Wikipedia's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station page links to the image Alan Shepard in Mercury Control Center (shown below).

The console has two large digital time displays. One is dedicated GMT but the other is labeled Desired Retrofire Setting and there are three buttons below it with the same label.

What would the time display show, and what does the label mean?

Mercury Control Center cropped Mercury Control Center cropped

Alan Shepard in Mercury Control Center


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    $\begingroup$ 92.4% sure that "DESIRED RETROFIRE SETTING" is one phrase, not three options. The buttons on the lower right of the display have individual labels beneath. $\endgroup$ – Russell Borogove Nov 8 '18 at 4:06
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    $\begingroup$ Educated guess: the buttons select one of three computed retrofire times to be displayed at the top of the panel. Leftmost one would be the nominal, pre-planned retrofire time; middle would be an early return (label could be something like LAND IN NEXT ORBIT); rightmost would be an nearly immediate retrofire (labeled EMERGENCY). In this photo no retrofire time has been computed, for whatever reason, so it's displaying 00:00:00. Retrofire is a pretty timing-critical operation, so it would make sense that CAPCOM would want to see it next to the current time. $\endgroup$ – Russell Borogove Nov 8 '18 at 4:43
  • $\begingroup$ The first label could be something like NORMAL REENTRY or NOMINAL REENTRY. $\endgroup$ – Russell Borogove Nov 8 '18 at 4:50
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    $\begingroup$ I'm almost tempted to write a script that blurrily renders candidate texts (using Coniglio Sublime) and compares them to the button labels in the photo. $\endgroup$ – Russell Borogove Nov 8 '18 at 6:24
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    $\begingroup$ I’d perspective correct the target/reference images first rather than distorting the candidate renders — do it once instead of N times. Adding noise would be counterproductive for finding the best match. $\endgroup$ – Russell Borogove Nov 8 '18 at 6:49

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