Surveyor 3 was now to their right, 300 feet away, gleaming in the morning sunlight. Antennas and sensors still reached upward from its tubular frame, just as they had on April 20, 1967, when the spacecraft thumped onto the moon amid blasts from its braking rockets.
Pete Conrad joined NASA as part of the second group of astronauts, known as the New Nine, on September 17, 1962. He was regarded as one of the best pilots in the group, and was among the first of his group to be assigned a Gemini mission.
Conrad (right) with his Gemini 11 crewmate Dick Gordon, following their flight
Conrad descends the Lunar Module ladder, moments before becoming the third human to walk on the Moon
Conrad undergoes dental exam by Skylab 2 Science Pilot, Dr. Joseph P. Kerwin, M.D.
After completing a four-year tour of duty, he attended the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. He trained under the direction of Pete Conrad, who would later become Commander of the Apollo 12 moon flight, and who would be instrumental in getting Bean assigned to that mission.
The successful Apollo 7 flight cleared the way for a US moon landing in 1969. Still a lot of flight and ground testing remained and there would probably be surprises. The greatest concern was Nasa had to complete three virtually flawless missions and achieve every major test objective before a lunar landing could be attempted. The odds seemed to be stack against NASA.