General Training

When they returned from the USAF pilot training course in the summer of 1966, Garriott, Gibson and Schmitt embarked on a fifteen-month period of general NASA astronaut training. They were joined by Kerwin and Michel, who had remained at Houston completing their technical assignments in the Astronaut Office while the other three were away at jet pilot school. In April 1966, NASA had selected a new group of nineteen pilot astronauts who were to be trained to support the main Apollo lunar mission effort and crew later Apollo-type missions to the Moon and to space stations under the Apollo Applications Program. To save time, costs and administration headaches, NASA decided to include the new scientist-astronauts in with the pilot-astronaut academic and survival training programme. With twenty-four new astronauts undergoing basic training, this was by far the largest group NASA had trained in one go. There would not be such a large group again until the first Shuttle-era selection (of thirty-five candidates) began their training in July 1978.

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