One Giant Leap ~ Celebrating Apollo 11: Ron Cordes

By Meredith McCulloch

Ron Cordes worked on the Apollo program from 1966 to 1969, working with the team building the Saturn 1-B (first stage) rocket. His chief project was Apollo 7 which was the first crewed Apollo mission using the CSM, the Command Service Module. Apollo 7 laid the groundwork for Apollo 11 one year later.

Recalling the Apollo 7 launch, Cordes said, “My one and only job, sitting at one of those consoles in Launch Control, was to monitor the flight trajectory, constantly compare it with my simulations, and, when it became safe for the Saturn to lose an engine and [still] continue the mission, to announce over the Flight Director’s intercom, “Single engine out, press to MECO,” to cut off the main engine. [MECO is an acronym for Main Engine Cut Off.]

Editor’s Note: Meredith McCulloch has sought out individuals with Bedford connections who were part of NASA’s Apollo program – Click this link to learn more about her project – each of the interviews will appear separately, under the individual’s name, and will be collected in a single reference document once all are posted.

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