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Very little of the thousands of hours of Mission Control audio on the website has been heard or documented. As you find moments of interest, post them here for discussion.

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Messages - Naraht

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What an interesting find, thank you so much for sharing! I haven't yet listened all the way through but am looking forward to it.

Dave Reed was the right man to be lead FIDO on this mission, I would say. He did an impressive job bringing things together. If he hadn't left, I imagine he would have been in line to become a flight director.

General Discussion / Re: Other Apollo Missions
« on: November 30, 2023, 08:58:45 am »
Short answer: NASA is having difficulty getting the historical tapes from the National Archives.
Wow! Are there issues with other missions or just 16?

General Discussion / Re: Accurate edition of Apollo 11 (2019) movie?
« on: November 26, 2023, 05:25:17 am »
I'm not aware of anything like this, I'm afraid.

Why don't you do some research and pull a guide together, if it's a topic that interests you?

General Discussion / Challenger STS-51L Flight Director loop
« on: November 22, 2023, 07:42:21 am »
Apologies that this is slightly off-topic, but I thought people might be interested to listen to an extended version of the flight director loop during and after the Challenger disaster. This apparently isn't new but I hadn't heard the full recording before, which goes up until the controllers are released from their duties.

In particular, those of you who are acquainted with Jay Greene as an Apollo-era FIDO may be interested to hear him here as a Flight Director, during one of NASA's darkest hours. (His last mission. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he chose not to return to Mission Control after this.)

Having heard him frequently joking around when calling checkpoints during the Apollo program, I find it almost unbearably poignant to hear him here reminding the GC that they need a checkpoint. Not to mention his words at the end telling controllers not to speak with anyone about what happened.

No lie - I would waste so much time (re)listening to those. What a brilliant idea!

Probably you have tons of material already but you might consider starting some themed threads in the general forum, so that people could share clips that you might have missed.

My dream find: Steve Bales' colleagues in the Trench occasionally had to phone him to wake him up in time for the start of shift. Apparently these calls were quite funny so they sometimes played them back. The fact they were recorded makes me suspect that the calls came from Mission Control - maybe they went and did them from the Booster console? But it would be amazing to find a Bales wake-up call one day. Maybe from one of the other missions.

Best of Jack Garman would also be great. He was quite a character too.

A somewhat related Deiterich moment: "don't scare me like that!"

But as he says afterwards, "it's better to overreact than to underreact... just keep it between us."


Chuck Deiterich takes a little while to remember why he called re-entry support.

"I've got too many things going on in my ear... Let me pull myself together. I'm floundering."

I've regarded him as probably one of the most senior FIDOs in the Trench, particularly after Bostick and Shaffer became leaders of the Flight Dynamics branch. Jay Greene was brilliant, of course, but Reed had all the confidence in the world - a must when dealing with other members of his cohort.
No argument on "one of the most senior." You only have to look at the fact that Reed and Greene were the only two FIDOs ever to work a lunar descent. Their reputation must have been high indeed.

Of course there was a little bit of rivalry between Reed and Greene. As you may know already, Ed Pavelka assigned Greene to work descent on Apollo 11, and as he says: "Dave Reed was incensed. He could not stand it... I heard a lot of complaints over the years from Dave on that and I think it ended up frustrating him to the point where... he quit NASA." (Greene says the same thing in his own oral history; Reed denies it.)

It occurs to me that Reed might well have become a flight director if he hadn't left. Shaffer and Greene both did. (Bostick interestingly not.) The position of FIDO seems to have been a good launching pad, unsurprisingly.

To be fair, compare and contrast Dave Reed before the accident, having an argument with Booster because Marshall want to use his vector and he says agreed procedure is that they should calculate their own. (This is part of an argument that started much earlier.)

He certainly sounds fresher but equally testy. I think he had a little bit of a temper.

General Discussion / Re: Other Apollo Missions
« on: October 05, 2023, 08:39:47 am »
In case anyone is interested, I've been digging for information about how the digitization process is progressing, and this paper from June 2022 is highly encouraging:

"The years 2020 and first half of 2021 were marked by slowly moving digitization efforts due to COVID-19 restrictions. Even with these restrictions, CRSS-UTDallas was able to digitize an additional 50,000 hours of audio. This audio is recorded at 44.1Khz at NASA, JSC which houses the only existing system that can play the Apollo analog tapes. Entire Apollo 8, 9, and 10 were digitized, providing valuable information on MCC speakers." Source:

General Discussion / Re: Other Apollo Missions
« on: October 05, 2023, 02:23:28 am »
Is Apollo 16 planned to include the Mission Control loops?

(I swear I've spent more than 20 years lying awake at night worrying that all these tapes are going to crumble into dust before they're digitized. I'm glad that the NSF-funded project got extended but I'm not going to relax yet.)

12 There's a question of whether "Merlin" (I think?) is going to leave. "No." "What, you gonna stay here 'til it quits?"

Guessing that will have been Merlin Merritt, who was a TELMU.

Nice find!

To pick up on the following discussion, one of the most "un-military" flight controllers has to be Steve Bales, hands down. His work was clearly massively respected, or he wouldn't have been chosen for both the lunar landing and take-off shifts on Apollo 11, but he was very excitable and prone to interrupting. The contrast between him and Jay Greene during their backchannel discussions around the Apollo 11 landing is very clear.

Greene, although clearly non-military and often tongue-in-cheek during ordinary shifts, was pretty calm and collected when the chips were down. Like this when he's reminding his backroom to 'stay with it' while the room is still clapping after the landing:

But then he later became a flight director - not coincidental I think.

Color me completely unsurprised that it was John Llewellyn!

Edit: I think near the end of the conversation, Will Fenner is referring to an "alidade in the back room" though he gets cut off so it's hard to tell.

Pretty sure it's actually "an Olivetti," ie a calculator:

For example Jay Greene (whose accent is more comprehensible to me anyway!) saying here, "I went back and I divided it on the Olivetti."

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