My previous ISS post reviewed the day's events with a few details on the visit to the ISS Training Facility mockup. This one will cover our visit to Building 30 (M & S)
~ ~ MISSION CONTROL ~ ~
After the tour with Astro Rick Masstracchio, our group moved to Building 30 which houses the historic Apollo Mission Control Room and the current MISSION CONTROL. I must add here that I have always wanted to visit this building! Why do I keep all-capping MISSION CONTROL? BECAUSE EXTREME COOLNESS - that's why :-)
As our shuttle pulled up to the building, excitement was evident because we all got off of our phones, our attention now drawn to getting off the bus and to the building as fast as possible!
Once inside, we saw the lobby elevators leading up to the main room.
Our guides talked to us about the building itself and how Christopher C. Kraft, for whom the place is named, was a NASA engineer who helped establish the location dedicated to monitoring America's space flight. Its callsign is HOUSTON.
The Mission Control Center Houston was first used in 1965 for the Gemini IV mission, the 10th manned American spaceflight.
Soon, we walked around a hallway to an area where there were steps leading up into the viewer's room overlooking Mission Control! Here we met Royce Renfrew, flight director.
"A flight director leads and orchestrates planning and integration activities with flight controllers, payload customers, station partners and others. All of the recently selected flight directors have previously served as flight controllers in Mission Control and will begin training as International Space Station flight directors."
Here is a NASA Factsheet on Mission Control:
My panorama of this most awesome of rooms!
This next image shows the current position of the ISS above the Earth in real time. Directors can see how much comm time they have and can predict exact flyovers. I get ISS updates via Twitter that tell me if the station will fly over my area that night and exactly when and where to look up. There area tons of ways to looks this info up, but here is one you can try: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/sightings/
It was so interesting to see people working at their computer stations, ready to communicate with the astronauts if needed. The current flight director is below. Each desk area was somewhat personalized and some had flags showing the country of the technician. Each of the 15 to 20 flight controllers who sits at a console has the help of other engineers and flight controllers monitoring and analyzing data in nearby staff support rooms.
These were the first words transmitted to Earth from the surface of the Moon!