The Bryan Sullivan files

Here’s a collection of photos and notes from Bryan Sullivan.


See also page 2 and also Bryan’s photos of the Honeysuckle Honeys.

Many of these photos were taken by Hamish Lindsay – some by Ron Hicks.


guest speaker

Bryan Sullivan, guest speaker, addressing the Waltons Ltd. management staff seminar in the Auburn Town Hall (Sydney) September 1969.

Bryan is explaining the role Honeysuckle played in the Apollo 11 moon landing with the aid of a chart illustrating some of the astronaut biomedical data prosessed through the station.

Mr Frank Sowter, NSW State manager, is holding the chart.

Ron Hicks (left) and Bryan Sullivan testing the UNIVAC Type 1540 Command Magnetic Tape Unit circa. 1966.

Note the stovepipe trousers and the trendy suede shoes.

Computer Room
The Computer Room circa. 1966 with Ron Hicks operating the Command Mag Tape unit while Bryan Sullivan is at the Input/Output model 1232 Console. A Tektronix Oscilloscope is between the Telemetry Computer and the Telemetry Mag Tape unit. A UNIVAC model 1259 Teletype machine is in the foreground.

Bryan with Frank Hain
Bryan Sullivan (left) and Frank Hain at the computer consoles during the Apollo 12 mission.

Sullivan and Hicks

Bryan Sullivan (left) checking spacecraft command data received via a teletype tape from mission control while Ron Hicks makes entries in the computer log book during the Apollo 7 mission. In the background is the Telemetry Computer and Mag. Tape unit.

Note the Tektronics oscilloscope displaying a circular lissajous figure. Items on the console besides an ashtray include a Motorola high speed printer, an intercom control unit and speaker as well as a precision timing device (Smiths cooking timer). The little timer was used during countdowns and mission operations to alert operators of significant events or when to make important keyboard entries into the computers.

Scan by Colin Mackellar.

Sullivan and Hicks

Ron Hicks and Bryan Sullivan at the receiver-exciters.

Scan by Colin Mackellar.

Sullivan and Bendall

Gordon Bendall and Bryan Sullivan have their photo taken at the Servo console.

Scan by Colin Mackellar.

Fickle Finger

The Fickle Finger of Fate indicating LM IMPACT during the Apollo 14 mission.

After the discarded lunar module ascent stage had impacted the moon’s surface, the giant finger was hung from the Computer Room ceiling above another giant circle of cardboard representing the moon with the finger jammed into a huge crack effectively splitting the cardboard moon in half. In the picture is Bryan Sullivan (standing) with John McLeod seated at the computer control console.

The finger was also used to indicate other events in the Apollo mission flight plan. For instance if it pointed straight upwards we had achieved lift-off, if it was pointing downwards we were close to a landing or splash down, if it was pointing at a yellow balloon hanging from the ceiling we were on the way to the moon and if it was upside down pointing away from the balloon we were on the way back to Earth. It was always a thing of great anticipation arriving on shift to see where, whom or at what the dreaded fickle finger of fate pointed.

During mission simulations the finger was attached to a tall adjustable microphone stand on wheels. Whenever a person made or caused an operational blunder or ‘stuffed-up’ so to speak, then this huge finger would be wheeled up and pointed at the offender with much ceremony, hilarity and embarrassment. The finger was the idea of Peter Cohn and it was made by Mike Linney. It was first seen on a popular 1960s TV show called “Laugh In” where the giant fickle finger would be ‘pointed at’ a US politician or a celebrity as an award for some act of stupidity.

(Photo and scan: Ed von Renouard.)

Ruck and Sullivan

Geoff Ruck performing an engineering change to the logic circuitry on one of the UNIVAC type 642B Computer chassis.

Also from L-R Don Gray – HSK Station Director;Dr Thomas Paine, the NASA Administrator; and Bryan Sullivan. (Photo: Hamish Lindsay.)

Harrison Schmitt

Dr. Harrison Schmitt (Apollo 17) signing the master signature sheet during his visit to HSK on 3 May 1973.

Standing L–R: (obscured?), Gerry Spear, Jim Kirkpatrick, Bill Waugh, Les Paal, Les Hughes, Martin Geasley, Don Gray (Station Director), Bernard Smith.

Seated L–R: Bryan Sullivan, Cyril Fenwick, Tony Gerada.

See also page 2.