Capsule Communicator

Today’s question of the day entirely unrelated to anything else: What does CAPCOM stand for, from an astronaut’s perspective?

I’ve been reading Watney’s rescue over and over again and while the movie and book are different, the tension is always there. Ahh. But yes, at one stage the Captain calls “CAPCOM” and CAPCOM, whoever they are, replies “Go” for the go-ahead.

So who are they?

According to Wikipedia, CAPCOM is the Flight Controller.

That role was designated the Capsule Communicator or CAPCOM and was filled by another astronaut, often one of the backup- or support-crew members. NASA believes that an astronaut is most able to understand the situation in the spacecraft and pass information in the clearest way.

Oh! You learn something new everyday.

Flight controllers work at computer consoles and use telemetry to monitor various technical aspects of a space mission in real time.

That’s exactly what she was doing! I really shouldn’t be so excited about something so relatively simple.