BALETTIEDOTCOM former flight dynamics officer
roger balettie
the trench continue

“Earth is the cradle of humanity,

but one cannot live in a cradle forever.”

– Konstantin Tsiolkovsky

is the space exploration advocacy website of Roger Balettie, former Flight Dynamics Officer in NASA’s Space Shuttle Mission Control Center.

Space Is Our Future!

It is shortsighted of us as a collective humanity to think that we will be able to contain ourselves to this planet. It only takes a clear, starry night to prove to a person that there is so much more out there than this “Pale Blue Dot” , to quote the late Dr. Carl Sagan.

The awe and wonder of seeing a Shuttle launch, watching old Apollo footage, or just staring up at the night sky prove to me, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that space exploration will be man’s last, best destiny.

Humanity was not meant to stay still.  We are meant to explore.

Finding something better for our children, our grandchildren, and the countless generations to come will be the legacy that we are called to leave.


Failure is not an option.

The responsibility for maintaining man’s presence in space is upon every one of us.

If you haven’t done your part, it’s time to take action!

NASA and the space exploration push as a whole is constantly under fire from organizations, politicians, and individuals who don’t realize the benefits from space exploration.

It’s up to us to educate them!

As a nation and a planetary species, the exploration of space and other worlds will provide a unifying force… a sense of direction and purpose… and a technologically-advancing forcing function that can only be a positive influence in this insane and self-centered culture that permeates society.

This website is dedicated to those who have given their lives in the quest for human exploration of the cosmos, and to the thousands of men and women behind the scenes who have worked so hard over the years to make these voyages possible.

Mission Control

So… you want to be a
Flight Controller?

Learn about NASA’s Mission Control Center and the men and women who are the heartbeat of manned spaceflight.

What is a FDO?

Want to learn more about one of the most well-known Flight Control positions in Mission Control?

Read about what the Flight Dynamics Officer did for all phases of Shuttle missions, from launch to landing.


What was the FDO looking at sitting in the Mission Control Center?

A number of Space Shuttle-era displays are presented to show how the FDO managed the Space Shuttle trajectory operations through Ascent, Orbit, and Entry displays.


I ramble a lot about Space and NASA-related topics.

Sometimes it’s current news, sometimes it’s just my opinion… Feel free to read and comment on them.

Why am I so passionate about space exploration?

I was five years old when Apollo 11 landed on the Moon.

That year, for Christmas, I received a spacesuit and helmet… I still have the picture and remember how much I loved them.

From that point on, I was determined to do something space-related.  Years of schooling later, Aerospace Engineering degree firmly-in-hand, I was off to NASA!

Roger in the MCC I was fortunate enough to live my life-long dream and have a 12 year career with NASA as an Orbit, Deploy, and Rendezvous Flight Dynamics Officer (FDO) working in the Space Shuttle Mission Control Center (MCC).

The FDO (pronounced “FDO”) is the primary MCC Flight Controller responsible for the overall trajectory of the manned vehicle and the target vehicle(s). When I was a FDO, that was the Space Shuttle and various payloads, including the Russian space station Mir.

I started work at NASA’s Johnson Space Center three weeks and two days prior to the STS-51L accident that resulted in the loss of Challenger and her crew.

The period that followed left an indelible mark on my life as I was able to be a part of the recovery as the entire NASA community came together as a family, solved the problems, and returned to space.