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Archive for the ‘Launch Control & Firing Rooms’ Category

Firing Room #1. Kennedy Space Center has 4 firing rooms.

Kennedy Space Center has 4 firing rooms, all beside one another on the third floor of the Launch Control Center.

At lift off, control of a Shuttle mission immediately transferred to Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, and Mission Control.

Firing Room #1, #3 and #4 were all used for Apollo moon missions. Firing Room #2 was used for training.

All four firing rooms appear to the same size, although plans are underway to divide Firing #4 into four separate firing rooms which would be much smaller.

During the later Shuttle missions only Firing Room #3 and Firing Room #4 were used. And for the last 20 or so Shuttle missions, following the modernization of Firing Room #4, only Firing Room #4 was used for launches.

The Mars Science Laboratory was not launched from any of these firings rooms. Launch control for MSL was adjacent to Pad 41, and after launch control of the mission passed to a NASA contractor located in the Denver, Colorado, suburbs.

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Go fly! … here’s where, hopefuly, it will happen Friday morning.

Here’s a quick visit to Firing Room #4 from where STS-135 will be launched, and from which the previous 20 shuttle missions, have been launched. At lift-off, control of the shuttle immediately passes from the Launch Control Center at Kennedy Space Center, to the Mission Control Center at Johnson Space Center, Houston.

NASA has four firing rooms in the Launch Control Center. The most modern is Firing Room #4 where all recent launches have been conducted. This view is toward the back wall of the Firing Room. The large windows are directly behind us.


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On the right are the windows, and in the middle and left are the consoles. Those working at consoles, including the Flight Director, all sit with their backs to the windows and never see the actual launch. A VIP room is beyond the glassed in area in upper center of this photograph. The VIP room is between Firing Rooms 3 and 4.


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The view from Firing Room #4 of the launch pads, 39A (right) and 39B. Pad 39B (B has been torn down; not A) has been torn down.


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The Launch Control Center (LCC) sits just to the left of the Vehicle Assembly Building. Alongside the VAB its appears low and flat. The LCC is just across the road from the media press site (out of view further on left). Firing Room #4 is behind the windows on the far left. Firing Rooms 2 and 3 are behind the larger center window. Firing Room #1 is on the right hand side of the LCC.


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This is Firing Room #3. Firing Room #3 launched many of the earlier KSC launches, including shuttle flights, and several of the Apollo Moon missions. In contrast to the sleekly modern Firing Room #4, Firing Room #3 has a distinctly 1960s Buck Rogers charm.


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Before each launch the children of the astronauts make a white board wishing the astronauts well. These white boards are preserved and displayed at different places at KSC. This whiteboard, from STS-107, hangs in the central foyer of the Launch Control Center. After each launch, the NASA launch team gathers here and dines.


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.”petecrow/NASA” © 2011 by / Peter M. Crow and the Peter Michael Crow Trust and by Seine/Harbour® Productions, LLC, Studio City, California.

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Launch Control Center, VAB and shuttle hangar -- Current header Photograph

Launch control at Kennedy Space Center has four firing rooms in a building adjacent to the Vehicle Assembly Building, and across the street from Press Complex 39.

Firing Room #4 is the most modern and is where the last 20 space shuttle missions were launched from. Just next door is Firing Room #3 which is very 1960s and retro. This is where some of the Apollo moon missions were launched from.

The Firing rooms all have an expansive window giving superb views of Launch Pads 39A and 39B where both the shuttles and the Apollo moon fights lifted off. The problem? If you’re working to get the shuttles off the launch pads, you’re looking at monitors, not out the window. After launch, however, if you have time, it’s a great view.
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Launch Control Center where all major missions have been launched since the Apollo landings on the Moon. LCC is on the left, and the Vehicle Assembly Building is on the right. The set of windows on the furthest left on the LCC is Firing Room #4, the most modern firing room where all recent shuttle missions were launched from. The large second set of windows from the left (ignore the small square set of windows which are a small VIP viewing room) is Firing Room #3 where some of the Apollo missions were launched. Barely visible behind the LCC is one of the shuttle hangars which are called Orbiter Processing Facilities or OPFs. The picture is taken from the Crawlerway that leads to launch Pads 39A and 39B on the east virtually on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. This photograph looks to the west.


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Foyer of the Launch Control Center (LCC) stands in the middle of the LCC with two firing rooms on each side of the LCC on upper stories


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Firing Room #3 is very 1960s and retro, almost Buck Rogers today. But it still is fully operational and should backup be needed during a launch, this room would be ready. Along the back wall are plaques for every mission launched from this room, including the date of the launch and of the landing.


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When Firing Room #4 was modernized, this room was no longer the firing room of choice and was not used during the final twenty shuttle launches. During countdowns, the number of people in the Firing Rooms gradually increases until at launch there were about 300 people in the firing room. After launch, control of a mission is instantly handed to the Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas, and the number of people working here drops quickly.

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.”petecrow/NASA” © 2011 by / Peter M. Crow and the Peter Michael Crow Trust and by Seine/Harbour® Productions, LLC, Studio City, California.

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