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Tecwyn Roberts at NASA’s Mission Control Center

The following comments were recorded (on 19th March 1998) within the NASA Oral History Project as part of an interview with Gene F Kranz: -

“We had a marvelous linkage between the Mercury and the Gemini Program; and the Control Center was - One of the English engineers - he was actually a Welshman - who came down from AVRO [A. V. Roe Aircraft Inc., Ontario], Canada, was Tec [Tecwyn] Roberts; and he was our first Flight Dynamics Officer. Tec Roberts was one of the few people who really understood the potential of the computer and its application at Mission Control. So at the midpoint of the Mercury Program, Tec Roberts was replaced by Glynn Lunney because the technology just in these few months had now allowed us to start remoting data from Bermuda, so we didn’t need a team out in that site anymore. So we could focus the talent that was in the Bermuda team, combine them with the talent that was in the team out in Mercury Control at the Cape, and then send Tec Roberts off to build the next Mission Control Center. Roberts basically had the responsibility to bring the system on line; and it was a marvelous thing.”
Gene Kranz is without any doubt one of the most inspirational leaders of the twentieth century, who was responsible for directing some of the key moments of human history. Kranz worked alongside Tecwyn Roberts at NASA from the early days of the Space Task Group and helped to create today’s NASA.

Kranz was the lynchpin of the mission control team that, in January 1961, launched a chimpanzee into space and successfully retrieved him and later made Alan Shepard the first American in space in May 1961. Just two months later they launched Gus Grissom for a space orbit, John Glenn orbited Earth three times in February 1962, and in May 1963 Gordon Cooper completed the final Project Mercury launch with 22 Earth orbits. And through them all, and the many Apollo missions that followed, Gene Kranz was one of the integral inside men, he was Flight Director that put Armstrong and Aldrin on the Moon. He was also the leader of the "tiger team" that saved the lives of the Apollo 13 astronauts.

Gene Kranz has written a marvellous book that tells the story of his life and work at NASA.  The book also includes references to Tecwyn Roberts’ involvement in the Project Mercury missions. Click here to purchase Failure Is Not An Option from Amazon (site not associated with Llanddaniel.co.uk)
Failure is not an option - Gene Kranz - NASA Gene Kranz - Flight Director NASA
“A OK”

“A OK” is a now a popular phrase of the English language; however its origins are believed to have started by Tecwyn’s regular use of the phrase within NASA communications during the early Mercury Project.

The first documented use of “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; penciled notes on the countdown of MR-2, dated Jan. 31, 1961.

Tecwyn Roberts as "the voice of Mercury Control," and its public use of "A.OK", made those three letters a universal symbol meaning "in perfect working order."
'Ham' the monkey - launched in Mercury Redstone 2 rocket on 21 January 1961 NASA Mercury Redstone 2 rocket - Launced on 21 January 1961
Gene Kranz - Flight Director NASA
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