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Originally posted by Spacedeck
I thought Apollo 20 got cancelled? Or did they launch it?
Originally, NASA produced fifteen flight-worthy Saturn Vs; inclusive of two unmanned tests, this was enough to provide thirteen manned missions; these would have been the missions that took place plus Apollo 18 through Apollo 20.
The first mission to be canceled was Apollo 20. On January 4, 1970 NASA announced it was canceling the Apollo 20 as its Saturn V rocket was now needed for the Skylab space station and budget restrictions had limited the Saturn V production to the original 15 flight models.
Then on September 2, 1970, NASA announced it was canceling what were to be the Apollo 15 and Apollo 19 missions. Apollo 15 was originally meant to be an H mission — like Apollo 12, 13 and 14. These cancellations meant that Apollo 15 became a J mission — three day stay on the moon with the lunar rover and that Apollo 18 would no longer be launched.
Deke Slayton was the Director of Flight Crew Operations and effectively chose the crews for the flights. During the early Apollo missions he had used a rotation system of assigning a crew as backup and then three missions later they would be the prime crew. However, by the later Apollo flights, this system was used less frequently as astronauts left the program, Slayton wanted to give rookies a chance, and astronauts didn't want to take dead-end backup positions.
In the case of Apollo 18 the crew was probably the Apollo 15 backup crew:
Richard F. Gordon, Jr. (Commander (CDR)
Vance D. Brand (Command Module Pilot (CMP)
Harrison Schmitt (Lunar Module Pilot (LMP)
When Apollo 18 was effectively canceled, Schmitt was moved up to Apollo 17, replacing Joe Engle, under pressure from the scientific community. Schmitt, a geologist, became the only professional scientist and the twelfth man to walk on the Moon.
As for the later flights, the crews are mostly based on speculation. The most accepted guesses for Apollo 19 are:
Fred Haise (CDR)
William R. Pogue (CMP)
Gerald P. Carr (LMP)
For Apollo 20 there is even more uncertainty. Based on normal crew rotation, the crew would have been:
Pete Conrad (CDR)
Paul J. Weitz (CMP)
Jack R. Lousma (LMP)
This crew however had been transferred to the Skylab program and Conrad had already walked on the Moon. So it is thought that the Apollo 20 crew would have been:
Stuart Roosa (CDR)
Jack R. Lousma (CMP)
Don L. Lind (LMP)