flight director

So people know.

The NBC show “Timeless” - a time travel show with the twist that time is in no way protected and the characters can and do change history - did an episode called “Space Race.”

The episode blurb was “As the historic Apollo 11 mission unfolds, the team needs to summon courage as they reach out to an unsung hero to thwart Flynn’s scheme.

Flynn is the show’s antagonist, who keeps trying to change history while the heroes try to fix it (one of the fascinating things about this show is we don’t really know Flynn’s motivation, although it’s starting to be revealed now).

The unsung hero was, of course, Katherine Johnson. She was very ably played by Nadine Ellis.

And when they got back to the “present” (which is an unspecified time in the future), she was no longer a forgotten mathematician but “NASA’s first female flight director.”

Thank you NBC for highlighting this brilliant woman to people who wouldn’t care about “Hidden Figures” but were just watching an action-y drama.

I’m quite liking this show, it’s a little bit American-centric, but forgivably so. At the start they were dealing with America’s race problems in a corny and over-done manner, but it’s getting better. (They deal with race primarily through the lens of Rufus Carlin, who flies the time machine and is a qualified engineer - the guy who’s best in a fight is the white guy, which I always like to see).

You know what I want to know is how Zendaya gets these rich, older, powerful white men to fall in love with her? Zac Efron is the hottest dude in Hollywood, and he was spilling his guts in a magazine about how beautiful and enchanting she is and it’s going to take years to finish learning from her! She can snap her fingers and Tom Holland is on the first flight to NY! Her director of The Greatest Showman was holding on to her for dear life on the red carpet for Dear Evan Hansen. I want to know what she’s doing? All these other hollywood girls get riff raft, and Zendaya gets the cream of the crop!


PIPER’S ALTIMATIC VFD Automatic Flight Control System
Lock Haven, Pennsylvania

For your comfort and convenience, you owe it to yourself to check out Piper’s finest autopilot/flight director system, shown here slightly exaggerated in size for classroom instructional purposes.


Remembering  Flight To The Moon at Magic Kingdom

Flight To The Moon opened in Tomorrowland at Walt Disney World in December 24, 1971, a little behind the October 1,1971 opening day of Magic Kingdom. After a brief introduction in a holding area, guests would enter the preshow room: Mission Control. Here guests got an inside look into their upcoming flight and met the director of operations, Mr. Tom Morrow. Guests exited Mission Control to head to the launch pad and their flight vehicle. The layout of the flight vehicle was a circular space with rows of seats surrounding a recessed center of the room. On the walls were multiple viewing screens as well as one on the ceiling and floor. As the craft launched into space the entire room, including the seats, began to shake with audible force. A few moments later as the craft exited Earth’s atmosphere, the seats changed to simulate the change in gravity. Guests were treated to a flight over the moon’s surface which they saw from the bottom “window” of the craft. While there, they were directed to look at the sun. As the importance of the mass of burning gasses was discussed, the craft suddenly becomes the victim of a meteor shower in space. The craft began to shake as sirens blasted but luckily, everyone is unharmed. Unfortunately, to keep guests from any more danger, it was then time to go back home to Earth. After just under 4 years of operation (and the end of Americans’ fascination with manned missions to the moon), Flight to the Moon sent its last guests on the journey in Spring of 1975. Just a few months later, the attraction re-opened with a similar premise and ride experience as Mission to Mars.
Source: omniluxe.net/wyw/fttm.htm

45 years ago, Apollo 13 launched on April 11th, 1970

The phrase “Tough and Competent” was created by NASA Flight Director Gene Kranz and became the rallying cry of NASA and the Mission Control crew after the Apollo 1 disaster.

“Spaceflight will never tolerate carelessness, incapacity, and neglect. Somewhere, somehow, we screwed up. It could have been in design, build, or test. Whatever it was, we should have caught it. We were too gung ho about the schedule and we locked out all of the problems we saw each day in our work. Every element of the program was in trouble and so were we. The simulators were not working, Mission Control was behind in virtually every area, and the flight and test procedures changed daily. Nothing we did had any shelf life. Not one of us stood up and said, ‘Dammit, stop!’ I don’t know what Thompson’s committee will find as the cause, but I know what I find. We are the cause! We were not ready! We did not do our job. We were rolling the dice, hoping that things would come together by launch day, when in our hearts we knew it would take a miracle. We were pushing the schedule and betting that the Cape would slip before we did. From this day forward, Flight Control will be known by two words: ‘Tough’ and 'Competent.’ Tough means we are forever accountable for what we do or what we fail to do. We will never again compromise our responsibilities. Every time we walk into Mission Control we will know what we stand for. Competent means we will never take anything for granted. We will never be found short in our knowledge and in our skills. Mission Control will be perfect. When you leave this meeting today you will go to your office and the first thing you will do there is to write 'Tough and Competent’ on your blackboards. It will never be erased. Each day when you enter the room these words will remind you of the price paid by Grissom, White, and Chaffee. These words are the price of admission to the ranks of Mission Control.” - The Kranz Dictum

Gene Kranz served as Flight Director for a number of NASA milestones, including Apollo 11, the “successful failure” of Apollo 13, and the repair of the Hubble Space Telescope in 1994. Please be sure to checkout another great video from our friend Mike Dawson and his Assignment Universe project.

Watch “Gene Kranz - Mission Control: Tough & Competent” here:

America Lands Mars Curiosity, Meets Bobak Ferdowsi

Mohawk + NASA + Twitter = Swoon

Bobak Ferdowsi works for NASA and is a flight director on the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity mission. Few people — fewer than 200 on Twitter — knew him before Sunday night. He cuts his hair differently for each mission, though, and tonight he became known. With a mohawk featuring maroon highlights and shaved stars on the side, Ferdowsi came only second in attention paid to the Mars Curiosity rover landing itself. He went from 200 followers to more than 8,000 10,000 during and after NASA’s livestream of the landing, which was shown live on several cable news networks as well.

via: Chris Geidner and Buzzfeed

The Informal Project Freelancer Code of Conduct:

  • Do not piss off FILSS. She is the ship. You’re living in her. Just don’t.
  • Do not piss off the pilot. Especially if you have a history of getting ill during flights. 
  • The Director is already pissed off at you. He is presumably pissed off at all sapient life. Speak to him with this in mind.
  • Agent Florida is never pissed off at you. He wasn’t even pissed at the two freelancers who gave him the most shit. In fact, he was nice enough to suggest that Agent Georgia be allowed to test the jetpack for space traversal. He even proposed Utah as the candidate for the bubble shield prototype.
  • Do not piss off Agent Florida.

View Bio on Official Site

RAY STEVENSON [Marcus Eaton] portrayed the legionary Titus Pullo to both critical and public acclaim for his starring role in the HBO/BBC television series Rome. In 2015 Stevenson can be seen in a number of new releases. Stevenson is reprising his role of Marcus Eaton in The Divergent Series: Insurgent, the follow up to the 2014 blockbuster Divergent. He will also be seen in Big Game, opposite Samuel L. Jackson; and stars in Luc Besson’s reboot of his Transporter franchise The Transporter Legacy.

Stevenson appeared as Porthos, opposite Christoph Waltz, Logan Lerman, and Orlando Bloom in Paul W. S. Anderson’s The Three Musketeers. He starred as Volstagg opposite Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman in Marvel’s blockbuster hit Thor. Stevenson was reunited with the director Kenneth Branagh, who acted opposite him in Theory of Flight for director Paul Greengrass. Additionally, Stevenson also starred in Jonathon Hensleigh’s Kill the Irishman, playing the title character in a true crime story of notorious mobster Danny Greene, with Christopher Walken, Vincent D'Onofrio and Val Kilmer. Hensleigh and Jeremy Walters wrote the screenplay based on the nonfiction book To Kill the Irishman: The War That Crippled the Mafia by Rick Porello.

He was seen in the post-apocalyptic Warner Bros. feature Book of Eli opposite Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman for directors Albert and Allen Hughes; and was featured in the fantasy thriller Cirque De Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant. In 2008, he was seen as the lead in Punisher: War Zone, about the Marvel comic’s anti-hero, Frank Castle, and his quest to rid the world of evil after the death of his wife and daughter.

Prior film work includes the role of Dragonet in Antoine Fuqua’s King Arthur, for producer Jerry Bruckheimer; the cult favorite Outpost, for director Steven Barker; The Return of The Native, opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones; and Some Kind of Life, opposite Jane Horrocks. Stevenson was seen in Billy Bob Thornton’s dramatic comedy Jayne Mansfield’s Car, starring opposite John Patrick Amedori, Robert Duvall, John Hurt, Kevin Bacon, and Robert Patrick; and as the villain Firefly in G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation opposite Channing Tatum and Dwayne Johnson. He was Issak Sirko on the hit Showtime series Dexter. Stevenson also appeared as Miles Lennon in television’s Crossing Lines.

His stage work includes playing Christ in the York Mystery Plays in 2000 at York Minster. In 2001, he played Roger in Mouth to Mouth by Kevin Elyot at the Albery Theatre in London, with Lindsay Duncan and Michael Maloney; and in 2003, appeared as Cardinal in The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster at the Royal National Theatre, with Janet McTeer.

Born in Northern Ireland, Stevenson grew up in England. He studied acting at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

The NASA Village

Today in the NASA Village… The Lady in Charge.

Ginger Kerrick is currently the Flight Operations Directorate Assistant Director for the International Space Station. She was a Flight Director in Mission Control, before that the first non-astronaut CAPCOM, and before that a trainer for astronauts.  I feel lucky to have worked with her/seen her in action in each of these roles.  With a resume like that it is easy to see why her story might be one of the most inspiring in the NASA Village.

Ginger has an incredible story of overcoming obstacles, making not only the most of what she is handed, but oh, so much more.  In spite of great personal and professional losses, her sheer talent, determination, and dedication have made her an exceptional star in the NASA Village.  I am personally inspired by her strength and leadership.

As a leader in various roles, Ginger recommends that aspiring leaders keep some of the following points in mind…..

1.         Failure actually is an option, and frankly, inevitable - It’s how a leader responds to failure that determines whether people will continue to follow

2.         Set Your Goals and Map Out a Plan - Be Open to Changing the Plan

3.         Be Resilient in the Face of Adversity

4.         Stand Up for Yourself

5.         Trust Your Instincts

6.         Challenge the Perceived Standards

7.         Strive for Excellence

8.         Give Back and Make a Difference

9.         Most importantly, smile and have fun - no one wants to follow a leader that doesn’t enjoy leading

I have also had the honor of serving as a leader. I was the first female Commander of the International Space Station during Expedition 16, and the first female/non-military Chief of the Astronaut Office. I have had numerous other leadership roles including Co-Chair of Mission Science Working Group for Shuttle Mir Program and I chaired the Astronaut Selection board once.  I think one of the most valuable assets of a leader is to individually empower the team members and strengthen the direction of the team goals.  In the end, it is critical for the team, as a whole, to succeed.  People talk teamwork all the time, but believing in it and actively participating in making it happen around you (whether you are leader or follower) is key.

Below you can see me “leading” my Expedition 16 crew.

Did you know that in the Directorate where Ginger and I work, there are ~2000 people that are part of the Flight Operations team, but only ~45 of those are currently active astronauts?  It really is about the team…all those people who contribute directly to making space flight and exploration possible…and they are not the only ones, there are so many more!

Ginger reminds us, “Life is filled with ups and downs. Learn from the downs but keep your focus on the ups and that’s the direction you will continue to go.”

Next time on the NASA Village… Camping in Space.

Do you want more stories?  Find our NASA Villagers here!