Space Shuttle Flight Director Bryan Lunney served his last shift at Mission Control on March 7, 2011, concluding a 22-year career at NASA. Bryan directed almost 50 space shuttle missions and logged over 300 shifts directing the International Space Station (ISS). Lunney is leaving NASA and joining Odyssey Space Research, an engineering analysis firm, and Firestar Technologies, specializing in propulsion and power systems.
A second generation NASA Flight Director, Bryan followed in the footsteps of his father, Dr. Glynn Lunney, who was Flight Director for Apollo Program moon missions.
During a press conference Monday to discuss the final flight of space shuttle Discovery, Flight Director Bryan Lunney spoke about about the legacy of his Onyx Flight team at NASA:
“Onyx Flight is my flight director team color, for those who don’t know, named somewhat after my father’s team, who was Black Flight,” said Lunney. “So I wanted to stick with the family tradition to some extent there.”…”What is my legacy? Hopefully a good one. I came into this program to hopefully make this a better place, this world a better place for my kids. I think what we do here at NASA does that and I hope I contributed my piece to that.”…”I got a lot of help when I was growing up over the last 10 years, my first 10 years here. I hope I paid that back and helped evolve some of the younger folks who came through…”…”I wanted to hand down that torch, so to speak. And I tell you, looking around either control room today, there’s not as much gray hair as perhaps on my head, but there’s some extremely competent individuals who have come in.”…”Maybe, I like to think,” Lunney said, “a little piece of my legacy in station was to help those flight controllers who do such a fabulous job today. Maybe I was a little bit helpful getting them along on their way.”
Earlier Monday, before his Orbit 1 shift ended, Lunney was celebrated by his fellow flight controllers and by the crew of Discovery from orbit. “I’ve known Bryan for years and years, working with him for years and years, through the Astronaut Office, through various roles, and of course, as our lead on this flight,” radioed Discovery Commander Steve Lindsey to Mission Control. “Bryan has just been a great friend and a terrific flight director and a leader.”… “He pulled this mission together and made it all happen. Kept us all focused and working on the plan and working to the plan and when the plans changed and we went through multiple flight plans, he kept the team focused and just showed true leadership throughout.”…”We’re going to really miss him. I know you guys are, too. And Bryan, it was just an absolute pleasure to work with you and we wish you the best of luck in your new career,” said Lindsey. “It’s been a hoot,” responded Lunney. “You guys obviously have been really great to work with.”…”I really enjoyed working with you on this flight and over the years, all of you and your crew. Couldn’t have had a better choice for my last flight. Thanks very much,” said Lunney.
“Today we retire the call sign Onyx Flight,” chief flight director John McCullough said. “Twenty-two years in the agency with nearly 50 flights on the shuttle side and over 300 shifts on the station side, kind of appropriate he’s working the Orbit 1 shift at night again closing it out.”…”We just want to say thank you very much for all that you’ve done and best wishes on everything you hope to accomplish in the future,” said McCullough.
“It has always been a pleasure to come to work to be with people like you guys, even when it was that midnight shift,” Lunney said, addressing the crowd of flight controllers who had gathered in the shuttle flight control room. “I am honored and privileged to be able to do this the last 22 years.”…”I look forward to the next phase in my career. It is going to be something completely different but it will be fun, too. But I don’t think it will be anything like what I’ve gotten the opportunity to do here.”…”It has been an amazing opportunity and I’m just thrilled to have that opportunity. I owe it to each and every one of you all for that. You are guys are awesome, this agency is awesome and MOD [the Mission Operations Directorate] is awesome. So I very much appreciate it and I look forward to working with you guys in the future,” Lunney said.