Typed memo, signed "Thomas P. Stafford," three pages, 8 x 10.5, February 19, 1963. A memorandum issued to Major Deke Slayton, headed "Academic Training Course Critique," discussing each part of the training that members of Astronaut Group 2 underwent from October 1962 to February 1963. Stafford offers input on fifteen sections of the course, followed by recommendations. In part: "The Mercury background and familiarization course was satisfactory and timely…The Flight Mechanics course as originally planned was inadequate. This course should be given at the onset of academic training…Astronomy. The entire course was excellent…The field trip to the Moorehead Planetarium was also excellent. The one suggested change is that this field trip be scheduled immediately after completion of the basic astronomy course…Computer Course. Dr. Smith's presentation of this tedious subject was commendable…Rocket Propulsion. This course tended to be an informal type of presentation…Guidance and Navigation. The majority of the lectures were presented in an outstanding manner…An expanded course of instruction to include operation of the system could be presented in an additional 50 to 70 hours…As in many of the other courses, the background material was distributed after the lectures…Selenology. The course was outstanding in every detail including the field trip…Medical aspects of space flight. Well presented but recommend that it be given with a shorter time period between lectures…Physics of the upper atmosphere. All presentations were excellent and well prepared. Again the factor of not having adequate handout material detracted from the overall effectiveness…Environmental Control System. A lot of this material was covered in the individual spacecraft systems briefing and resulted in some duplication of effort…Gemini/Apollo Systems Briefing. The lectures were well prepared…Field Trips to Contractor Facilities. Subject matter covered was adequate for this type of briefing. The timing was good in most cases where the trip was initiated immediately after the academic presentations." In his recommendations, Stafford writes: "The major deficiency of the academic training course was the lack of background reading material…The decision to eliminate academic testing proved to be a very timely one. The entire group of nine are completely unified at the end of this training period…An overall philosophy of a concentrated academic course to fill a specific goal should be carried out in the future…Friday break for press conferences and flying should also be continued. It is my view that this training program accomplished more in a specified time than the package offered by the Air Force Aerospace School." In fine condition, with couple staple holes to upper left. From The Bill Lende Collection.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.