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Author Topic:   KSC Visitor Complex: Launch Control Center Tour
SpaceKSCBlog
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Posts: 112
From: Merritt Island, FL
Registered: Nov 2011

posted 06-09-2012 11:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceKSCBlog   Click Here to Email SpaceKSCBlog     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is now offering tours of the Launch Control Center (LCC).
For the first time in more than 30 years, NASA is allowing Kennedy Space Center visitors inside the Launch Control Center - where NASA directors and engineers supervised all of the 152 launches including the space shuttle and Apollo programs.

The KSC Up-Close: Launch Control Center (LCC) Tour, the second in Kennedy Space Center's special 50th anniversary series of rare-access tours, takes visitors inside Firing Room 4, one of the LCC's four firing rooms and the one from which all 21 shuttle launches since 2006 were controlled.

Inside Firing Room 4, visitors will pass by the computer consoles at which engineers monitored the computerized launch control system's thousands of system checks every minute leading up to launch. They'll see the main launch countdown clock and many large video monitors on the walls, and enter the "bubble room," with its wall of interior windows through which the Kennedy Space Center management team viewed all of the proceedings below.

Tours start June 15.

onesmallstep
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Posts: 508
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 06-10-2012 03:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's great. My only problem is they should have combined it with the VAB tour (it's right next door) so you don't pay for two separate tours.

They must have their practical (and economic) reasons for doing it.

Fezman92
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From: New Jersey, USA
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 06-10-2012 09:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fezman92   Click Here to Email Fezman92     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am a bit surprised that they are only having it open for a few months. If there was more time, I would go down. Looks cool.

cycleroadie
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From: Apalachin, NY USA
Registered: May 2011

posted 06-11-2012 07:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cycleroadie   Click Here to Email cycleroadie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think due to the upcoming renovations, the VAB tour will be ending soon. If you check their website, they say they hope to offer the VAB tour through the summer. The LCC tour runs through the end of the year.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-11-2012 08:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Visitor Complex announced on Friday that the VAB tour has been extended and will run through the end of the year as well.

dabolton
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From: Round Lake, IL, US
Registered: Jan 2009

posted 06-11-2012 11:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dabolton   Click Here to Email dabolton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I attended KSC family open house day in 2010. I walked through all the firing rooms. That is a memory I won't soon forget and I realize just how rare of an opportunity that was.

wickball
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From: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 06-11-2012 05:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wickball   Click Here to Email wickball     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Four firing rooms.

Can anyone provide a brief description of the condition of the rooms not used recently and what missions those rooms were used for?

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-11-2012 06:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
  • Firing Room 1 - Rededicated in 2006 as the Young/Crippen Firing Room, was used for Apollo and shuttle (Apollos 8, 11, 13, 15, 16, 17 and STS-1, included). It was refurbished for use as part of NASA's former Constellation program and was active for the 2009 launch of Ares I-X.

    Firing Room 1 will next be used for the first test spaceflight of Orion, EFT-1, in 2014.

  • Firing Room 2 - was used for Apollos 9, 12 and 14. During shuttle, I believe it was used as a support room during launches.

  • Firing Room 3 - launched Apollo 10 and all three manned Skylab missions. It was the primary shuttle launch control room until FR4 was renovated for use for the final 21 launches.

  • Firing Room 4 - began use as a conference room but was renovated with wooden console cabinets and modern computers for use for the final space shuttle missions since 2006.

SpaceKSCBlog
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From: Merritt Island, FL
Registered: Nov 2011

posted 06-11-2012 06:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceKSCBlog   Click Here to Email SpaceKSCBlog     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Am I correct that originally in the 1960s each firing room was dedicated to a corresponding VAB high bay? For example, Firing Room 1 to High Bay 1, Firing Room 3 to High Bay 3, etc.?

wickball
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From: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 06-11-2012 06:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wickball   Click Here to Email wickball     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, Robert, I just couldn't help but think government excess, was all that necessary.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-11-2012 06:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SpaceKSCBlog:
Am I correct that originally in the 1960s each firing room was dedicated to a corresponding VAB high bay?
I believe (but may be mistaken) that the firing rooms corresponded to mobile launch platforms, rather than high bays.

Constellation One
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Posts: 50
From: Lorain, Ohio, USA
Registered: Aug 2008

posted 06-15-2012 10:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Constellation One   Click Here to Email Constellation One     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So has anyone taken the LCC tour yet?

The KSC website states that you only tour Firing Room 4 and the lobby. Seems somewhat weak?

Also note that the VAB tour is ending Nov. 30 per the reservation girl.

Although I realy want to see them both, it seems like there is a lot of "fluff" attached to both of these tours to add up to 3 hours each. She also told me that they cannot both be done in one day.

So figure $50 for the pass, and $25 for each tour, times three in the family is $300. Welcome to Florida!

Another note: I remember in the '90's going through a firing room. We stood in the back and viewed computer monitors and screens. Any idea what I saw?!

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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From: Toms River, NJ,USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 06-15-2012 11:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The VAB tour was worth it because we got to see Atlantis. But you also get to go places that the regular tour does not. Where the regular tour stops at the 39A/B viewing site, we got to go closer to the pads before eventually heading to the Apollo-Saturn complex (as all tours do.)

ilbasso
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From: Greensboro, NC USA
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 06-15-2012 11:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There wasn't necessarily a 1:1 correspondence between Firing Rooms, Mobile Launchers, and High Bays. There were several instances (Apollo 13, for example) where the stack was rolled around from one High Bay to another after the primary stacking, to provide for a shorter crawler ride to the pad.

Also, it's my understanding, from a KSC web page I saw, that every Shuttle launch required two Firing Rooms. One was the primary and one housed support teams.

I'm in the middle of a significant re-boot of my Apollo Launch Control website (and no, I've never been in the LCC - gotta go this year!!!).

This page is the draft of my intro page on the Firing Rooms, with lots of views of each one in action.

Here's a quick recap of the Firing Rooms, High Bays, and Mobile Launchers by mission during the Apollo era:

onesmallstep
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From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 06-15-2012 01:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Constellation One:
I remember in the '90's going through a firing room. We stood in the back and viewed computer monitors and screens. Any idea what I saw?!
I believe you went to the (then-new) Apollo Saturn V center, which included a re-creation of a firing room during the Apollo 8 launch, complete with authentic consoles, video and sounds from the era. It was impressive when I first saw it in 1997, just after it opened.

Bob Montanaro
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Registered: May 2012

posted 06-17-2012 05:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob Montanaro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here are images from Saturday, 16 June 2012, morning's tour — the third public tour after two inaugural tours the day before — of the Kennedy Space Center Up-Close Launch Control Center tour. The tour is well done and leaves one wanting to see more.

Jay Chladek
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Posts: 2211
From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 06-18-2012 02:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by onesmallstep:
I believe you went to the (then-new) Apollo Saturn V Center, which included a re-creation of a firing room during the Apollo 8 launch, complete with authentic consoles, video and sounds from the era. It was impressive when I first saw it in 1997, just after it opened.
The firing room display predated the Apollo Saturn V Center as I went through it in 1988 on a high school trip. I know that for sure since both the Saturn V and 1B were outside on display next to one another near the VAB.

I don't recall exactly which building on KSC had it, but we took a tour bus onto the property and stepped off into a building to see this display (it was NOT the LCC we went into, I know that), then walked through a set of doors to see an unused Apollo CSM and LM on display after the firing room's launch display was done.

When the Apollo Saturn V Center was built, the firing room display was transferred to it, expanded a little (such as the window shutters behind your head as you walk in) and made into what it is today.

As for the four firing rooms, I also understand one of them was the primary room used for the DoD classified shuttle launches as it had encrypted communications equipment installed in it. But I am not sure which of the rooms that was.

Jim Behling
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Posts: 537
From: Cape Canaveral, FL
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 06-18-2012 06:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
FR3 was used for DOD launches. At the time, FR4 was a partial one, and only could support OPF work and not pad ops.

The firing room display used to be in the flight crew training building.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-07-2013 07:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The limited KSC Up-Close: The Launch Control Center Tour has been extended through (at least) March 31.

robert_l
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Posts: 95
From: Dundee,Scotland
Registered: Jul 2008

posted 02-08-2013 03:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robert_l   Click Here to Email robert_l     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I took the advantage of the opening of both the VAB and LCC to visit KSC last month.

It was amazing to get to see inside both. You have to do them on separate tours. We were taken into firing room 4, which was used for the latter shuttle missions. We also got to see through locked doors into firing room 2 which is currently been taken to bits. It was last used for Apollo 18 (movie)! It was amazing to be in the firing room. I have put some pictures on my Facebook page (Robert Law).

spacescribe
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From: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Registered: Apr 2013

posted 04-22-2013 11:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spacescribe     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Are visitors on the tour allowed to explore the Launch Complex? I'd like to make the walk through the LCC walkway to the VAB.

GACspaceguy
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Posts: 1394
From: Guyton, GA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 04-22-2013 11:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by spacescribe:
Are visitors on the tour allowed to explore the Launch Complex? I'd like to make the walk through the LCC walkway to the VAB.

It is still a working center so, no.

All times are CT (US)

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