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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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Preparing for lunar ascent in the wake of the program alarms on descent, AGC Support Jack Garman briefs GUIDO Steve Bales on what a large percentage of computer time a 'monitor' program such as Noun 85 will utilize: "are you ready for this? I know you aren't, I'm not either... seven percent."

Very interesting sliver of history.

I thought so!

Between them, Greene (11, 15, 16, 17) and Reed (12, 14) were the only FIDOs ever to work a lunar descent. And Greene would have done 13 too if events hadn't intervened. So clearly whatever he "screwed up," his bosses didn't hold it against him!


The set-up for this will be familiar to anyone who has seen the film Apollo 13: Jim Lovell asks the ground to check his arithmetic to ensure that he's correctly transferred the guidance alignment from the CM into the LM. (You can hear this at 058:04:03.)

In the film you can see the line of controllers in the Trench frantically scribbling out calculations and immediately giving the thumbs up. In actuality, Glynn Lunney had to chase Guidance about it... three times.

And then who actually did the checking? That voice from the backroom is as clear as a bell: it's Jack Garman, the backroom hero of Apollo 11.

"OK, we have LGC data, look at the (?), and when you're satisfied, as we are, tell him that his arithmetic is good."

Great idea. Here's a shift list.

Thanks, I haven't seen that version of the shift lists before, where did you get it from?

They are a good guide to the overall cast of characters working a mission, but as said they're often misleading when it comes to the particulars. For instance, if you look at this one, you would think that Charlie Dumis was the EECOM on Gene Kranz's team during Apollo 13, when we know for certain that it was Sy Liebergot. I would want to have anything in those lists confirmed by recognizing a voice, hearing someone called by name rather than callsign (if you didn't already know who worked FIDO during the lunar descent, you certainly would after hearing Steve Bales saying "Jay, Jay" every couple of minutes!), or a mention in a reliable book.

The problem is particularly difficult with the Trench because they tended to work particular mission phases (launch/TEI/descent/what have you) rather than being pegged to particular flight directors. Rick Houston says that the Flight Dynamics Branch kept a record of who worked what, and that would be an immense help as a starting point. I'm halfway tempted to try to find his email address and just write to him to see if he's willing to share.

But really it would be great just to have a definitive list of MOCR shift change times as a framework to slot this all into. The Apollo Flight Journal for Apollo 8 is partly organized in terms of which team was on duty, but this annoyingly isn't the case for 11 or 13.


As re-entry approaches, a little bit of banter amongst the men of the Trench about "tightening down a vector" transitions to a slightly out-of-the-blue, slightly mean spirited (IMO) joke from the FIDO on duty, who I think is Dave Reed, about his fellow FIDO Jay Greene, who isn't present.

What did Reed think Greene had screwed up? On Apollo 11, as far as I know, he only worked the descent shift, when there was of course the small issue of targeting and the LM landing four miles long.

Wider context, which may or may not be relevant, is that Dave Reed had been furious about not getting chosen as the FIDO for the lunar descent shift. He left NASA a year and a half after Apollo 11. Both Jay Greene and Ed Pavelka, who made the assignment, think this was because he was so angry about getting passed over for Apollo 11. (Reed denies this.)

I may be completely off base but I think what we're listening to here is a slight case of sour grapes.


John (Llewellyn, probably) phones the MOCR asking for Bobby Spencer, his fellow RETRO, and gets an update on the problem from someone on the FIDO console instead.

You're welcome! I have been doing so much listening trying to identify people on the Trench loops. I'd be happy to join forces if there's anything you want to try to figure out - I made a post about this in the general discussion forum.


Early in the crisis, GUIDO Gran Paules (who's presumably at home off shift) calls FIDO Bill Stoval to ask what's going on with the spacecraft. Conversation subsequently continues on the GUIDO loop as Paules is transferred to talk with Will (Fenner?).

General Discussion / Re: Identifying speakers/ Mission Control teams
« on: April 30, 2020, 10:22:32 am »
Further thoughts... this problem is obviously particularly acute on Apollo 13, with various people being pulled off console for Kranz's Tiger Team (including some who weren't on the White Team to start with, like John Aaron), swapping around to fill in for one another during procedures meetings etc, and people hanging around even when they weren't on shift.

For example: at 95:46 or so, Glynn Lunney is on as Flight Director and Jay Greene (whose voice is unmistakable) is working the FIDO console, although he's not listed on the Black Team in the published manning lists and wasn't on console during Lunney's shifts earlier in the flight.

He gets a call from Charlie Parker, asking "who's on the Guido console?"

Greene's response: "Who's on the Guido console? You wanna go from left to right or right to left? I got Bales, Mill(?), Wells, Fenner and Pressley."

Who was actually speaking on the Guido loop? I know it wasn't Bales, because his voice is just as distinctive as Greene's, but beyond that... well, your guess is as good as mine...

General Discussion / Identifying speakers/ Mission Control teams
« on: April 27, 2020, 04:34:17 pm »
It occurs to me that an interesting crowdsourcing project could be to try to gather together a list of some of the actual participants in some of the key phases of the mission.

It would be relatively easy to pull together a list of Mission Control shift changes and hence teams and flight directors on duty at particular times, since all of that seems to be announced by the PAO. But beyond that, it's not always easy to tell who's on console, given the specialist ascent/descent/entry teams that worked some shifts (plus possible changes in manning after the manning lists were published?).

For example, in Apollo 11, if you look at the manning lists reproduced in the 20th anniversary flight operations reunion book, you get the following selection:

Shift 2: Flight Director Gene Kranz, FIDO Jerry Bostick, GUIDO Ken Russell and Charley Parker
Shift 3: Flight Director Glynn Lunney, FIDO Jay Greene and Phil Shaffer, GUIDO Bill Fenner and Steve Bales

Whereas what you actually had (per ALSJ, oral histories, etc) was the following:

Descent team: Flight Director Gene Kranz, FIDO Jay Greene (who says he only worked this shift in the whole mission), GUIDO Steve Bales
Ascent team: Flight Director Glynn Lunney, FIDO Dave Reed (I'm sorry, it was Phil Shaffer!), GUIDO Steve Bales (again)

Is anyone besides me interested in trying to figure some of this out? I can recognise some people's voices, and sometimes names are used, but it's a monumental task...

General Discussion / Re: Download of a complete "mission".
« on: April 21, 2020, 04:53:54 pm »
Thanks daniel for your help.

I've also discovered this rather useful guide to the content of the tapes:


It's a few hours before the first lunar landing, and someone in Flight Dynamics hasn't turned up yet.

"If he's not here, ten more minutes... you guys have his phone back there?"

"I believe so."

"OK, if he's not here in five more minutes, call him. At his home. It is his day."

Apollo 11 Moments of Interest / 95:53:06 FIDO: "I feel groovy"
« on: April 20, 2020, 12:55:40 pm »

Select, in the back room, has a moment of chit-chat with his FIDO a few hours before the lunar landing: "How you feeling, Jay?"

FIDO: "I feel groovy. How do you feel?"

Select: "I'm tired, ready to go. We'll eat a few sugar cubes down here in a little bit."

FIDO: "With William down there, I don't doubt it."

General Discussion / Re: Download of a complete "mission".
« on: April 20, 2020, 11:22:34 am »
Can anyone offer any insight into how to figure out which of the tapes corresponds to which loop and which part of the mission? Or do you just have to dip into them and listen until you get some idea? The file names on don't seem to correspond to anything else that I can figure out. Or am I missing something?

ETA: Ah, I think I get it... the channel numbers from the image are in the filename. So "CH17" is EECOM and "CH20" is FIDO, for example. I think.

General Discussion / Re: Thank you
« on: April 20, 2020, 11:19:54 am »
I'd like to add my thanks to the chorus. Since 2005 or so, if not earlier, I've been dreaming about these tapes being digitised. But it never occurred to me to dream that they would be presented in such a rich format. To take one tiny example, I had no idea that John Aaron was contributing on the loop during the Black Team's shift during the initial Apollo 13 crisis - but there he was, identified as "Maroon EECOM" and all. Wow.

I found myself getting up at 5am this morning (almost certainly a mistake) because I was so excited about listening to more of the FIDO loop on the Apollo 11 descent. Found some gems too.

I would love to contribute to future work on the site, if there's any opportunity.

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