With Group 4, for the first time, the selection criteria did not include a requirement for test pilot proficiency. Selectees who were not qualified pilots would be assigned to the Air Force for a year of flight training. The primary scientific requirement was a doctorate in medicine, engineering, or one of the natural sciences.
Selection of Group Two virtually depleted the pool of qualified candidates from the small corps of test pilots in the country, and it was the last group for which test-pilot certification would be a requirement. The new trainees reported to Houston in October 1962 to begin a two-year training course. A four-day work week was normally scheduled, the fifth day being reserved for public relations duties or for travel.
“At first, the sensation I got was that there was a pop, then there was a big explosion and a clang. We were thrown forward in the seats. We had our shoulder harnesses fastened. Fire and sparks started coming out of the back end of that rascal. The light was something fierce, and the acceleration was pretty good. The vehicle yawed off – I don’t remember whether it was to the right or to the left – but it was the kind of response that the Lockheed people had predicted we would get. . . . The shutdown on the was just unbelievable. It was a quick jolt . . . and the tailoff . . . I never saw anything like that before, sparks and fire and smoke and lights.” John Young Gemini X.
Deputy Administrator Seamans wanted a mission review board created to study:
(1) Corrective measures for the Atlas-Agena failure
(2) The guidance update problem that delayed the launch two days
(3) The shroud incident
(4) The suit environmental control difficulties