Typed memo, signed "John Young," three pages, 8 x 10.5, February 20, 1963. A memorandum issued to Major Deke Slayton, offering "constructive criticism for Astronaut Training initial phase." Young lists all courses and marks with asterisks those which "were given by people with either obvious teaching experience or adequate preparation to thoroughly treat the subject…If at all possible, I highly recommend practicing professors to obtain maximum benefits in minimum time. I also recommend that Space and Entry Mechanics should be one of the first courses scheduled unless the boys know the basic laws of celestial mechanics in pilot terms. In my opinion, flight mechanics, rocket propulsion systems, communications, and aerodynamics were more the 'what-we-do-in-our-line-of-work' presentations, rather than basic courses on the subjects. A boy has to crawl before he can walk…I recommend that next time through, some training in simulators on devices peculiar to the business be given. For example, devices such as " 1. Three-axis hand controllers. 2. Undamped systems. 3. Rate command, direct command, stability augmentation fine and coarse. 4. Orbital mechanics inputs to docking/rendezvous problems. 5. Lunar landing, etc." In fine condition, with staple holes to upper left. Young had been selected as part of the Group 2 Astronauts in September 1962, and in this critique offers his thoughts on the introductory academic courses the men took between October 1962 and February 1963. Young would be the first of his cohort—nicknamed 'The New Nine'—to travel into space, piloting the 'Molly Brown' on Gemini 3, the first manned flight of the Gemini program.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.