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NASA Awards Contract for Construction of New Mission Launch Command Center at Wallops Flight Facility

New Mission Launch Command Center at Wallops Flight Facility
Artist concept of new Mission Launch Command Center to be constructed at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia. Credits: NASA
Aerial views of NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia in 1960 and 2015.
Aerial views of the current Mission Launch Command Center at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia in 1960 and 2015. Credits: NASA

NASA has awarded a contract to Harkins Contracting Inc. of Salisbury, Maryland, for the construction of a new Mission Launch Command Center (MLCC) at the agency’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia.

The new 14,174 square-foot facility will serve as the hub for interfacing with and controlling rockets, their payloads and associated launch pad support systems during flight operations at Wallops.

“The Wallops launch range mission set has seen steady growth, transformation and diversification over the years,” said Bill Wrobel, Wallops Flight Facility director. “This new MLCC is a critical modernization project that will meet the needs of our operations today and take us well into the future.”

Recent operations underscoring the need for the new command center include commercial cargo resupply flights to the International Space Station, Department of Defense missions, and NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE), the first lunar mission to launch from Wallops.

This award is a firm-fixed price contract with a value of $5.6 million.

The Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Silver MLCC is a single-story facility that will be built on the main base of Wallops. The scope of the work includes asphalt and concrete paving, construction of storm water structures, extension of communications and electrical ducts, as well as connecting the facility to existing water, electric and sanitary systems.

The building will consist of a steel frame with concrete masonry unit exterior construction, a modified bitumen roof, glass and metal storefront and curtain wall systems. Additional work under this contract includes the installation of a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, electrical systems, and interior architectural finishes, as well as verifying all construction requirements have been met.

The launch command center currently in use was designed in the 1950s to accommodate discrete, quick-turnaround missions characteristic of the Wallops Range mission set at the time, which included Project Mercury tests and suborbital rocket flights.

“The current command center has served us well over the years, but doesn’t have the capacity to meet the needs and requirements for advancing our nation’s goals and objectives in space,” said Wrobel.

Today, launch missions from Wallops embrace the facility’s traditional role in testing new technologies along with enabling research and scientific investigations, in addition to taking on larger-scale operations using small- and medium-class solid- and liquid-fueled rockets.

As NASA’s only launch range, the Wallops Range provides the operational environment required to ensure safe and successful flight operations for rockets, missiles, aircraft, unmanned aerial systems, and a variety of other mission types essential to the scientific, military and commercial use of space.

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Karen Northon
Headquarters, Washington
Jeremy Eggers
Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va.