Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Apollo 10 Flight Dynamics

The Flight Dynamics Officer - called the FDO or more commonly "FIDO" - is the person in Mission Control charged with determining the appropriate flight paths and maneuvers for a space vehicle, in orbit and to and from the Moon. FIDO was one of the four positions in "The Trench," the first row of consoles in Mission Control.

Ed Pavelka, whose Apollo 10 Mission Control Access badge is shown at left, was a FIDO during the Gemini era, then moved up to a supervisory position during the Apollo program. He trained and oversaw the FIDOs who manned the station during the Apollo trips to the Moon. Pavelka was also responsible for "Captain REFSMMAT" - whose story will be told another time.

People who didn't have the luxury (or pressure) of being in The Trench during the mission could also follow the key guidance and trajectory events with devices such as the Raytheon "Mission Analyzer." This multi-wheeled slide rule allowed one to see the events happening at a given point in the mission by dialing in the date and time in question.

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