The Mission Control Center, Houston
by Hamish Lindsay
with Flight Director Gene Kranz (“White Flight”)
The Houston Mission Control emblem developed by space artist Bob McCall.
Reproduced courtesy of Gene Kranz.
The Mission Operations Control Room during the Apollo 15 lunar landing.
Scan: Hamish Lindsay.
At the heart of the manned space flight missions was the Mission Control Center HOUSTON (MCC-H) in the Mission Operations Wing of Building 30.[In May 2011, Building 30 was renamed ‘The Christopher C. Kraft, Jr. Mission Control Center’.]
Inside the windowless building were two Mission Operations Control Rooms (MOCR) on floors two and three. The second floor MOCR was used for three Apollo Saturn 1B Missions, and Apollo 5-7 and 9, Skylab and Apollo-Soyuz missions. The third floor MOCR was used for all the Gemini and Apollo lunar missions. Outside the control room but on the same floor were all the Staff Support Rooms (SSRs) housing the technical specialists responsible for supporting their counterparts in the MOCR.
The first floor of Building 30 was the Real Time
Computer Complex (RTCC). The tracking stations interfaced with the MOCRs through
the Communications, Command and Telemetry System (CCATS) on the first floor.
A plan of the 3rd floor of the Mission Operations Wing of Building 30.
Scan: Tom Sheehan.
The Mission Operations Control Room (MOCR),
was the principal command and decision area for each mission, and was the
Houston frequently referred to. The centre of a complex world-wide
communications network to tracking stations, ships and aircraft, it had 19
main areas of responsibilities shown in the diagram below.
Staff Support Rooms
Backing the above front line operators in the MOCR were 7 Staff Support Rooms (SSR):
|Thanks to Richard Stachurski for this more detailed plan of the MOCR.|
This panorama of the 3rd floor MOCR 2 was (roughly) assembled from images taken in March 2011. The result is a somewhat distorted view, however it gives a feel for the size of the room.
The Flight Director’s console is in the centre, third row from the front.
Today, the MOCR is a National Historic Landmark.
Photo: Colin Mackellar.
The Mission Control emblem
(The Mission Control emblem is used with the kind permission of Gene Kranz.)