Space Flight Operations Facility (The Center of the Universe)
The Space Flight Operations Center, a National Historic Landmark, has been operational and staffed every day since 1964.
|Location||Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California|
|Area||122,074 square feet (11,340 m²)|
|NRHP reference #||85002814|
|Added to NRHP||October 03, 1985|
|Designated NHL||October 3, 1985 |
Space Flight Operations Facility (SFOF) is a control room and related communications equipment areas at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. NASA's Deep Space Network is operated from this facility. The SFOF has monitored and controlled all interplanetary and deep space exploration for NASA and other international space agencies since 1963. The facility also acted as a backup communications facility for Apollo missions.
Public tours are available with advanced planning.
In the early years, the operations control center of the Deep Space Network did not have a permanent facility. It was a makeshift setup with numerous desks and phones installed in a large room near the computers used to calculate orbits. In July 1961, NASA started the construction of the permanent facility, Space Flight Operations Facility (SFOF). The facility was completed in October 1963 dedicated on May 14, 1964. In the initial setup of the SFOF, there were 31 consoles, 100 closed-circuit television cameras, and more than 200 television displays to support Ranger 6 to Ranger 9 and Mariner 4.
As of 2012, there were 22 spacecraft monitored from this facility. Depending on the operations of the spacecraft, they are scheduled to be online for 1 to 10 hours at a time. Notable is that the facility also processes the signal from Voyager 1 that is sent from about 11 billion miles from Earth. With data feeding into the Space Flight Operations Facility from every NASA spacecraft beyond low earth orbit, including rovers, orbiters, and deep-space probes, there is a plaque in the middle of the room designating the facility "The Center of the Universe."
A list of other Deep Space Network facilities:
- Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex
- Madrid Deep Space Communication Complex
- Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex
- Harry A. Butowsky (May 15, 1984). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Space Flight Operations Facility" (pdf). National Park Service. and Accompanying photos, exterior and interior, from 1976, 1981, and 1983 (32 KB)
- National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- "Space Flight Operations Facility". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on 2007-11-14. Retrieved 2008-02-13.
- "JPL - Free Public Tours".
- "Deep Space Network Operations Control Center at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California". Picture Album of the DEEP SPACE NETWORK. NASA/JPL. Archived from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
- Rose, Brent (9 February 2012). "This Is the Center of the Universe: NASA's Deep-Space Command Central". Gizmodo. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
- Edidin, Rachel (14 November 2013). "Inside a NASA Meetup, Where Science Fans Become Space Ambassadors". WIRED. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
- Official Site
- Aviation: From Sand Dunes to Sonic Booms, a National Park Service Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary
- Man in Space, a NHL Theme study
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