Apollo Legacy Celebration in the Expedition Center, July 18th


July 15, 2019
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Apollo Legacy Celebration in the Expedition Center, July 18th

 Mission Controllers of the Apollo missions reenter the control room in our Expedition Center, but this time, they’re landing their own grandchildren on the Moon—July 18th from 10-11:30 a.m. Emergencies and high drama are guaranteed along the way. But with their grandfathers’ help, each team will solve problems, maintain systems, launch a probe and successfully land at New Tranquility Base. Then, the Mission Controllers share their experiences with the Apollo 11 landing.

Mission Controllers:

George Abbey – Flight Director: George Abbey joined NASA in 1964 as an Air Force captain assigned to the Apollo program. In December 1967, he left the Air Force and was named technical assistant to the Johnson Space Center director where he served for four years. He was there during the Apollo 13 crisis and made the phone call telling Gilruth of the explosion on the spacecraft and was part of the team that earned a Presidential Medal of Freedom for bringing the astronauts home safely.

Michael W. Bungo — Medical: At the Johnson Space Center he served as Head of the Cardiovascular Laboratory, Mission Control Flight Surgeon, Director of the Space Biomedical Research Institute, and Chief Scientist of the Medical Sciences Division. NASA awarded Dr. Bungo the Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for his work.

Medical Team: Lucas Rodriguez (12) and Tyler Jurgensen (10)  

Intern: Emma Johnson

Arthur Schmitt (Larry) — Probe: His position was called “surface nav” in the Apollo 16 and 17 missions where EVAs had to be planned as well as navigating the rover on the lunar surface in real time during the missions.

Probe Team: Alexander Montoya (10), Meredith Mei Foye (14), & Annabel Foye (13)

Intern: Hannah Craft

John Jurgensen — Navigation: He worked in the Mission Control Center for the first ten Apollo flights and was in the MCC when Apollo 11 landed. He was responsible for knowing the capabilities and status of the Command Module Computer and the Lunar Module Computer.

Navigation Team: John Jurgensen (12), Chris Jurgensen (9)     

Intern: Daniel Jones

Mario Runco – Com: He flew three Space Shuttle missions (STS-44, 54, and 77), performed a spacewalk on his second mission, and is now retired. He is also a former New Jersey State Trooper and USGS Research Hydrologist. He was a capsule communicator in the Mission Control Center, supporting missions STS-60, 62, 63, 65, 66, 67, 68, 92, 93, 96, 97, 98, 99, 101, 104, 105, 106, & 109 as Lead for the last Hubble Space Telescope repair mission.

Communications Team: Isaac Barnes (8) and Claire Alvey (10)  

Intern: Pranavi Maddipata

Dan Bland – DATA: Dan trained the Apollo 1-15 crews in the Apollo Command Module Simulator. He worked with the Apollo 16 and 17 crewmembers, other NASA engineers and researchers, and U.S. Geological Survey scientists in developing the lunar surface EVA operations timelines and procedures.

Gary B. Evans — DATA: Gary began his career in 1962, supporting Gemini astronaut training and hardware integration. He supported EECOM Life Support backroom operations for Apollo 14 and 15 and was certified to be the EECOM (Electrical, Environmental, Communication) Life Support for Apollo 16, 17, all three Skylab missions and Apollo Soyuz. Working for the United Space Alliance (USA), he became the Director of Systems for STSOC with 125 EVA, Robotics, and Crew Systems contractor employees and subcontractors supporting Mission Operations. 

DATA Team: Isabel Ruth Bland (10) & Ava Sophia Evans (9)

Intern: Michael Menezes

Frank Hughes – Remote: His concern was the human element. When the flight director asked about the crew — ‘How do they sound? Do they understand?’ — he had to be able to respond. According to Frank, the Apollo 11 crew took preparations to a whole new level. They knew the world was watching and they had to be ready to go. Neil (Armstrong) was just kind of quiet, focused, withdrawn. Buzz (Aldrin) was more gregarious. Mike (Collins) was the lightest in terms of his personality. “None of us thought Apollo 11 would make it, I mean, just statistically, something had to go wrong. But those crews were so well-trained and eager to land on the Moon, to be the first ones, so they were ready to go.”  

Ray Lachney – Remote: Ray Lachney began his career in 1971, was trained and certified to support EECOM Electrical Power Systems backroom operations during Apollo 15,16 and 17. He also supported all three Skylab missions and the Apollo Soyuz Test Project. He retired from Mission Operations Directorate having spent all of his 36+ years in flight control.

Remote team: Joshua Lachney (14), Hannah Lachney (10), & Priscilla Lachney (7)

Intern: Jenna Jackson

Robert Nute – Isolation: He worked on the landing shift and was there for the landing.   He worked for the Flight Activities Office, a front room position, at the instant of touchdown.  On Apollo 11, he was responsible for determining the Lunar Module attitude so an IMU alignment could be performed prior to Lunar Module liftoff.  The alignment hardware was turned off during the lunar stay.  A proper alignment was required to rendezvous with the Command Module.

Isolation Team (operating robots): Bradley Nute (7) & Claire Nute (7), Leah Lachney (13)

Intern: Jamisen Coumbe

Tim White – Life Support: He supported Gemini and Apollo missions on the Space Environment Console as a radiation dose specialist. He joined the Lunar Missions Office as Science Experiment Manager in 1970 for the final Apollo missions.

Life Support Team: Kale White (13), Cooper White (10) & Mason White (10)

Intern: Conrad Schmitt

Spencer Gardner – Biology: He served as a Flight Activities Officer (FAO) on Apollo’s 8 through 16 and was the FAO on duty during the landing on July 20, 1969.

Patricia Reiff – Biology: She was in Mission Control in the ALSEP room for Apollos 15, 16 and 17.  When the ALSEP was shut down in 1978, she turned off the final Apollo instrument. She is still analyzing space plasma data, but from newer missions!

 Biology Team: Aiden Young (5), Zia Palermo (4) & Keeton Chestnut (14)

Interns: Katie Lazarine and Brienne Grimm

 Mary Yarbrough Dunseith — Geology: Secretary in the Apollo Program Office, by day and SPAN (Spacecraft Analysis Room), secretary by night during missions.  The SPAN Room was a back room operation that allowed immediate contact with key JSC engineering and industry representatives if needed to work anomalies that might arise during a mission.  My anomaly was putting President Nixon on hold in order to get him into the MCC to talk to Astronauts while they were on the moon.  I was a member of The Lunar Landing Court, hosted by Mayor L. Welch and Dr. C. Kraft. These were great days and fun times.”

 Geology Team: Riley Dunseith (17), Ayden Dunseith (10) & Kain Dunseith (10)

Intern: Harshindra Sanamvenkatagy

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