Tecwyn Roberts at NASA’s Mission Control Center
The following comments were recorded (on 19th March 1998) within the NASA Oral History Project as part of an interview with Gene F Kranz: -
“We had a marvelous linkage between the Mercury and the Gemini Program; and the Control Center was - One of the English engineers - he was actually a Welshman - who came down from AVRO [A. V. Roe Aircraft Inc., Ontario], Canada, was Tec [Tecwyn] Roberts; and he was our first Flight Dynamics Officer. Tec Roberts was one of the few people who really understood the potential of the computer and its application at Mission Control. So at the midpoint of the Mercury Program, Tec Roberts was replaced by Glynn Lunney because the technology just in these few months had now allowed us to start remoting data from Bermuda, so we didn’t need a team out in that site anymore. So we could focus the talent that was in the Bermuda team, combine them with the talent that was in the team out in Mercury Control at the Cape, and then send Tec Roberts off to build the next Mission Control Center. Roberts basically had the responsibility to bring the system on line; and it was a marvelous thing.”
“A OK” is a now a popular phrase of the English language; however its origins are believed to have started by Tecwyn’s regular use of the phrase within NASA communications during the early Mercury Project.
The first documented use of “A OK” is contained within a Memo from Tecwyn Roberts, Flight Dynamics Officer, to Flight Director, entitled "Report on Test 3805," dated Feb. 2, 1961; penciled notes on the countdown of MR-2, dated Jan. 31, 1961.
Tecwyn Roberts as "the voice of Mercury Control," and its public use of "A.OK", made those three letters a universal symbol meaning "in perfect working order."