The Wikipedia page for NASA Flight director Holly Ridings contains a portrait with two other STS-117 mission flight directors. The caption there says:

Flight directors for the STS-117 mission in June 2007. Annette Hasbrook (ISS Orbit 1), Kelly Beck (ISS Orbit 2 & lead) and Holly Ridings (ISS Orbit 3).

Question: Why would different Shuttle orbits have different mission directors?

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The “1” goes with Team, not with Orbit. I.e “ISS-on-Orbit team #1”, team #2, etc. $\endgroup$ Mar 23, 2019 at 1:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Unlike machines, people need to sleep, and temporarily get their minds off the job. We humans don't function well 24/7/365. The Shuttle, on the other hand, did orbit 24/7. $\endgroup$ Mar 23, 2019 at 1:21
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidHammen I thought that 93 minutes was a bit fast for a sleep-wake cycle; now I see that "orbit" is figurative. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Mar 23, 2019 at 3:18

1 Answer 1


They are shift/team names. There was an Ascent/Entry Team, a Planning Shift, and two Orbit teams to provide 24/7 coverage in MCC during shuttle missions. (One of the Orbit teams was Planning shift for shuttle - don't know about ISS)

I suppose for ISS flight control it's just Orbit (shift) 1, 2, and 3 for 24/7 coverage.

Here's a snippet of a Space Shuttle mission flight control team shift schedule, showing the rotation of the teams. (This launch attempt ended up being scrubbed)

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Source: personal notes


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