NASA remembers the legendary flight director Glynn Lunney

WASHINGTON, March 19, 2021 / PRNewswire / – Legendary Director of NASA Aircraft Glynn Lunney, 84, died Friday, March 19th.

Lunney was the flight director for the Apollo 11 Moon landing mission, and was the chief flight director for Apollo 7, the first Apollo-manned flight, and Apollo 10, the uniform forecast for the first moon on land, at NASA ‘s Mission Control Center in Houston. He led the mission control team credited with key tasks that made it possible to rescue three Apollo 13 astronauts aboard a disabled spacecraft en route to the Moon.

Throughout his career, he was chief director of NASA’s human spaceflight activity, beginning as a member of NASA’s original Space Action Group at the Langley Research Center which was established shortly after NASA was set up to America to send people into space. After moving to Houston, the action group eventually became the Manned Spacecraft, now NASA ‘s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center.

“Glynn was the right man for the right time in history. His exceptional leadership and incredibly fast mind were critical to the success of some of the most remarkable achievements in human space flight,” he said. Johnson Director Marc Geyer. “Although he retired from the organization many years ago, he is always a member of the NASA family. While he was one of NASA’s most famous alumni, he was also one of the most humble that I have always worked with. He was very supportive of the NASA team and so gracious in the way he shared his wisdom with us. “

Using the call sign “Black Flight,” he was elected in Class 1963 by John Hodge and Gene Kranz, and became NASA ‘s fourth flight director. Flight leaders are tasked with leading teams of flight controllers, research and engineering experts, and assistants around the world, and making critical real-time decisions to guide NASA astronauts and missions. keep safe and prosperous in space.

Lunney worked on the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, and Space Shuttle programs. He retired from NASA in 1985 as manager of the Space Shuttle Program, but continued to lead human spaceflight activity in private business with Rockwell International and, later, the United Space Alliance until his retirement in 1995.

At NASA, he was also the flight director for the Apollo-Saturn-201, 4, 7, 8, 11, 13, 14, and 15 mission missions. flight director for Gemini 9 and 11 missions.

He took a leadership role in the planning and negotiations that led to the Apollo-Soyuz Experimental Project (ASTP) that culminated in the docking of American Apollo and the Russian spacecraft Soyuz July 17, 1975. The effort paved the way for international collaborative efforts today on the International Space Station.

One of the most famous events came in his career April 13th, 1970, after an oxygen tank in an Apollo 13 service model explodes en route to the Moon. His crew quickly and efficiently took to preparing the astronauts and their spaceship to complete a safe orbit around the Moon and return home safely. Led by Lunney, the team innovated and worked with the astronauts to shut down the command module systems so that the lunar model could be used as a lifeboat for the crew during the trip home to Earth. His team’s work to keep the crew alive and safe was widely credited while long-term plans were developed for successful reentry and spraying.

Lunney received the Presidential Medal of Freedom as part of the Apollo 13 Mission Operations Team.

In Lunney’s own words from NASA’s oral history:

“I felt that the Black Team’s move immediately after the explosion and for the next 14 hours was the best piece of work I have ever done or could do. There was a continuing demand for the best decisions are often without hard data and largely on the basis of the judgment, despite the most severe flight crisis faced to date in a manned space flight. there was a ‘better’ solution, but it ‘s not yet clear what it would be. Maybe we could have been a little quicker at times but we were consciously deliberate. “

He was born November 27, 1936, into Old Forge, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania.


Kelly Humphries/ JSC PAO
James Hartsfield/ JSC PAO Director
John UriJSC History Office
Marc Geyer, Director of JSC
Lunney family


Related Links