The Brains of the Countdown

Every mission into space, whether carrying a crew or lofting a satellite or probe, is overseen by a collection of specialists who make sure everything is A-OK with the rocket and spacecraft through liftoff, ascent and beyond. At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Launch Control Center was the space agency’s answer to the gargantuan demands of processing and testing the Saturn V rockets and Apollo spacecraft that would carry astronauts to the moon. The aerospace industry partners of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program will use control centers based on the unique needs of their systems and the capabilities of today’s computers and automation. With the 45th anniversary of Apollo 11’s liftoff from Kennedy tomorrow, here’s a look at what went into designing, building and operating the LCC.

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