Author Topic: Can anyone tell me more about Mercury systems/MER man Don Arabian?  (Read 4516 times)

Offline buel

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Hi,
Please can someone tell me about the career of Don Arabian who, I believe, worked on systems in Mercury Control and was the top man at the MER at during the Apollo missions?

Thank you in advance.

Offline kch

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Hi,
Please can someone tell me about the career of Don Arabian who, I believe, worked on systems in Mercury Control and was the top man at the MER at during the Apollo missions?

Thank you in advance.

http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/history/oral_histories/ArabianDD/arabiandd.htm

Hope this helps!  :)

Offline buel

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Hi and thank you.
I have read hos oral history and thought it was the best I have read. I just wanted to know if there was more about the guy to read...

Offline HDTVGuy

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I first learned about him in "Apollo: A Race to the Moon" by Murray and Cox.

Offline the_other_Doug

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The only thing I ever read about "Mad Don", beyond the excellent picture of him painted by Murray and Bly-Cox, was a very short scene that occurred during Apollo 13.  (For the life of me, I've read so many Apollo histories that I couldn't tell you which one this is from.  I apologize for that.)

Anyway, the story went that, during the transearth cruise, one of the LM's descent batteries had a violent rupture of its pressure vessel, venting some of the battery fluid into space.  It was reported by Fred Haise as a loud thump and a "bunch of sparklies" while he was keeping watch and Lovell and Swigert were trying to sleep up in Odyssey.

Of course, Arabian's Mission Evaluation Room started working the problem, and quickly came to the conclusion that the battery case had exploded.  It apparently only vented a small amount of the battery fluid since the battery continued to function normally for the rest of the flight, but Arabian definitely felt that the correct term for what had happened was that the battery case had suffered a small explosion.

Mad Don gathered up his latest data on the battery problem (including the optimistic assessment that it looked like the battery had survived the event) and went to meet a few people -- I think it was Kraft, Kranz, one of the PAO officers and perhaps Faget -- and they ducked into the little lunchroom that was located near the second floor MOCR (if I'm remembering it right) to go over it.  (All the other rooms were full of people working other problems.)

As I recall the story, Arabian went over to a sandwich machine, grabbed a sandwich, and around mouthfuls of awful vending-machine-sandwich explained their best idea as to what happened, referring to the event as an explosion three or four times.  Every time he said that word, the PAO guy would wince a little harder.

Arabian was going to go down to the shift change briefing to explain it to the press, and the PAO guy finally asked him, "Can't you please call it something other than an explosion?  We sure as hell don't need to tell everyone we had *another* explosion on this flight!"

Arabian, munching the last bite of his sandwich, just looked at the guy and said, "You can call it anything you damned well please, but an explosion is an explosion, and I call 'em like I see 'em."  With that he stood up and walked out.

He was subsequently told that he really wasn't needed at the change of shift briefing...

-Doug

With my shield, not yet upon it
-Doug  (With my shield, not yet upon it)

Offline buel

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Thanks for that brilliant story!! If it helps, I spoke to Fred Haise last year and he told me that whenever he wanted to get an engineering proposal past the powers-that-be on the shuttle, he would have a meeting with Don Arabian beforehand to know how to get it past them. Amazing!

Also, is this mr Arabian in a video of MR 1:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/6q3053flzyxcn82/MAYBE%20DON%20ARABIAN.mp4?dl=0

 

Offline buel

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Hi, can anyone help me with whether this is 'Mad Don', please?

Offline buel

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Well, I finally found Mr Donald D Arabian at last!!

Offline buel

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Another pic of Mr Arabian and me:

Offline mtakala24

Don't tease us with pics ;)  any juicy stories?

Offline dks13827

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Does he live in the Houston area still ?  Looks like it.  I have read how important and competent he was, for sure.  What are his thoughts on the present day NASA ?

Offline buel

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Many apologies for not getting back to you guys about this, I've just stumbled upon it again.

Don is still doing great and is still very much a character. He lives at the Cape and has done for over 15 years, I believe.
I spoke to him yesterday, which reminded me that I really should post this fantastic video of the author of 'Apollo - The race to the moon', Charles Murray, answering the question "Who's the most interesting person that you encountered, either personally or in research, about this book?" way back in 1989......

https://www.dropbox.com/s/2uatrfgxq4009b7/Book%20Discussion%20Apollo%20Race%20Moon%20-%20Video%20-%20C-SPAN.org%20%281%29.mp4?dl=0
« Last Edit: 09/21/2016 12:53 PM by buel »

Offline buel

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Hi all.
I've finally managed to put some videos of Don up on YouTube, one of which is my layman's attempt at an interview. A short clip is here:


Hope you enjoy it.
B

Offline RIB

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He was a University of Rhode Island graduate........

Offline buel

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He was.
Any more info you can share, please?

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