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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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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."

General Discussion / Re: Identifying speakers/ Mission Control teams
« on: January 04, 2022, 11:19:35 am »
Ah, got you. I agree it makes a nice collection all of people calling for Flight.

I'll see who else I can find during my own listening. Off the top of my head it would be relatively easy to include Bob Carlton (CONTROL) and Phil Shaffer (FIDO) from Apollo 11.

General Discussion / Re: Identifying speakers/ Mission Control teams
« on: January 04, 2022, 02:06:34 am »
An ingenious idea! I'm afraid that I don't have any knowledge of NETWORK and FAO, but I did have a listen to all the samples I do know as a double check, and they all sound right to me.

If you do know the first names of some of these people, I would suggest looking at the manning lists which might help to narrow down the suspects.

Would it be useful if I kept a look-out for people in the back room identifying themselves, or would that be going too far? I could also provide links to samples for some of the Apollo 11 controllers who aren't represented here.

I think Stoval had a reputation for being overly keen!

See the discussion between Bales and Paules here: "Oh, Stoval will be running vectors, and then Boone will come on and run more vectors, and then they'll just run the ephemeris into the ground..."


Gran Paules, Steve Bales' boss in the Guidance section, calls him to check in before heading off for his Navy Reserve duty in Galveston. This is the longest check-in call I've encountered so far, around 10 minutes of wide-ranging conversation, much more informal than exchanges on the loop. Subjects of discussion include:

The fact that Bales was asleep at his console with his headset off (and is terrified that he was spotted asleep on TV!)
The eternal question of the SIVB impact point
Midcourse correction ("big Booster screwup")
Who went to the Booster post-launch party
Jack Swigert having set a "new all-time speed record" doing P23
Bales complaining again about how tired he is ("you woke me up by calling though, that's good")
Bales complaining about the "slow-rent, low-rent Procedures guy" (you can hear this incident here:

All kinds of gossip.

General Discussion / Re: Other Apollo Missions
« on: January 02, 2022, 04:55:23 am »
Yes! We're working on Apollo 16 now. It probably not going to be ready for the 50th anniversary, but we'll try.

Apologies if this is an obvious answer one way or the other, but is this going to include the Mission Control audio as well, or will it be like 17?

I've been keeping my eye on the relevant NSF grant page and the project is clearly going ahead but I can't tell where they actually are, if anywhere, with further digitization of the tapes. It's clearly planned, though, and the project is due to end in 2023, so here's hoping.

Needless to say I know that everyone involved in all of this is doing all they possibly can! This has been such an amazing resource and it will be wonderful to hear and see more, in whatever order it comes. (But yes, if I were wishing I would put in a vote for 7 or 8.)

Per his oral history, he actually heard about it from his then-girlfriend...

I was at home, because I had a shift and I was going to do descent. I was lying on the couch, and my wife, who wasn’t my wife, she called and she said, “You see what happened?” And I hadn’t. So I drove onsite. We all sort of responded to what we heard on the radio and drove onsite. It was pretty grim. I don’t think there was anybody who expected that crew to live. A lot of them, in retrospect, will tell you how macho and cool, but it was pretty grim.

Obviously everyone was stressed and worried but I do think he sounds shaken. He took a much more pessimistic view of the situation than many/most of his colleagues – a couple of whom, Sy Liebergot and Chuck Deiterich, have since indignantly refuted his claim that no one expected the crew to live – so maybe it stands to reason that it would be audible in his voice.

And of course he, like everyone else, went to the MOCR even though he was told he wasn't needed immediately!

Nice find! I'd missed this for some reason. He sounds uncharacteristically subdued.

Nice find! I love these check-in calls.


Kerwin (Capcom): And, 13, Houston. Check your Noun 17 for extraction pitch attitude. It should be 319 degrees. Over.
Garman (AGC): Noun 22, Noun 22!

Guidance (Yaw?) tells him they'll wait and see what happens. Garman replies, "if the Capcom is gonna say something, he should say it right."

Later, Garman, watching what the crew are doing: "Now maybe he's catching on.... Yay! He figured it out.... No, he still didn't figure it out. Let's see what he does. No, no! I'm gonna have a heart attack... If I were you I'd lean back and tell the Capcom that he figured it out despite him."

It's easy to be a critic from the back room...


"AGC from Yaw... uh, Guidance. Which one of the fellows did the P23, was it Lovell or was it the other one... the CMP?"

He makes the "Yaw" mistake several times, which I guess is unsurprising given that those two roles did swap off (Yaw usually being a more junior, assistant role). Forgetting Swigert's name is a bit less forgivable, even if he was a last minute replacement!


Steve Bales has a mini panic over a 'dead' PTC program (did he really say "shit!" on the loop?) and then gets mockingly told off by Jack Garman.

Never a dull moment, you've got to give him that! Half the time I get the feeling that he was just trying to keep himself from getting bored.

If I'd been Greene's middle school teacher, I'm sure I would have considered him a smart aleck, but as it is I think he's great.

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