about me   
September 18, 2008
    High-energy particles - CERN
  For a summary of my experience, click
Inside the Apollo Command Module Simulator, Building 5 at the Johnson Space Center in Houston ('72)

While covering the Apollo 17 mission in Houston, I had the extreme good fortune to meet some of the Apollo instructors. I got to spend about 20 hours learning as much as I could about flying the spacecraft during overnight maintenance periods. When it was convenient, I would come at night and use a part of the simulator that they weren't fixing for the next day's run. If they needed a switch changed they'd call me, saving themselves the trouble of climbing up and into the capsule.

Mission Operations Control Room, Houston (ASTP -'75)

The MOCR (pronounced "Moker") was "Houston" to the astronauts. As a NASA artist I had the run of the place but found myself sitting in corners out of the way, intimidated because I was in a room with many of my heroes. Bob McCall, the veteran NASA artist, encouraged me and even Chris Kraft, the famous boss of the place, made an effort to make me feel welcome. By the last shift of the flight I was squatting on the step between the Flight Director and the Capcom.

F-4E Phantom (Rhino) flight from the 54th at Nellis ('81)

My third flight in a high performance aircraft. At one point I pulled 6-g's in a "min time" turn as I was basically wrung out by the Aircraft Commander. Addictive.

From the Earth to the Moon, Tustin, CA ('97)

On the moon set at HBO's production of the Tom Hanks TV spectacular. Here is the quarter scale LM that we moved around the realistic lunar landscape. I'm in the middle surrounded by a few of the great professionals that worked on the set. I learned a lot.

Lunar Module #13 at the Cradle of Aviation Museum, Garden City L.I.

Here I am with my baby. I'm the "LM-13 Spacecraft Manager" which means that the ship doesn't really have to "work." It just has to look exactly like Apollo 11's Eagle on the surface of the moon at Tranquility Base.


My Name

Fjeld is an old Norwegian spelling of fjell (mountain). The "J" is pronounced like a "Y" and the "D" is silent: "FYELL." To get a close analogue in English, "P. Fjeld" could be said naturally as "Peef Yell."   f Yell.