2 September 1970

NASA announces the cancellation of two Apollo missions to the Moon, Apollo 15 (the designation is re-used by a later mission), and Apollo 19.

Canceled Apollo missions

Several planned missions of the Apollo crewed Moon landing program of the 1960s and 1970s were canceled for a variety of reasons, including changes in technical direction, the Apollo 1 fire, hardware delays, and budget limitations. After the landing by Apollo 12, Apollo 20, which would have been the final crewed mission to the Moon, was canceled to allow Skylab to launch as a "dry workshop" (assembled on the ground in an unused S-IVB Saturn IB second stage). The next two missions, Apollos 18 and 19, were later canceled after the Apollo 13 incident and further budget cuts. Two Skylab missions also ended up being canceled. Two complete Saturn Vs ended up going unused and are currently on display in the United States.

Planned missions prior to Apollo 1 fire

The prime crew for the second planned Apollo crewed flight prepares for mission simulator tests at the North American Aviation plant prior to the Apollo 1 fire. Left to right: Donn F. Eisele, Senior Pilot, Walter M. Schirra, Command Pilot, and Walter Cunningham, Pilot. (September 1966).

In September 1962, NASA planned to make four crewed low-Earth-orbital test flights of partially equipped Block I Command/Service Modules (CSM) using the Saturn I launch vehicle, designated SA-11 through SA-14, in 1965 and 1966. However, the limited payload capacity of the Saturn I compared to the uprated Saturn IB would have severely limited the systems carried, and thus the testing value of these flights. Therefore, NASA canceled these flights in October 1963,[1] and replaced them with two crewed Saturn IB missions, designated AS-204 and AS-205. These would be followed by the first uncrewed flight of the Lunar Module (LM) on AS-206, then the third crewed mission, designated AS-207/208, would use AS-207 to launch the crew in an improved Block II CSM, which would rendezvous and dock with the LM launched uncrewed on AS-208.

The crew selected on March 21, 1966, for AS-204 consisted of Command Pilot Virgil "Gus" Grissom, Senior Pilot Ed White, and Pilot Roger Chaffee, who named their mission Apollo 1. AS-205 was to be named Apollo 2, and AS-207/208 would be Apollo 3.[2] The AS-205 crew were Wally Schirra, Donn Eisele and Walter Cunningham. However, AS-205 was later deemed unnecessary and officially canceled on December 22, 1966.

Schirra's crew then became the backup for Grissom's crew, and the crewed LM mission became the second crewed mission, redesignated AS-205/208 and crewed by Grissom's original backup crew: Command Pilot Jim McDivitt, CSM Pilot David Scott and LM Pilot Rusty Schweickart. They immediately began their training in the first Block II Command Module CM-101, as Grissom's crew were preparing for a February 1967 launch.

Then, on January 27, 1967, Grissom's crew was killed in a flash fire in their spacecraft cabin during a test on the launch pad, interrupting the program for 21 months to identify and fix the root causes of a major safety problem. This forced cancellation of plans to fly any Block I spacecraft with men, and effectively forced a "reboot" of all crewed mission plans.

Development missions after Apollo 1 fire

In September 1967, NASA created a list of remaining mission types necessary to achieve the first crewed lunar landing, each designated by a letter A through G, where G would be the first crewed landing. This list was later extended through letter J to cover follow-on lunar missions.

Two uncrewed Saturn V test launches (A missions) were flown as Apollo 4 and Apollo 6. A third test was planned but canceled as unnecessary.

The first development Lunar Module, LM-1 was flown uncrewed (B mission) as Apollo 5. A second uncrewed test was planned using LM-2 but was canceled as unnecessary. LM-2 was retrofitted to look like a production LM which would land men on the Moon and was donated to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, where it is currently on display as a simulation of the Apollo 11 first landing.

Schirra's crew would fly the C mission, first crewed CSM (Block II CSM-101, retrofitted with the cabin safety improvements) as Apollo 7 in October 1968.

McDivitt's crew and mission were kept as the first crewed development LM flight (D mission); this was planned to be Apollo 8 in December 1968, now using a single Saturn V launch vehicle instead of two separate Saturn IB launches. The E mission was planned as an elliptical medium Earth orbit test of the operational LM with the CSM in a simulated lunar mission to an apogee of 4,600 miles (7,400 km), to be commanded by Frank Borman in March 1969.

Of all the components of the Apollo system, the LM had the most technical issues. It was behind schedule and when LM-3 was shipped to the Kennedy Space Center in June 1968, over 101 separate defects were discovered. Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, which was the lead contractor for the LM predicted that the first man-rated LM, to be used for the D mission, would not be ready until at least February 1969, delaying the entire sequence.

George Low, the Manager of the Apollo Spacecraft Program Office, proposed a solution in August 1968. Since the CSM would be ready three months before the Lunar Module, they could fly a CSM-only mission in December 1968. But instead of just repeating the C mission that would fly the CSM in Earth orbit, they could send the CSM all the way to the Moon and maybe even enter into orbit. This mission was dubbed "C-Prime" (an imaginary letter between C and D). This new mission would allow NASA to practice procedures for a lunar flight that would otherwise have to wait until Apollo 10, the F mission. There were also concerns from the Central Intelligence Agency that the Soviet Union was planning their own circumlunar flight for December to upstage the Americans once again (see Zond program). McDivitt's crew—who had grown accustomed to working with LM-3 and preparing for its flight—was kept on the D mission which now became Apollo 9, while Borman's crew would fly the CSM lunar orbit mission on Apollo 8, and the E mission was canceled.

The swap of crews was also decisive in who would be the first man to walk on the Moon. Pete Conrad was backup Commander for McDivitt's crew, and by the process of crew rotation, would have been in line for Commander of Apollo 11 three flights later. Neil Armstrong got this honor by virtue of being Borman's backup commander.

Follow-on lunar missions

NASA contracted to have 15 flight-worthy Saturn Vs produced. Apollo 11 achieved the first landing with the sixth Saturn V, leaving nine for follow-on landings. The following landing sites were chosen for these missions, planned to occur at intervals of approximately four months through July 1972.[3][4]

The last five missions were J-class missions using the Extended Lunar Module, capable of three-day stays on the Moon and carrying the Lunar Roving Vehicle:

As the later missions were up to three years out, little detailed planning was made, and a variety of landing sites were given for some flights. According to "NASA OMSF, Manned Space Flight Weekly Report" dated July 28, 1969, Apollo 18 would have landed at Schröter's Valley in February 1972, Apollo 19 in the Hyginus rille region in July 1972, and Apollo 20 in Copernicus crater in December 1972.

Other proposed landing sites and schedules for the last three missions included Gassendi crater (Apollo 18, July 1973), Copernicus (Apollo 19, December 1973), and Marius Hills or Tycho crater (Apollo 20, July 1974).[5]

As a number of ambitious Apollo Applications Programs were planned, it was still hoped in 1969 that further Saturn V launch vehicles could be contracted, allowing for more ambitious lunar missions.

In the NASA report "Scientific Rationale Summaries for Apollo Candidate Lunar Exploration Landing Sites" from March 11, 1970, Apollo 18 is targeted for Copernicus, and Apollo 19 is assigned Hadley rille (the eventual landing site of Apollo 15). The Apollo 20 mission had been canceled two months before, but the report still suggested its target, Hyginus rille, possibly as an alternative Apollo 19 landing site.[6]

Cancellations

On January 4, 1970, NASA announced the cancellation of Apollo 20 so that its Saturn V could be used to launch the Skylab space station as a "dry workshop" (assembled on the ground), instead of constructing it as a "wet workshop" from a spent S-IVB upper stage of a Saturn IB launch vehicle. Also, budget restrictions had limited the Saturn V production to the original 15.[7] NASA Deputy Administrator George M. Low announced that the final three Moon landings were rescheduled for 1973 and 1974, following the three planned Skylab missions.[8] Chief Astronaut Deke Slayton moved Don L. Lind to Apollo Applications, stating that "with the cancellation of 20, I could see I just wasn't going to have a flight for him".[9]

Another lunar landing was lost in April 1970 when Apollo 13 had its in-flight failure, and the Fra Mauro landing site was reassigned to Apollo 14. Then on September 2, 1970, NASA announced it was canceling the H4 and J4 missions, due to more budget cuts. Skylab was also pushed out to 1973, and the final landing schedule became:

At the time, 35 of NASA's 49 active astronauts were waiting for a chance for a mission.[10]

In the closing days of the program, Apollo 17 LMP Harrison Schmitt aggressively lobbied for a crewed landing on the far side of the Moon, targeting the far side Tsiolkovskiy crater. Schmitt's ambitious proposal included the launch into lunar orbit of special communications satellites based on the existing TIROS satellites to allow contact with the astronauts during their powered descent and lunar surface operations. NASA administrators rejected these plans based on lack of funding and added risk.

In August 1971, President Richard Nixon even proposed to cancel all remaining lunar landings (Apollo 16 and 17). His Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director Caspar Weinberger was opposed to this, persuading Nixon to keep the remaining Moon missions, but recommended that if such cancellation would happen that it be "on the ground that Apollo 15 was so successful in gathering needed data that we can now shift, sooner than previously expected, to the Space Shuttle, Grand Tour, NERVA, etc."[11]

Crew assignments

Slayton was the Director of Flight Crew Operations and effectively chose the crews for the flights. He did not intend to give astronauts two lunar landing commands but, according to historian Michael Cassutt, as late as the summer of 1969—when 10 landings were still scheduled—Slayton planned to give Lunar Module Pilots Fred Haise, Edgar Mitchell, and James Irwin the opportunity to walk again on the Moon as Commanders.[12] During the early Apollo missions he used a rotation system of assigning a crew as backup and then, three missions later, as 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 did not want to take backup positions that no longer could lead to prime-crew spots.

A Gantt chart showing how astronaut assignments were deeply affected by cancelled Apollo missions.

In the case of Apollo 18 the crew was probably the Apollo 15 backup crew:[4]

When Apollo 18 was canceled, Schmitt was moved up to Apollo 17 under pressure from the scientific community, replacing Joe Engle. Schmitt, a geologist, became the only professional scientist and the twelfth man to walk on the Moon.

Slayton's intention for the Apollo 19 crew was the original (prior to cancellation) Apollo 16 backup crew:[4][13]

For Apollo 20 there is even more uncertainty. Based on normal crew rotation, the crew would likely have been:[4]

Another possibility would have been:[5]

  • Stuart Roosa or Edgar Mitchell (CDR)
  • Jack R. Lousma (CMP)
  • Don L. Lind (LMP)

Skylab

Vance Brand and Don Lind, the crew for the unflown Skylab Rescue mission.

Skylab Rescue

One of the surplus CSMs, CSM-119, was modified to carry two additional crew and kept on standby for a potential rescue mission in case of issues on-board Skylab. During Skylab 3, a malfunction on the Apollo CSM docked to the station caused fears that the crew would not be able to return safely. CSM-119 was wheeled out to Launch Complex 39B on Saturn IB SA-209 during the mission and prepared for a possible launch. Two astronauts, Brand (commander) and Lind (command module pilot), would have flown the CSM to retrieve the three crew members. The problem was fixed without requiring a rescue flight. CSM-119 was returned to the Vehicle Assembly Building and remained on standby until the Skylab program ended.

CSM-119 was also held as a backup CSM for the Apollo–Soyuz Test Project.

Skylab 5

Skylab 5 would have been a short 20-day mission to conduct scientific experiments and boost Skylab into a higher orbit. Brand, Lind, and William B. Lenoir (science pilot) would have been the crew.[14]

Surplus hardware

LM-2 on display at the National Air and Space Museum
CSM-119 on display at the Apollo/Saturn V Center
Saturn V at the Apollo/Saturn V Center
Rear view of Saturn V at the Apollo/Saturn V Center

Two complete Saturn Vs went unused after the Apollo program, SA-514 and SA-515, as well as the third stage of the SA-513. SA-513 was the launch vehicle originally planned for the Apollo 18 mission, which was used to launch Skylab.

  • A Saturn V on display at the Johnson Space Center is made up of the first stage of SA-514, the second stage of SA-515, and the third stage of SA-513. This display includes a production command/service module (CSM-115) which was never completed after funding was cut.
  • A Saturn V on display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is made up of static test stage S-IC-T and the second and third stages of SA-514. The command module associated with the KSC Saturn V display is a boilerplate, BP-30. The stack was originally displayed outdoors in front of the Vehicle Assembly Building and was a stop for tour buses. It was later restored and moved indoors to the Apollo/Saturn V Center.
  • The first stage from SA-515 resides at the INFINITY Science Center in Pearlington, Mississippi. The third stage was converted into a backup to the Skylab space station. It is now on display at the National Air and Space Museum.

The last complete, unflown Saturn IB, SA-209, kept on standby for a possible Skylab Rescue mission, is on display in the Rocket Garden of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, topped by an Apollo boilerplate in place of the rescue spacecraft. The second stage of SA-212 was converted into the prime Skylab space station. Two other surplus Saturn IBs (SA-213 and 214) were scrapped (also scrapped was the SA-212 first stage).

Likewise, the canceled flights' CSMs and LMs went either unused or were used for other missions:

  • After Apollo 15's original H mission was canceled, there was a surplus H mission CSM and Lunar Module. CSM-111 was used for the Apollo–Soyuz Test Project. LM-9 is on display at the Kennedy Space Center (Apollo/Saturn V Center)
  • Apollo 18's CSM and LM were used by Apollo 17.
  • Apollo 19's CSM (#115) is displayed on the Saturn V located at the Johnson Space Center. Its LM (LM-13, originally assigned to Apollo 18) was only partially completed by Grumman, and was used as a prop for the HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon in Moon exploration scenes. It is now on display at the Cradle of Aviation Museum on Long Island.
  • Apollo 20's CSM was never completed and was scrapped. The LM was also scrapped before completion, though there are some unconfirmed reports that some parts (in addition to parts from the LM test vehicle LTA-3) are included in the LM on display at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • The Skylab Rescue CSM-119 is on display at the Apollo/Saturn V Center at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

Notes

  1. ^ Wade, Mark. "Apollo SA-11". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on June 17, 2012. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
  2. ^ https://www.popsci.com/blog-network/vintage-space/what-happened-apollos-2-and-3
  3. ^ "Next Decade Challenges Man the Magnificent," Albuquerque Journal, Nov. 23, 1969, pE-2
  4. ^ a b c d "Apollo 18 through 20 - The Cancelled Missions", Dr. David R. Williams, NASA, accessed July 19, 2006.
  5. ^ a b "Apollo 18". Archived from the original on 2012-05-07.
  6. ^ Scientific rationale summaries for Apollo candidate lunar exploration landing sites - NASA Report. Downloaded from NASA Technical Reports Server December 14, 2007
  7. ^ "Peril Point at NASA". Time Magazine. Jan 26, 1970.
  8. ^ "Budget Cuts, Revisions Could Delay Apollo Flights," Press-Telegram (Long Beach, CA), Jan. 6, 1970, pA-7
  9. ^ Slayton, D.K.; Cassutt, M. (1995). Deke ! U.S. Manned Space From Mercury To the Shuttle. Tom Doherty Associates. p. 252. ISBN 978-1-4668-0214-8.
  10. ^ "Waning Moon Program," Time Magazine, Sep. 14, 1970
  11. ^ "MEMORANDUM FOR THE PRESIDENT" by Caspar Weinberger (via George Schultz), Aug 12, 1971, Page32(of39) [1]
  12. ^ Cassutt, Michael (2007-05-09). "Re: Don Lind and Tony England". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved April 17, 2011.
  13. ^ Donald K. Slayton, "Deke!" (New York: Forge, 1994), 262
  14. ^ Wade, Mark. "Skylab 5". Astronautix. Archived from the original on 2011-05-13. Retrieved 2011-02-04.

References

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

External links

2 September 1912

Arthur Eldred is awarded the first Eagle Scout award of the Boy Scouts of America.

Arthur Rose Eldred August 16, 1895 – January 4, 1951 was an American agricultural and railroad industry executive, civic leader, and the first Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America. As a 16-year-old candidate for the highest rank bestowed by the BSA, he was personally interviewed by a panel composed of the youth organization’s founding luminaries, including Ernest Thompson Seton and Daniel Carter Beard. Eldred was awarded the coveted distinction of Eagle Scout on September 2, 1912, becoming the first of more than two million boys in the U.S. since then to earn Scouting’s most vaunted rank. Eldred also received the Bronze Honor Medal for lifesaving, and was the first of four generations of Eagle Scouts in his family.

A graduate of Cornell University, Eldred enlisted at age 22 in the United States Navy in January 1918, nine months after the U.S. entry into World War I. After serving aboard various Navy vessels and seeing combat in that conflict, he then worked in the agriculture and produce transportation industries, serving as a railroad industry official. Eldred continued as an active Scout leader and school board member throughout much of his adult life.

Eldred was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Oceanside, Long Island, New York by his mother after his father died. Eldred’s older brother, Hubert W. Eldred, was instrumental in starting Troop 1 of Oceanside, Long Island, New York in November 1910. Troop 1 was fully uniformed and their appearance so impressed Chief Scout Executive James E. West that he asked the troop to serve as honor guard for the visit of Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting. West paid the expenses for the troop to travel to New York harbor for Baden-Powell’s arrival in the morning of January 31, 1912. Baden-Powell inspected Troop 1, and spoke with Eldred at some length. It is uncertain how Baden-Powell found out that Eldred’s Board of Review was that afternoon, but he ended up attending it and being part of the Board of Review.

In March 1911, Eldred earned First Class rank. He subsequently completed the 21 merit badges required for Eagle Scout. Merit badges are awards for mastering skills taught in the Scouting program. At the time, only 141 merit badges had then been earned by about 50 Scouts. As originally implemented, Eagle Scout was part of the merit badge system and was not a rank. Thus Eldred, like several of the early Eagles, did not earn the Life or Star awards that later preceded Eagle Scout. Eldred’s merit badges were noted in the Honor Roll of the August 1912 edition of Boys’ Life.

Eldred did not have a troop board of review, a review by the adult troop leaders to ensure eligibility. Instead, Eldred had a thorough National Board of Review consisting of West, Baden-Powell, Ernest Thompson Seton, Daniel Carter Beard, Arthur R. Forbush, and Wilbert E. Longfellow, who wrote in the Handbook for Boys on life-saving and swimming. At the time there had still not been a council-level system for Eagle Scouts boards of review. Largely due to delays caused by Baden-Powell’s visit, the National Court of Honor did not convene until March 29, 1912. A press announcement was released on or about April 10, 1912, leading to a century of confusion wherein it was believed Eldred’s Board of Review had been held in April. West informed Eldred of his Eagle award in a letter dated August 21, 1912. Another reason for the delays was that the Boy Scouts of America felt no one would ever earn the Eagle Scout award and at the time of Eldred’s Board of Review, the Eagle Scout medal had not yet been designed. This letter also informed Eldred of the delay in the medal, caused by the fact that the design of the Eagle Scout medal had not been finalized. Eldred was presented Eagle Scout on Labor Day, September 2, 1912, becoming the first to earn Scouting’s highest rank, just two years after the founding of the BSA itself.

In August 1912, Eldred was camping with the troop in Orange Lake, New York. While swimming in the lake, fifteen-year-old Melvin Daly, another Scout who was a non-swimmer, began to drown. Eldred rescued Daly with the assistance of Merritt Cutler. Chief Scout Seton presented Eldred with the Honor Medal for this action.

Eldred entered Cornell University in 1912 and graduated in 1916 having studied agriculture. At the university, Eldred was a member of the Alpha Zeta fraternity, president of the Agricultural Association and participated in track and cross-country.

Eldred enlisted in the United States Navy in January 1918, during World War I. He was initially assigned to the Philadelphia Naval Yard before shipping out on the transport USS Henderson on Sunday, June 30, 1918 from Bush Terminal in Brooklyn, New York for overseas duty. On July 1, 1918 his convoy spotted two enemy submarines and attacked them with depth charges. It is not known whether the submarines were damaged. During the Henderson’s seventh troop transport voyage to France there was a fire on board on July 2, 1918, that resulted in the ship returning to the United States. All but one or two of those on board were rescued by the destroyers USS Mayrant and USS Paul Jones and eventually taken aboard the USS Von Steuben ID-3017, which continued to Brest, France, where Eldred’s knowledge of French proved useful. From there, he was sent by train to Italy.

Eldred arrived in Italy in July 1918 and eventually at Sub Chaser Base 25, located in Corfu, Greece in September 1918. There he served as a machinist aboard submarine chaser SC-244, where they patrolled the Strait of Otranto and were engaged in combat. While in Corfu, Eldred and many others got sick with the flu during the 1918 flu pandemic. The conditions at the hospital were so bad that he had to crawl to a stream to get water, which resulted in a permanent scar on his left hip. Eldred began his return to the United States and arrived in Malta on December 25, 1918. By February 1919, he was in Gibraltar. He was given the option of staying in the Navy until they arrived home in six months or being discharged and paying his own way home. He elected the discharge and was separated from the Navy on March 4, 1919. He met some U.S. Army soldiers who were en route to America aboard an Army troop ship. They took him aboard as a stowaway and loaned him an Army uniform. Eldred slept in a life boat on the way back to America.

After the war, Eldred worked for a dairy, then became the agricultural agent for Atlantic County, New Jersey in 1921 and established the Atlantic City municipal market. He later promoted produce transportation for the Reading Railroad. As the trucking industry became a major competitor for the carriage of agricultural products, Eldred became the manager of the Eastern Railroad Association’s Motor Carrier Committee. He also served on the Camden County Council, the Clementon School District Board of Education, and also served as Overbrook Regional school board president.

Eldred was a board of review examiner throughout the 1920s. He was later the troop committee chairman for Troop 77 in Clementon, New Jersey. Eldred’s descendants have followed in his footsteps. Eldred was present when his eldest son, Willard “Bill” G. Eldred, had his Eagle Scout ceremony on October 27, 1944. Eldred also had a younger son, Arthur, and one daughter, Patricia. Two of Eldred’s grandsons are also Eagle Scouts: James I. Hudson III 1968 and Willard “Bill” Eldred 1977. Four of his great-grandsons, Kyle Kern, Tyler Eldred, Tennessee Abbott, and Bobby Hitte, were Scouts as of March 2007, working towards Eagle Scout. Tyler Eldred and Kyle Kern did not make Eagle Scout and were no longer in Scouting as youths by July 2009. Tennessee Abbott had his Eagle Scout ceremony on May 2, 2010. Bobby Hitte became an Eagle Scout in 2012, 100 years after Arthur and another Eldred descendant, Jack Eldred, had joined Scouting.

Eldred died at the age of 55 from colon cancer on January 4, 1951 at his home in Clementon. He is buried in Berlin Cemetery, Berlin, New Jersey. The National Eagle Scout Association chapter of the BSA’s Theodore Roosevelt Council in Massapequa, New York is named in honor of Eldred. In October 1976 the Village of Rockville Centre, New York honored Arthur Eldred by dedicating Eagle Scout Park in the village in his memory. The ceremony was attended by his widow, son Bill and grandsons.

2 September 1998

All 229 people on board are killed when Swissair Flight 111 crashes in Nova Scotia.

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Scores of bodies and bits of debris were recovered from choppy seas off Nova Scotia as officials sought to determine why a Swissair jetliner bound from New York to Geneva fell into the Atlantic minutes short of an emergency landing in Halifax, apparently killing all 229 people on board.

As Canadian naval vessels and a flotilla of fishermen searched the crash site five miles off a picturesque village called Peggy’s Cove on Nova Scotia’s southeastern shore, it seemed unlikely that any survivors would be found, though all hope was not abandoned. Many of the victims’ grieving families gathered in New York and Geneva, and some were flown to Nova Scotia.

Investigators said that, although the cause of the crash was still a mystery and might not be learned for weeks or months, there were no indications that the wide-bodied jet, a McDonnell-Douglas MD-11, had been brought down by an act of criminality or terrorism.

Searchers, who retrieved about 60 bodies, as well as body parts and debris that included clothing, baggage and seat cushions, said that searchers in the afternoon had spotted what seemed to be a large piece of the aircraft intact perhaps the fuselage, containing many of the victims and the flight data recorders in about 120 feet of water.

Thus, unlike Trans World Airlines Flight 800, which blew up without warning in the sky off the South Shore of Long Island two years ago, with a loss of 230 lives, Swissair Flight 111 apparently did not explode, investigators said, but ran into trouble about 15 minutes before it crashed and did not break up until it hit the water.

The pilot, identified by Swissair officials as Urs Zimmermann, 50, aided by the co-pilot, Stefan Low, 36, turned again toward Halifax and flew on for 11 minutes, gradually descending to 9,600 feet, according to radar tracking data. During that time, the passengers and crew were told of the emergency and put on life jackets, which rescuers said they later found on some bodies.