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Historic Recordings: KSC Report 24, Launch Control Center Firing Rooms Interview with Chuck Henschel
Sound of rocket engines firing
KSC Reports... a weekly coverage of events at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's John F. Kennedy Space Center.
Sound of rocket
Launches of America's most powerful rocket, the Saturn V, will be directed from control rooms located more than three miles from the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center's Complex 39. The Launch Control Center at the spaceport is a four-story building located adjacent to the giant-sized Vehicle Assembly Building, where Apollo-Saturn V stages are brought together to form 364-foot high space vehicles. From the beginning of the assembly process, through the launch, to the conclusion of its mission, all of the propulsion, mechanical, electrical and electronic systems that compose this marvel of the space age are checked and double checked to insure proper operation. This information is monitored, interpreted and acted upon by technicians, engineers and managers who man the firing rooms in the Launch Control Center. There are three firing rooms making possible concurrent preparation of three Apollo-Saturn V's at the complex. The firing rooms occupy the top floors of the control center building. Chuck Henschel of KSC's test supervisor's office describes each firing room as being large enough for a 15-lane bowling alley or suburban movie theater. The room is filled with nine rows of control consoles, eight rows of equipment racks, two viewing areas, and at launch time, about 500 people. Four rows of consoles are elevated in tiers above the main floor level. The highest row has positions for the launch, spacecraft, launch vehicle and information systems directors, and public information office representative. The second row console positions are for the test conductors for launch vehicle and spacecraft, and the test supervisor coordinators. The third row positions are occupied by test conductors for the launch vehicle and spacecraft stage contractors -- Boeing, North American Aviation, Douglas, IBM, and Grumman. Forth row positions are manned by pad safety, range safety, security, weather and instrumentation personnel. Henschel says the five rows of consoles on the main floor level will be operated by engineers who control different actions on the vehicle.
These people are fed information from a row of racks. There are eight rows of racks, 30 racks in each row, in the back of the firing room. The control people who are in the rows just beyond row four, the first five rows on main floor watch television screens and they also watch data readout panels for further information. These systems engineers on the floor feed their information back to their stage contractor test conductor who in turn feeds it to the NASA test conductor, who in turn goes to the test supervisor.
With two Apollo-Saturn V vehicles being prepared in the VAB at this time, two of the launch control firing rooms are in use. The third firing room is scheduled for operational status next year when outfitting of a third assembly bay in the VAB is completed. It is from these firing rooms in the months and years to come that the launch countdowns will originate that will send man on missions to the moon and beyond to achieve the conquest of outer space.
Sound of rocket engines
This has been KSC Reports... a weekly coverage of events at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's John F. Kennedy Space Center.
Sound of rocket engines
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