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[i]US Air Force Lt. Col. John "Shorty" Powers popularized the expression "A-ok" while NASA's public affairs officer for Project Mercury, attributing it to astronaut Alan Shepard during his Freedom 7 flight. In his book "The Right Stuff," however, author Tom Wolfe wrote that Powers had borrowed it from NASA engineers who used it during radio transmission tests because the sharper sound of A cut through the static better than O. Apparently, the first documented use "A-ok" is contained within a memo from Tecwyn Roberts, Flight Dynamics Officer, to Flight Director (entitled "Report on Test 3805", dated Feb 2, 1961) in penciled notes on the countdown of MR-2, dated Jan 31, 1961.[/i]
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