Applying skills to AAP

In planning for future missions beyond those devoted to reaching the Moon, NASA had instigated a series of studies to utilise Apollo-derived hardware to support expanded surface explorations of the Moon, scientific Earth-orbital missions and the development of space stations. Between 1960 and 1965, this programme was known in turn as Apollo ''A''; Apollo X (for ''experimental'', then ''extended''); XMAS (Extended Mission Apollo System); and the Apollo Extension System (AES).5 By 6 August 1965, the project had progressed sufficiently to warrant the creation of a dedicated directorate as part of the Office of Manned Spaceflight. It was designated the Saturn/Apollo Applications Directorate or, more simply, Apollo Applications. That same month, an Apollo Applications Office was established at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, just a few weeks after NASA had named its first group of scientist-astronauts.

An Astronaut Office (CB) memo from Chief Astronaut Alan Shepard, dated 3 February 1966, detailed the creation of a new branch office within the Astronaut Office. The Advanced Program Office would be headed by former Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter. Assigned under him were Joe Kerwin (with technical responsibilities for pressure suits and EVA development) and Curt Michel (assigned to work on experiment issues). From September 1966, Owen Garriott, Ed Gibson and Jack Schmitt would be assigned to this office once they returned from flight school. During most of 1966, Kerwin also worked as CB point of contact for the developing idea of using a spent S-IVB stage as the basis of an orbital workshop. During his work on the development of this concept, Kerwin expressed concerns over both the apparent lack of experiment planning and the operational safety provisions for hardware to be installed in the spent stage. By August 1966, work on the AAP programme had evolved sufficiently for a more defined CB Branch Office to be established. Its first Chief was pilot-astronaut Al Bean.

Shepard detailed further assignments in the expanded AAP CB Branch Office in a subsequent memo dated 3 October 1966. Initially, pilot-astronauts were assigned under Bean (Bill Anders, Joe Engle, Jack Lousma, Bill Pogue and Paul Weitz), while Garriott headed up the ''Experiments Branch'' with Gibson, Don Lind, Bruce McCandless, Michel and Schmitt assigned under him. Kerwin was assigned to the Suit-PLSS-Recovery Branch with Ed Givens, under the leadership of John Young. In December, when Young was assigned to the Apollo 2 back-up crew, both Kerwin and Givens joined the Experiments Branch. The two branches exchanged members several times over the next few months, until 4 April 1967 when they were merged into the Apollo Applications Program (AAP) Branch Office under the leadership of Bean.

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