The Ascent Flight Dynamics Officer is probably the most specialized of the three major disciplines.

The Ascent FDO usually has followed a training and certification path that has included Orbit FDO and Entry FDO certifications, since post-insertion timeframes involve setting up the initial orbit, including possible rendezvous phasing burns, and there are a number of ascent abort scenarios that require the possibility of an immediate landing at either KSC or any number of other ascent abort landing sites!

These are just some of the displays an Ascent FDO might utilize during the dynamic 8.5 minute launch phase and the immediate post-insertion timeframe leading to the OMS-2 burn.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about anything you see here!

Abort Region Determinator Output

This display (“ARD” for short) is one of the most important displays during ascent operations.

The ARD is used by both the Ascent FDO and Ascent TRAJ to monitor and predict the actual performance of the Shuttle during the launch.

The Actual and Hypothetical Modes (AM & HM) allow numerous modeling options and make it possible to assess the different abort capabilities of the vehicle.

ARD Delta-V Margin

This display is the graphical interpretation of the digital-based ARD Output display.

The axes are Delta-V margin vs. Time, for each of the abort options.

Engine out time and velocity are shown, as well as Droop status.

FDO Launch Digitals

This display provides important additional vehicle launch information that is not specifically ARD related, such as state vector health, tracking sources, and acceleration comps.

ARD thrust update comps are shown and implemented at the bottom.

RTLS Altitude vs Downrange

This display shows a 2D plot of the orbiter’s trajectory during an RTLS abort.

AOS/LOS lines for the KSC and Bermuda tracking sites can be seen.

Note that the vertical scale is exaggerated.

RTLS Altitude vs Velocity

This display shows a 2D plot of the orbiter’s earth-relative speed vs altitude during an RTLS abort.

Note how the speed approaches zero at the point where the orbiter has reversed course and begins heading back to KSC.