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Author Topic:   Trench of Mission Control (Trench Team)

Posts: 3161
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 04-20-2011 01:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From The Trench of Mission Control to the Craters of The Moon: Stories from the Men of Mission Control's Flight Dynamics Group, "The Trench"

Former NASA Flight Director Glynn Lunney just shared the following information with me, and feel free to share the following description he wrote. I have not seen the book yet, but just ordered it, as it sounds like a fascinating one. Our museum plans to blog about it and I’ll post it in a few other social media spots. I encourage you to spread the word too, as otherwise these small-print-run books tend to slip under the radar of those who would love to read them. The link below allows you to preview book pages.

In the early 60's, I was chief of a small branch which was the home of the trajectory and guidance flight controllers in NASA's Mission Control. Their tasks were so woven together that they adopted a team designation for the 3 consoles in the first row of MCC and called themselves 'the Trench'. A group of seven of us has written our stories for our families and descendants to come to describe where we came from, how we got to NASA and some of what we did there. We were a very small group in the huge enterprise of Apollo and we still feel like a 'band of brothers' who enjoyed a truly grand adventure. The stories are compiled in one book, now in print at an online printing firm. The stories are probably typical for the thousands of young Americans who came to do Apollo. These young men and their 'brothers' did a fabulous job and this is an opportunity to know at least some of them.


Posts: 1031
From: New Jersey, USA
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 04-20-2011 05:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fezman92   Click Here to Email Fezman92     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There are two editions. One "by the trench" and one "by the trench team." Are they the same thing?


Posts: 3161
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 04-20-2011 06:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Looking at the pages, the difference appears to be only that one is the hardcover edition and one the softcover.


Posts: 143
From: Cumbria, UK
Registered: May 2006

posted 05-03-2011 11:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spoon   Click Here to Email Spoon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is a marvelous book with extensive contributions and memoirs from Glynn Lunney, Jerry Bostick and Charles Deiterich among others. As well as covering their own experiences they remember colleagues who have passed away, such as Cliff Charlesworth and Carl Huss.

I do have a particular interest in the Flight Control aspect of spaceflight and if it wasn't for this forum (and Francis) I probably would have missed this, so thank you. I do not believe there is anybody here who would not value, and treasure, this publication.


Posts: 2169
From: McKinney TX (USA)
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 10-10-2011 12:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I finally got around to reading "From the Trench of Mission Control to the Craters of the Moon." I give it two "thumbs up."

When reading, you have to keep in mind that it really is a single binding of multiple memoirs of Trench members. There was (I think) little to no effort to make the stories flow from one to the next, which was perfectly okay with me.

There were a number of new things that I had not read elsewhere, including a fairly detailed description of the behind-the-scenes efforts to figure out where the Apollo 11 LM was on the moon (kind of important since an error in that location would mean incorrect timing of liftoff and an overly-complicated lunar orbit rendezvous). Fascinating stuff.

I enjoyed hearing the personal stories of these men as well — they obviously take great pride in their part of the Apollo program, as they should. I highly recommend it to those whose interest in the space program goes beyond the stories of the astronauts.


Posts: 1966
From: Atlanta, GA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 11-23-2011 08:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I read this recently and capotec's overview above reflects my thoughts on the book very well.

However one thing has been overlooked — every single person in this book talks positively about the quality of the NASA management they worked for. They say they learned things from these people that helped them their entire careers, not just in their NASA responsibilities.

As there have been several recent books critical of NASA management it's interesting to read how highly they were thought of 40+ years ago.


Posts: 1634
From: Smithfield, Me, USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 12-20-2012 08:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is a fun book; documents what all these guys did in Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, and some shuttle. It was also special to get it signed by Jerry Bostick and Glynn Lunney at the November Astronaut Scholarship Foundation show!

On page 390, Dave Reed writes about John Llewellyn, and states that John's story was to be folded into this "Trench" book, but because John was in his last months that they produced John's book as a "standalone" (which elated John). Is there a John Llewellyn book?


Posts: 831
From: Northampton UK
Registered: Nov 2009

posted 12-20-2012 10:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kite     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes there is a John Llewellyn book based on his exact transcriptions of oral recordings of his history and times. It is only a very thin edition of twenty eight written pages but really gives you an insight of this amazing character and in particular his heroic deeds in the Korean war and his time in Mission Control. The title is "From The Trenches of Korea to the Trench in Mission Control." Only published in June 2012.


Posts: 831
From: Northampton UK
Registered: Nov 2009

posted 12-20-2012 11:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kite     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Further to my above post another book to get information of John Llewellyn's time in Mission Control is "Oral Histories of NASA Flight Dynamics Controllers," which is a compendium to "From the Trench of Mission Control to the Craters of the Moon."


Posts: 642
From: Cinci, OH
Registered: Mar 2006

posted 12-20-2012 12:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If you're interested in more on John Llewellyn, you cand check out his 5 interviews (4 by me) he did with the JSC Oral History Project a decade or so ago. There's a lot of overlap between the two, but you can read these for free.


Posts: 649
From: UK
Registered: Mar 2012

posted 10-20-2013 02:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Buel   Click Here to Email Buel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I notice on Amazon that this book has 'Volume 3' in the title. I take it that there is more than one volume then?


Posts: 6210
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 10-20-2013 09:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It looks more like a third expanded edition. There were two editions (softcover and hardcover). The original publishing website (Blurb) doesn't mention a third edition though.


Posts: 218
From: Durham, NC, USA
Registered: Jun 2011

posted 10-20-2013 10:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jiffyq58   Click Here to Email jiffyq58     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The third edition has new chapters by Steve Bales and William Gravett. It's a puzzle as to why the book's publishing site doesn't list the third edition.

The third edition was available when I bought my hardback copy, but since I didn't know about it, I got a second edition. I have since acquired a third edition paperback copy.

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 42981
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-10-2019 01:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Air Force Museum Foundation release
Author and NASA Flight Dynamics Officer for Apollo Program to Sign Books at Air Force Museum

David Reed, co-author of the book "From the Trench of Mission Control to the Craters of the Moon" and former Flight Dynamics Officer for the NASA Apollo program will be signing copies of the book on Friday, Sept. 13, 2019 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Air Force Museum Store.

The subject of the book is "The early years of America's human space program. Stories from the men of NASA's Mission Control Flight Dynamics group: The Trench." Copies of the book will be available for $20/copy. The Air Force Museum Store is located inside the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

After graduating from the University of Wyoming in 1964, Mr. Reed began his career with the Government at the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, Texas. There he was a mission controller in the Apollo Space Program. He was instrumental in the development of the pinpoint landing techniques that were used during lunar landings.

He is a joint recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his efforts in the safe return of the crippled Apollo 13 spacecraft. In appreciation of his contributions to the Manned Space Flight Program, the Apollo 14 astronauts named a crater on the moon after him.

His activities in the Space Program have been depicted in various movies and are recorded in numerous books. He is depicted in the movie "Apollo 13" and he is one of Mission Controllers highlighted in the film "Apollo 11: First Steps Edition" currently showing daily at the Air Force Museum Theatre. Others include: "Apollo to the Moon", "Moon Rocks", "13 The Flight That Failed", all by S. F Cooper; "APOLLO The Race To The Moon" by Charles Murray; "A Man on The Moon" by Andrew Chaikan; "From the TRENCH of Mission Control to the Craters of the Moon"; "Apollo 13" by James Lovell and "Go Flight" by Rick Houston.

After a rewarding career in the Space Program, he joined the U. S. Department of Transportation and developed a world-wide satellite based communication and tracking system. In 1989, in cooperation with the USAF, the first around the world flight tracking using commercial satellite assets was demonstrated by the U.S. Air Force test aircraft known as "Speckled Trout" (see Aviation Week, December 14, 1989).

Derivatives of this system were then used on behalf of the United Nations, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Army and the Air Force in locations around the world from the Antarctic to Iraq.

Mr. Reed retired in 2000.

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