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Messages - Naraht

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Apollo 13 Moments of Interest / Re: 139:00:13 TELMU "Shocking tie"
« on: May 22, 2020, 06:22:20 pm »
Having had a listen, I can't make out the name, but I'm pretty sure the response is, "it's his life, never mind."

Apollo 11 Moments of Interest / 119:49:49 Lunney's ascent pep talk
« on: May 22, 2020, 03:54:57 pm »

Glynn Lunney gives his version of a pep talk to his controllers at the start of the lunar ascent shift: "Okay, Black Team members, the time has come!"

This includes him telling GUIDO Steve Bales that "I'd like you to get all your people standing by and looking alive because by the time these guys wake up, we're going to be two and a half hours from liftoff, we don't have any time for any debates or anything else like that, OK?" And Bales then passes this pep talk on to AGC Support Jack Garman in his back room: "we're going now, this is serious."

Predictably Lunney gets testy an hour and a half later, when new requests are still coming to light: "I'm talking to anybody who'll listen... you should have mentioned it earlier."


Another classic Lunney moment from that period of the highest of high drama, when the CSM's oxygen supply is finally failing and they urgently need to get the oxygen on in the LM.

He absolutely rides his poor TELMU: "Okay, how about ECS? Come on, I need some oxygen... Give me some oxygen right now... Do I need some oxygen?"


Glynn Lunney gets testy about the idea of leaving the IMU heaters turned on.

This clip was featured in that classic 1994 documentary, Apollo 13: To the Edge and Back. "I can't afford that!" has been a bit of a catchphrase between me and my mother ever since.

I love it when Lunney gets testy with the flight controllers too - which is just about all the time, usually.

It's so true! Although I think it's not anger so much as impatience. As Jay Greene said years later, "Glynn would drive you crazy, because his mind would race so fast that he could churn out action items quicker than you could absorb, much less answer."

He tends to be polite with the CAPCOM though, probably because they're astronauts and ultimately his voice link between the ground and the spacecraft.

The CAPCOM is presumably also less likely to argue with him or to keep him waiting for an answer! There were certainly times when he was no respecter of astronauts. I would love to hear the Flight Director's loop on Apollo 7, when Wally Schirra's insubordination (as he saw it) left him absolutely incandescent with rage.

I am going to go through my notes on these recordings and see if I can pull out some more Lunney moments to share with the class. In the mean time I can recommend one I've already posted, where he (jokingly) berates Jay Greene for taking a checkpoint at the wrong time and losing 40 minutes of data as a result:

Man, he's the flight director - that's all the rank he needs to pull.

Though he was also clearly the Trench's flight director. During the Mercury years, he was only the second Flight Dynamics Officer ever. For a good part of the 60s he was also Chief of the Flight Dynamics Branch, so the direct boss or boss's boss of these guys. He knew his stuff and they knew he knew it too.

I love Glynn Lunney getting testy. This is a great find.


Here we have Retro Chuck Deiterich doing some planning with his backroom, Retro Support, who I'm almost certain is Poppy Northcutt. She's widely agreed to have been, on Apollo 8, the first female flight controller. (Albeit not in the MOCR itself.)

She can be heard sporadically through the rest of this shift.

Understandably she got a good bit of press coverage. Later on Jay Greene tells Chuck Deiterich that "your assistant is calling you... your TV star...":


A computer goes down and they have to restore to a backup from a checkpoint 40 minutes earlier, meaning that 40 minutes of data is lost. A bit of banter ensues with Flight Director Glynn Lunney telling FIDO Jay Greene that "you took [the checkpoint] in the wrong place!" Discussion continues until 022:10:00 or so.

Earlier in the shift, he'd been questioning Greene on the reasons for needing to take checkpoints:

However, as Greene says to his backroom later, the real incident provided the best illustration of why checkpoints are needed. "We scored on the flight director... it's better than any words of explanation."

All really good finds - very interesting to hear the controllers' viewpoint on this! It's also interesting to me that so many people were on console nearly 24 hours before the launch.

In case it's of interest to anyone, RETRO is the second speaker in the exchange linked above (ie not the person who says "I never would have guessed"), and it's Chuck Deiterich.


FIDO Jay Greene, age 27, worked the descent shift on Apollo 11 and landed men on the moon. Now, a couple of days later, he's complaining that he doesn't get any cool catchphrases.

"I wish FIDOs had cool things like that to say. 'This is when we commit to MSFN.' The Networks can say 'battle short.' The FIDOs can't say anything but 'checkpoint.'"

"Everybody's got their own thing."

"Yeah, but I don't say mine on the loop."

That's a good idea. I'll see whether I manage to gather enough together to make it worthwhile, and if I do, I'll get in touch with them.


So says FIDO Jay Greene to RETRO Chuck Deiterich.

"It's not the only one running," replies Deiterich.

"Yeah, but it's the only one they're going to play back."

If the 'word' did end up getting recorded, I haven't been able to find it yet!


FIDO Jay Greene tells himself that someday he'll learn to love Retros, but we know that he never did. He abolished the role, I think when he became branch chief of the flight dynamics branch which would have been at the beginning of the 80s. Per his oral history:

"I decided I didn’t need RETROs. Didn’t matter whether you were going forward or backwards, one trajectory guy was all we needed. That’s in my autobiography. I got rid of the RETROs. John Llewellyn hasn’t spoken to me since, which isn’t all bad. Actually, he has, but not lovingly."


It seems that the "Goddard Maneuvers" team at Goddard Space Flight Center (responsible for all the Apollo comms and tracking) called the flight dynamics team in Houston periodically to ask for updates about vectors, maneuver times, etc. It also seems that FIDO Jay Greene viewed these calls as a personal thorn in his side.

Further encounters between Mr Greene and "those guys from Goddard" can be found at:

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