When this section was originally written for -THE TRENCH-, the Space Shuttle program was still ongoing and the Flight Dynamics Officer (FDO, pronounced “fido”) was an active position in Mission Control. Since 2011 and the end of the Shuttle Program, the FDO, a mainstay in the US Manned Space Program since the Mercury Program, has been retired. Trajectory monitoring for the International Space Station (ISS) Program is done in a much more automated and far less dynamic manner, negating the need for the FDO position of an active earth-launched spacecraft.

The verb tense in the sections below, then, are still “active”, as that’s the way the FDO and the entire space program was when I wrote them. I do not want to change them, as I still believe that we will, as a nation, realize the short-sighted nature of recent national policy decisions and revitalize our efforts.

Hopefully one day soon, the FDO and the ever-present container of Atomic Fireballs, will once again be front-and-center in the Mission Control Center.

But for now – here’s what the FDO *used to do* during Space Shuttle missions…

The Flight Dynamics Officer (FDO, pronounced “fido”) is responsible for the overall trajectory, or flight path, of the Space Shuttle and all related payloads or other space-bound vehicles associated with the Shuttle.

The FDO is a Mission Control Center Flight Control position at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. There, along with other talented and dedicated individuals, the FDO ensures that the “big picture” mission objectives are obtained.

If you have any questions about anything presented here, feel free to contact me.

ascent FDO

Pre-launch to powered flight to orbit insertion.

The Ascent FDO goes from launch pad to space.

orbit FDO

Ever wanted to catch a speeding bullet?

The Orbit FDO makes this look easy.

entry FDO

17,500 MPH to “Wheels Stop” in less than an hour.

The Entry FDO makes it happen!