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  Norm Carlson, Apollo 11 test conductor (1934-2015)

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Author Topic:   Norm Carlson, Apollo 11 test conductor (1934-2015)
ilbasso
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posted 03-01-2015 09:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Norm Carlson passed away the morning of March 1, 2015, in Titusville, Florida.

Carlson was hired by NASA at the Marshall Space Flight Center in 1960. He worked for six months as a design engineer, and then went to the Booster Test Section in the MSFC Test Lab, working as a test conductor for static firings. He transferred to the Launch Vehicle Test Directors Office at Kennedy Space Center in 1964.

At KSC, his first launches were the Saturn I Block II Pegasus missions from LC-37B. He moved over to LC-34 and worked as launch vehicle test conductor for the first Saturn IB flights.

Carlson is credited by his peers with inventing the concept of the "built-in hold" in launch countdowns, a block of time without any scheduled activities which allows the launch team time to correct any issues that arose during the countdown and still have T-0 coincide with the opening of the launch window for a mission.

At LC-39, Carlson was the launch vehicle test conductor for many of the Saturn V missions, including AS-501 (Apollo 4) and Apollo 11.

Following Apollo, Carlson went to Edwards Air Force Base for the Space Shuttle Approach and Landing Tests (ALT). He then came back to KSC and served as Test Director for much of the first half of the Space Shuttle program. He started the tradition of serving "launch beans" and cornbread in the Firing Room after every successful launch.

Carlson and his legacy were most recently celebrated at the U.S. Space Walk of Fame Museum on Sept. 8, 2014.

He was a dear friend of mine and was instrumental in helping me put together my upcoming book on the Apollo 11 processing flow at Kennedy Space Center. He was very excited about the project and proud to know that the men and women at KSC in the Apollo era will be getting some exposure soon.

I will miss him terribly.

David C
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posted 03-01-2015 09:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-01-2015 09:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very sorry to learn of his passing. I never had the chance to meet Carlson, but knew of him through his role in history.
quote:
Originally posted by ilbasso:
He started the tradition of serving "launch beans" and cornbread in the Firing Room after every successful launch.
Here is Carlson, following the successful launch of STS-26 in 1988:

randy
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SpaceAholic
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Lunar rock nut
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lspooz
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posted 03-01-2015 10:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for lspooz   Click Here to Email lspooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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Thanks Jonathan (and Robert) for the stories and photos - it's great that he was celebrated in timely fashion, and that he got to help with 'This is Apollo-Saturn Launch Control."

Kite
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