Apollo 15 Flight Data File
Humans have not been beyond Low Earth Orbit since the last Apollo mission in 1972. The Apollo missions involved tremendously complex technology. Most of that technology (scientific and operational/technical) was not in electronic format, but rather in hard copy format. NASA referred to these documents as the Flight Data File (FDF) assembly. This collection is comprised of the Apollo 15 Flight Data File carried aboard the Apollo 15 lunar mission that took place between July 26 and August 7, 1971. These documents were used by Commander David R. Scott, Command Module Pilot Alfred M. Worden, and Lunar Module Pilot James P. Irwin. The Apollo 15 FDF is composed of the official Flight Plan, checklists, data systems documents, maps, star charts, and Lunar Module Cue Cards and features handwritten notes made by the crew during the mission.
We believe this collection is the only complete archive of an Apollo Flight Data File assembly that was flown to the moon, onboard one of the six Apollo missions that landed on the moon. These historical records of the operation of the actual Apollo 15 lunar mission are invaluable resources for teaching, research, and preservation.
Commander David R. Scott offers some insights into the complexity of the hard copy technology format of the Apollo FDF.
In general, the different terms for the documents (e.g.: flight plan, checklist, data systems, cue card) had specific meanings associated with the different operational aspects of the mission. All were very important due primarily to the slim margins, or operational limits, with the hardware and software we had at the time. For example, the checklists were formal and under "configuration control"; while the cue cards were not under configuration control (they were informal), being basically a short list of major steps in the checklists. Cue cards were essentially an afterthought, or just memory joggers. —David R. Scott
—Tracy L. Scott