FAIL... Failure was too embarrassing specially in view of the "Vanguard" fiasco. Repeating Apollo 10 crew would have reduced failure chances. What do you say? $\endgroup$
    – Niranjan
    May 20 at 17:38
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    $\begingroup$ Vanguard/Sputnik was ancient history by 1969. After Apollo 8, NASA could have easily weathered a few "embarrassments". The Apollo Program was more than just Apollo 11. $\endgroup$ May 20 at 20:32
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    $\begingroup$ Part of the failure of Vanguard was a failure to thoroughly check everything would function in the haste to launch a satellite ASAP after Sputnik. It pales into insignificance compared to the Apollo 1 catastrophe in 1967, 2.5 years before Apollo 11. $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    May 21 at 5:48
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Despite this, why was a completely new selected for Apollo 11? Would it not have been more risky to send the "first timers" as compared to the crew of Apollo 10?

  • Apollo 10 launched on May 18th, 1969 with Thomas Stafford as the commander, Eugene Cernan as the lunar module pilot, and John Young as the command module pilot. Throughout the mission, the Apollo 10 capsule completed all aspects of an actual crewed lunar landing except the landing. The purpose wasn't to train the crew for a moon landing as they had lots of experience in simulated landings on earth, but instead was to test the plan and equipment.(source 1) And to answer your implied question, NASA did decide in advance who would fly and who would step foot on the moon for publicity reasons.(source 2)

Source: Apollo 10, Neil Armstrong

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  • $\begingroup$ Dear und3niable, I appreciate your response and do agree to an extent with you. My contention was NASA could have maintained the same crew so as to pre-empt any possible error on part of the new crew, which was inexperienced w.r.t. that of Apollo 10. Specially so, I presume NASA could not have face the embarrassment once again, (had there been any failure in Apollo 11), like they had to face while giving a "reply" to the Sputnik, using Vanguard - which failed miserably.. Hope you understand my concern. $\endgroup$
    – Niranjan
    May 20 at 17:54
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    $\begingroup$ Why risk 10 with a newbie crew, just use the guys from 8? Oh but they were noobs too... $\endgroup$
    – Innovine
    May 20 at 18:29
  • $\begingroup$ @Niranjan that is interesting, I’ll take a look to see if there is any memos that detail this but they may not exist. Thanks for the question though! $\endgroup$
    – und3niable
    May 20 at 19:32
  • $\begingroup$ How about this? quora.com/… $\endgroup$
    – und3niable
    May 20 at 19:33
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    $\begingroup$ @Innovine & Polygnome. YES, your point is absolutely valid. If NASA was to take my argument (AS PERCEIVED BY YOU ALL), they could have used the same crew right from 1st space flight. Thanks they dint. I think, Apollo 11 being the MOST PRESTIGEOUS missions US had ever undertaken till then, any & every possible measure to reduce the chance of failure, was expected to be taken by NASA. My point about crew was one of such measures. "ONLY for APOLLO 11". After all, US pres. did have a second speech ready - isnt it? Thank GOD, everything went well & we (humans) did not learn things the wrong way. $\endgroup$
    – Niranjan
    May 21 at 18:07
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Deke Slayton's basic crew paradigm was that "Any crew can fly any mission" . This was crucial for maintaining morale in a bunch of fiercely competitive over-achievers . Every mission was critical , especially so after the fire . You might even argue that the pressure of being prime crew over 2 missions might degrade performance - not to mention the effect on the back-up and support crews . Apollo 10 did do a good chunk but the full powered descent , landing , stay , staging/ascent & rendezvous was the real show . On a final note - Jim Webb told the 11 crew that they were not to take unnecessary risks & they would get the very next shot if it failed - he might even have meant it.

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    $\begingroup$ Do you have reference for this? $\endgroup$ May 21 at 2:19
  • $\begingroup$ @DrTris: There you are, Jim Webb had anticipated the risk I am trying to point out in my question, and had take the necessary precaution. Thanks. $\endgroup$
    – Niranjan
    May 21 at 18:10
  • $\begingroup$ I was a bit hasty there - always check your sources ! Webb was retired from NASA by then & it was Tom Paine - but it was about taking unnecessary risks , not like you suggest . ( First Man - J R Hansen (2005) pg 338) . Source re Slayton & crews - tinyurl.com/pn5vdf4f $\endgroup$
    – DrTris
    May 22 at 6:31

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