Friday, January 27, 2012

Do You Know the Apollo 1 Joke that Became Unofficial NASA Policy?

After all these years, and my fascination with the Apollo Program, I did not know this fun little fact. As you know, 40 years ago today marks the date of the Apollo 1 tragedy. On this date, Apollo 1 crew members Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee all lost their lives to fire brought about by a series of mistakes that proved fatal.

But out of that tragic loss came a practical joke (I know it seems even today - hinting of ANY kind of 'joke' seems in extremely poor taste, but believe me it isn't) that also became unofficial NASA policy.

Of all the changes to future flights, from nitrogen mix atmosphere on takeoff, to quick egress and less flammable materials in the crafts comes a curious 3 word phrase of two syllable words - from the tech republic article:

  • Every Apollo astronaut knew the code phrases Navi, Dnoces, and Regor, which refer to the stars Gamma Cassiopeiae, Iota Ursa Majoris, and Gamma Velorum, respectively. This trio of stars was (and likely is) used for visual reference during spaceflight, and was a core component of Apollo mission training for inertial navigation procedures.
Now this is where the tongue gets firmly planted in cheek for Navi is Ivan spelled backwards, Gus Grissom’s middle name -  Now Dnoces, yes second, and now Regor - Regor is Roger Chaffee’s first name spelled backwards.

From a humble beginning comes a little known NASA Apollo tribute to the three who gave their lives in service to humanity.

Tech Republic article


Lynn said...

Please check your math-40 years ago? 1972? 3 years after the moon landing?PS my Dad was one of the ones that came up with the inertia system-see Nautilus/minuteman missle

Beam Me Up said...

Lynn 82 is 10 92 is 20 2002 is 30 2012 40 right? I mean yeah, rough but in the ball park. I was only using a rough Apollo era dateline....I know it was 67 when the accident happened. I have to admit though that I am MUCH more interested in the link you have....feel like sharing a bit more of that history?


Lynn said...

My dad worked for North American (now Rockwell/Boeing) from 49 to 1980. His first job was to work on the F-86/F-100. Then he got involved with the inertia guidance system. the heart of it is a 1" steel ball that spins at 100K rpm with a magnetic "map" on it. was for the subs first but quickly went into the Air Force. Some were around here we have the "ball" from the Nautilus north pole trip. Then into the Minuteman I/II/III. Finally (using lasers now) it was put into the GPS satellite system-Dad was proud of that one as it let farmers plow fields remote controlled.

Lynn said...

PS the Apollo "stability platform" AKA inertia guidance is right under the bottom of the hatch

Beam Me Up said...

YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!! somewhere around here....? OMG Lynn!!! Wow what a treasure...I know...he is your dad but these are people I JUST read about in the early days...not playin ya or shining ya, just plain I would say impressed but that is not the word... I know they were all real people but as a 15 year old geeky kid anything even remotely areo-space were close to super humans. lol sorry to gush.

Beam Me Up said...

OMG I have just seen the mock ups years ago at the Boston MOS....yep lol thats right. lol It is just so wild talking to someone that knows it from the real. you know what I mean...:)