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Various characters in the movie Gravity use the term 'in the blind' at the end of a transmission.

This is said most often by Lieutenant Matt Kowalski after the initial incident. It is also heard amongst the garbled transmissions received by Dr. Ryan Stone in the final scenes (so is presumably said by someone on the ground).

Does it simply mean "said with no confirmed communications connection", or is there some other meaning to it?

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up vote 13 down vote accepted

According to former astronaut Leroy Chiao the term "in the blind" indicates that you're transmitting in the expectation that the receiver can hear you but letting them know that you can't hear them.

"After the orbital debris cascade knocks out communication satellites, Stone and Kowalski lose contact with ground control. They keep transmitting, though, in hopes that someone is listening. Each message begins with the rather haunting phrase, "Transmitting in the blind..."

"Yeah, that's real phraseology and that's used in aircraft operations also," Chiao says. "You call 'in the blind' if you're not receiving them, but you think they might be receiving you. You're basically letting them know that you're not able to hear them."

We can also see the phrase used by NASA shuttle pilots in the final mission transcript of the ill-fated Columbia mission;

HOPPE: Flight, INCO, commanded string one in the blind.


HOPPE: I commanded string one in the blind, Flight.

CAIN: Copy.

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