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Author Topic:   NASA flight director colors, team names
RocketmanRob
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posted 11-19-2007 09:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RocketmanRob   Click Here to Email RocketmanRob     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Could anyone help me with the colors of these flight director teams?
  • Gene Kranz
  • Chris Kraft
  • Glynn Lunney
  • Gerry Griffin
  • Cliff Charlesworth
  • M.P. "Pete" Frank
  • Neil Hutchinson
  • Charles Lewis
  • Donald Puddy
  • Philip Shaffer

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-19-2007 09:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sure:
  • Gene Kranz - White
  • Chris Kraft - Red
  • Glynn Lunney - Black
  • Gerry Griffin - Gold
  • Cliff Charlesworth - Green
  • M.P. "Pete" Frank - Orange
  • Neil Hutchinson - Silver
  • Charles Lewis - Bronze
  • Donald Puddy - Crimson
  • Philip Shaffer - Purple

mjanovec
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posted 11-19-2007 11:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And John Hodge was the Blue Team leader.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-20-2007 12:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There was also Milt Windler, Maroon Flight.

mjanovec
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posted 11-21-2007 03:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Do current flight directors have any sorts of colors or designations to represent themselves or their teams? Or is that a thing of the past?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-21-2007 03:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The following is a few years old, so the more recently added flight directors aren't represented.

Space Shuttle

  • Crystal - Harold Draughon
  • Ivory - Tommy Holloway
  • Granite - John Cox
  • Gray - Gary Coen
  • Indigo - Larry Bourgeois
  • Amber - Randy Stone
  • Emerald - Jay Greene
  • Orion - Cleon Lacefield
  • Aquila - Lee Briscoe
  • Sirius - Milt Heflin
  • Polaris - Al Pennington
  • Alpha - Bill Reeves
  • Altair - Chuck Shaw
  • Rigel - Chuck Knarr
  • Phoenix - Ron Dittemore
  • Turquoise - Wayne Hale
  • Falcon - Rob Kelso
  • Antares - Bob Castle
  • Aurora - Jeff Bantle
  • Regulus - Phil Engelauf
  • Burgundy - Rich Jackson
  • Corona - Linda Ham
  • Iron - Paul Dye
  • Perseus - Bryan Austin
  • Midnight - John Shannon
  • Atlas - Paul Hill
  • Kitty Hawk - John Muratore
  • Argon - Andy Algate
  • Chromium - LeRoy Cain
  • Sapphire - Kelly Beck
  • Topaz - Catherine Koerner
  • Intrepid - Tony Ceccacci
  • Garnet - Steve Stich
International Space Station
  • Cassini - Sally Davis
  • Cardinal - Mark Kirasich
  • Ares - Jeff Hanley
  • Azure - Mark Ferring
  • Arcturus - John Curry
  • Pegasus - Rick LaBrode
  • Flash - Joel Montalbano
  • Eagle - John McCullough
  • Amethyst - Norman Knight
  • Fuchsia - Annette Hasbrook
  • Titanium - Derek Hassmann
  • Onyx - Bryan Lunney
  • Aquarius - Matt Abbott

jotulloch
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posted 05-04-2011 03:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jotulloch     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Royce Renfrew (Tungsten Flight) has posted a list of NASA Flight Directors, their "Color" designation and when they were appointed a Flight director.
  1. Red Flight - Christopher C. Kraft, 1960
  2. Blue Flight - John Hodge, 1963
  3. White Flight - Eugene F. Kranz, 1963
  4. Black Flight - Glynn S. Lunney, 1963
  5. Green Flight - Clifford E. Charlesworth, 1966
  6. Gold Flight - Gerald D. Griffin, 1968
  7. Maroon Flight - Milton L. Windler, 1968
  8. Orange Flight - M. P. (Pete) Frank, 1968
  9. Purple Flight - Phillip C. Shaffer, 1971
  10. Crimson Flight - Donald R. Puddy, 1971
  11. Silver Flight - Neil B. Hutchinson, 1971
  12. Bronze Flight - Charles R. Lewis, 1971
  13. Ivory Flight - Tommy W. Holloway, 1979
  14. Crystal Flight - Harold M. Draughon, 1979
  15. Gray Flight - Gary E. Coen, 1981
  16. Granite Flight - John T. Cox, 1981
  17. Emerald Flight - Jay H. Greene, 1981
  18. Amber Flight - Brock (Randy) Stone, 1981
  19. Indigo Flight - Lawrence S. Bourgeois, 1981
  20. Aquila Flight - A. (Lee) Briscoe, 1983
  21. Orion Flight - T. Cleon Lacefield, 1983
  22. Polaris Flight - Granvil A. Pennington, 1983
  23. Alpha Flight - William D. Reeves, 1983
  24. Altair Flight - Charles W. Shaw, 1983
  25. Sirius Flight - J. Milton Heflin, Jr., 1983
  26. Rigel Flight - Charles R. Knarr, 1983
  27. Phoenix Flight - Ronald D. Dittemore, 1985
  28. Turquoise Flight - N. Wayne Hale, Jr., 1988
  29. Antares Flight - Robert E. Castle, Jr., 1988
  30. Falcon Flight - Robert M. Kelso, 1988
  31. Regulus Flight - Philip L. Engelauf, 1989
  32. Aurora Flight - Jeffrey W. Bantle, 1989
  33. Corona Flight - Linda J. (Hautzinger) Ham, 1991
  34. Burgundy Flight - Richard D. Jackson, Jr., 1991
  35. Kitty Hawk Flight - John F. Muratore, 1992
  36. Iron Flight - Paul F. Dye, 1993
  37. Perseus Flight - Bryan P. Austin, 1993
  38. Midnight Flight - John P. Shannon, 1993
  39. Argon Flight - Andrew F. Algate, 1994
  40. Atlas Flight - Paul S. Hill, 1996
  41. Ares Flight - Jeffrey M. Hanley, 1996
  42. Cardinal Flight - Marchk A. Kirasich, 1996
  43. Cassini Flight - Sally P. Davis, 1996
  44. Azure Flight - Marchk J. Ferring, 1996
  45. Arcturus Flight - John M. Curry, 1998
  46. Pegasus Flight - Richard E. La Brode, Jr., 1998
  47. Chromium Flight - Leroy E. Cain, 1998
  48. Sapphire Flight - Kelly B. Beck, 1998
  49. Flash Flight - Joel R. Montalbano, 2000
  50. Eagle Flight - John A. McCullough, 2000
  51. Amethyst Flight - Norman D. Knight, 2000
  52. Fuchsia Flight - Annette P. Hasbrook, 2000
  53. Titanium Flight - J. Derek Hassmann, 2000
  54. Onyx Flight - Bryan C. Lunney, 2000
  55. Aquarius Flight - Matthew R. Abbott, 2000
  56. Topaz Flight - Catherine A. Koerner, 2000
  57. Intrepid Flight - Anthony J. Ceccacci, 2000
  58. Garnet Flight - Steven J. Stich, 2000
  59. Defiant Flight - Kwatsi Alibaruho, 2005
  60. Vega Flight - Ginger Kerrick, 2005
  61. Galileo Flight - Robert Dempsey, 2005
  62. Viking Flight - Holly Ridings, 2005
  63. Mercury Flight - Dana Weigel, 2005
  64. Liberty Flight - Brian Smith, 2005
  65. Sigma Flight - Richard Jones, 2005
  66. Kodiak Flight - Michael Sarafin, 2005
  67. Apex Flight - Michael Moses, 2005
  68. Sequoia Flight - Heather Rarick, 2006
  69. Gemini Flight - Ron Spencer, 2006
  70. Peridot Flight - Emily J. Nelson, 2007
  71. Tranquility Flight - Courtenay McMillan, 2007
  72. Odyssey Flight - David Korth, 2007
  73. Venture Flight - J. Chris Edelen, 2007
  74. Tungsten Flight - Royce J. Renfrew, 2008
  75. Raptor Flight - Jerry P. Jason, 2008
  76. Viper Flight - Gary C. Horlacher, 2008
  77. Saturn Flight - Michael L. Lammers, 2008
  78. Carbon Flight - Edward A. Van Cise, 2009
  79. Keystone Flight - Scott Stover, 2009
  80. Steel Flight - Dina Contella, 2009

Mike_The_First
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posted 10-08-2014 06:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike_The_First   Click Here to Email Mike_The_First     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How were the colors chosen?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-08-2014 06:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The flight directors choose the colors (or gemstones or other names) themselves. It began with Kraft, Hodge and Kranz choosing Red, Blue and White. Here is Ed Van Cise's (Carbon Flight) explanation:
Since the advent of human spaceflight in the United States, for as long as there have been Flight Directors, each Flight Director had a team color or name. This not only identified a particular Flight Director but gave a specific shift of flight controllers a single identity for a given mission. For example, those working with Chris Kraft would be the Red Team, for he is Red Flight. Gene Kranz' team was the White Team, and so on.

The tradition of Flight Directors picking their own team color, name, or call sign has continued to carry on to this day. A Flight Director's team name stays with that Flight Director forever. It retires when that Flight Director leaves the Office and is never reused.

Mike_The_First
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posted 10-08-2014 06:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike_The_First   Click Here to Email Mike_The_First     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting. I never knew that.

I wasn't even familiar with the whole "color" thing until I interviewed Gene Kranz for my school newspaper my freshman year of high school and I asked him (rather untactfully, but he laughed and answered in detail) "What's the deal with the vests?"

Even then I didn't realize the full extent until a few years later, when I was researching for a magazine article that I wanted to write about the impact of Flight Directors and what each one individually brought to the table, and my PR contact at NASA sent me their email addresses and I saw just how many included their color.

I'm not sure if these were their personal emails or emails they created solely for NASA purposes, but it wasn't until then that I realized that colors for Flight teams meant as much to them as mission numbers meant to the astronauts — a sense of pride and community.

RobertB
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posted 10-10-2014 06:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for RobertB   Click Here to Email RobertB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Glynn Lunney chose "Black" and his son Bryan chose "Onyx".

Nice!

Michael Cassutt
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posted 12-09-2014 09:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Regarding team names for the flight director class of October 2011, I've run across "Discovery" for Whitney and "Daedalus" for Freiling. We still need Gonzalez-Torres.

Michael Cassutt
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posted 12-11-2014 12:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Gonzalez-Torres is "Lightning".

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-05-2015 10:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On Jan. 2, 2015, Zebulon Scoville conducted his first shift on console as a certified NASA Flight Director. Here he announces his team's name.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-30-2016 08:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Flight Director Ed Van Cise (Carbon Flight) on Twitter:
Congratulations to NASA's 87th certified Flight Director, Mary [Lawrence] - "Infinity Flight"!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-26-2016 05:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As noted in his dedicated thread, TJ Creamer chose "Saber Flight" as his call sign.

And noted today by Royce Renfrew (Tungsten Flight) on Twitter:

Congratulations Vincent LaCourt, Flight Director #89 - Destiny Flight!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-07-2016 12:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Flight Director Ed Van Cise (Carbon Flight) on Twitter:
Flight Director 90, Rick Henfling, is Redstone Flight.

Mike_The_First
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posted 10-17-2016 11:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike_The_First   Click Here to Email Mike_The_First     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How does the team color thing work for flight controllers?

For example, Gene Kranz is, was, and always will be "White Flight" — "White" being the team color and "Flight" being the job.

But what about, let's say, Sy Liebergot?

Is he "White [or Gold] EECOM" or do the colors not apply to controllers? Also, if the colors do apply, were team assignments permanent or did they vary by mission?

To cut a long question short and use the example of Sy, which of these is the most accurate to describe his role during Apollo 13 (and possibly beyond):

  • "White [or Gold] EECOM"
  • "Apollo 13 EECOM"
  • "Apollo 13 White [or Gold] EECOM"
...or something I missed?

Edited to add:

And to what end does this apply to CAPCOMs? Is Jack Lousma technically the Apollo 13 White CAPCOM or did CAPCOMs not observe the same shifts as the other flight controllers?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-28-2016 05:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Flight Director Royce Renfrew (Tungsten Flight) on Twitter:
Congratulations Anthony Vareha! 91st Flight Director; Enterprise Flight!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-28-2016 05:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mike_The_First:
How does the team color thing work for flight controllers?
During Apollo, flight director teams, identified by colors, worked together during training and then staffed shifts together in the control room.

For example, during Apollo 7, shift 1 was led Gene Kranz with the White Team, shift 2 was led by Glynn Lunney with the Black Team, and shift 3 was led by Gerry Griffin with the Gold Team.

Each shift/team included a lead for each console, such that there were White, Black and Gold EECOMs, FIDOs and per my understanding, CapComs, too.

During shuttle, the colors referred only to the flight director. Flight controllers worked different shifts as needed. I believe the same is still in place for space station.

petehobo
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posted 07-14-2017 08:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for petehobo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Since there doesn't seem to be mention of it here (or on the Facebook list) — in "Failure Is Not An Option" (the book, not the documentary), Gene Kranz also mentions three honorary flight directors: Lois Ransdell, Bill Tindall, and John O'Neill. He says Ransdell chose the colour pink, and later mentions Tindall chose gray, but doesn't mention O'Neill's choice.

Does anyone know what it is? Or have more detail about the honorary flight directors?

LM-12
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posted 07-25-2017 07:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Honorary Flight Directors:
  1. Howard Tindall - Grey Flight
  2. Lois Ransdell - Pink Flight
  3. Alene Ganzer - Diamond Flight
  4. John O'Neill - Scarlet Flight
  5. Robert Legler - History Flight

Mike_The_First
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posted 09-03-2017 06:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike_The_First   Click Here to Email Mike_The_First     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
It began with Kraft, Hodge and Kranz choosing Red, Blue and White.
I just double checked Hodge's oral history:
So we ended up with Chris had taken the red, I arbitrarily took blue, Gene took white because of the flag bit, and out of perversity Glynn took black.
And then, in response to the follow up:
The idea was that we needed to set up teams and we had to call them something, and the sort of Red Team concept was fairly normal in programs. The military used them all the time. So I picked blue.
So the only one who consciously did the red, white, blue thing was Gene — overall, it was more or less a happy accident.

That's something I was kind of surprised to learn, but it explains why two and three weren't switched. Although I noticed something a bit peculiar in the way he phrased another element of the discussion:

We brought in Glynn as a flight director to run Gemini IV, when we first started the thing, and Gene came in as the third flight director in the Control Center.
The way that's worded, it makes it sound like Lunney was brought in to be no. 3 and Kranz was more of an afterthought, which would kill the Red, White, Blue thing, since "Black" breaks up the pattern.

That said, Hodge's recollection seems to present its own set of challenges, since Gemini 4 only had three shifts, and, by many sources, Kranz had the second one with Hodge having the third.

Lunney, per his Oral History, worked Gemini 4 from the Cape, in case there were any issues — similar to what he says he did for Gemini 3, only with the locations reversed. So Gemini 4 doesn't seem to have the significance to his career that Hodge painted it as.

Was Lunney originally supposed to have Kranz's role? As noted above, he and Kranz did get the job around the same time, so it would seem to me that intent is more or less an important factor. By that, I mean that if Lunney got the job with the idea that they'd use him for Gemini 4, while Kranz got it with the idea that they'd use him when they needed him, then, regardless of how it came out, that would (in my eyes) give Lunney an edge for the no. 3 spot.

Of course, if we're counting by when they first took the flight director console, rather than by when they got the title, Kranz is a clear no. 3. So, with that, I'm not even 100% what order we're using when we number them. For the most part, that doesn't seem like a distinction that would be need to be made, except in rare cases like this.

And, yes, I'm aware that this is hair splitting to the level of the "who really was the last man on the moon" debate (although not as pedantic, since that one essentially boils down to a discussion of what "on" means), since Kranz was the third flight director to take that console and assume those duties, but I'm curious about the history of this and what those flight director number lists are based on.

John Charles
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posted 08-16-2018 10:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for John Charles     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For added clarity, note that the first flight director colors were red and blue because those were the color designations of military "teams" during war games used for peace-time training: the Red Army and the Blue Army. (I learned that from reading old "Sad Sack" comic books.)

It makes sense that white came along third, and (as night follows the day) black was the fourth choice.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-21-2019 10:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Allison Bolinger is NASA's 95th Flight Director. From Johnson Space Center:
Congrats to NASA Flight Director Allison Bolinger for recently completing her first solo shift! Bolinger has previously supported NASA as a spacewalk flight controller, deputy chief of the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory and now as a Flight Director. Her call sign is Athena Flight.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-16-2019 03:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Johnson Space Center on Facebook:
Family, friends, flight controllers and fellow flight directors gathered to congratulate NASA Flight Directors Marcos Flores on completing his first solo shift! Flores' journey began as an intern, and he was hired as a systems engineer before becoming a flight controller and now, flight director. His call sign is Argo Flight.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-12-2020 12:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tungsten Flight, Royce Renfrew, has served his final shift as an International Space Station flight director. He is moving over to the Artemis program to work on missions to the moon. From Johnson Space Center on Facebook:
Last Friday (Sept. 4), NASA Flight Director Royce Renfrew completed his final shift — 720 in all — as an International Space Station Flight Director. Employees in Mission Control celebrated by wearing red as others shared well wishes from their cars in a parade. Congratulations, Royce!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-12-2020 01:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Continuing the list earlier posted:
  1. Daedalus Flight - Judd Frieling, 2011
  2. Lightning Flight - Tomas Gonzalez Torres, 2011
  3. Discovery Flight - Greg Whitney, 2011
  4. Resolute Flight - Jeff Radigan, 2014
  5. Prometheus Flight - Amit Kshatriya, 2014
  6. Explorer Flight - Zeb Scoville, 2014
  7. Infinity Flight - Mary Lawrence, 2015
  8. Saber Flight - T.J. Creamer, 2015
  9. Destiny Flight - Vincent Lacourt, 2015
  10. Redstone Flight - Rick Henfling, 2015
  11. Enterprise Flight - Anthony Vareha, 2015
  12. Cerulean Flight - Rebecca Wingfield, 2018
  13. Zenith Flight - Adi Boulos, 2018
  14. Unity Flight - Pooja Jesrani, 2018
  15. Athena Flight - Allison Bolinger, 2018
  16. Argo Flight - Marcos Flores, 2018
  17. Excelsior Flight - Paul Konyha, 2018

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-13-2021 02:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Royce Renfrew (Tungsten Flight) via Twitter:
Congratulations Brandon Lloyd, Adagio Flight, #98! First shift on console as a certified Flight Director.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-10-2022 04:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Diane Dailey became NASA's 99th flight director the week of Nov. 6, 2021. From the flight directors' account on Twitter:
Diane Dailey worked her first shift on console and announced her callsign - Horizon Flight. Congratulations on being the 99th NASA Flight Director, Horizon!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-10-2022 04:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Wayne Hale, Turquoise Flight (via Twitter):
Congratulations to Fiona Turett, Mosaic Flight - the 100th NASA Flight Director! Keep the ISS flying for a long time to come!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-17-2022 10:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Wayne Hale, Turquoise Flight (via Twitter):
Congratulations to Lion Flight, Chloe Mehring, NASA's 101st Flight Director!

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