Staff Support Rooms

When the new MCC-H was designed, many rooms adjacent to the MOCR were provided for the different spacecraft disciplines. In fact, there were many more people in these other rooms than there were in the MOCR. There were even support rooms at the various contractors. The following are the Staff Support Rooms (SSRs) during the lunar landing missions:

  • Flight Dynamics SSR

    The Flight Dynamics SSR (room #310) supported the Flight Dynamics Officer (FIDO), the Retrofire Officer (RETRO) and the Guidance Officer (GUIDANCE) in the first row of the MOCR, called the “Trench.” Because of the complexity of lunar landing missions, this room was manned 24/7 and included a large number of people across all four operating shifts. Some people were needed for a specific phase (e.g. ascent) or maneuver (e.g. a midcourse burn) while others were needed for ongoing analysis. In addition to NASA people, the following contractors were also represented in this room:

    • MIT.
    • IBM.
    • TRW.
    • North American Rockwell.
    • Grumman Aerospace.
    • McDonnell Douglas.
    • Philco Ford.

    The positions would typically include the following:

    • Maneuver Specialist
    • Trajectory Abort Chiefs
    • Apollo CSM Guidance Computer Support
    • Apollo LM Guidance Computer Support
    • Auxiliary Computer Room (ACR) Coordinator

    Most of the people were representatives from the Mission Planning and Analysis Division (MPAD), flight controllers and contractors. For a critical mission phase there could easily be twice as many people in this one SSR than there were in the MOCR. This room is not part of the National Historic Landmark and therefore will not be restored.


  • Vehicle Systems SSR

    The various MOCR systems operations flight controllers relied on their counterparts in the SSRs for expertise and in-depth analysis, especially in off-nominal or emergency situations. For Apollo, this SSR (room #311) monitored and analyzed the Command & Service Module (CSM), the Lunar Module (LM) and the third stage of the Saturn launch vehicle (the S-IVB). The S-IVB engineers were called Booster System Engineers (BSE). After deactivation of the S-IVB, the two booster consoles in the SSR were assigned to the Portable Life Support System (PLSS) engineer and the Experiments Officer.

    This SSR would have both NASA engineers and those from the contractors who built those systems. They manned the room 24/7 with four shifts during long duration lunar flights. The contractors included:

    • North American Rockwell.
    • Grumman Aircraft.
    • IBM.
    • McDonnell Douglas.
    • Philco-Ford.

    This SSR had the following positions:

    • LM Guidance/Navigation/Control (GNC) Specialist
    • LM Electrical/Communications Specialist
    • CSM GNC Support Specialist
    • CSM EECOM Support Specialist (Also supported INCO)
    • Booster Support Specialist
    • Booster Support Specialist

    The room also included chart recorders, event recorders, and opaque televiewers. Counting all the personnel, this room would be occupied by as many as fifteen people on a shift. This room is not part of the National Historic Landmark and therefore will not be restored.


  • Life Systems/Aeromed SSR

     The Life Systems SSR (room #312), or the Aeromed SSR as it was more widely known, was manned by specialists concerned for the astronauts’ health and well-being, particularly during high work-load activities such as EVA. As such it was staffed with people from the Life Sciences Division, the Crew Systems Division, and contractors who supplied the equipment that the astronauts were using. They were responsible to the Flight Surgeon in the MOCR and the other medical personnel manning that console. The SSR was staffed with the following positions:

    • Surgeon (a medical doctor that managed the SSR activities).
    • Data Engineer.
    • Biomedical Engineer (and Aeromedical Representatives).
    • Environment Control System engineer.
    • EVA Support.
    • Logistics Support.
    • Clerical Support.

    This SSR was occupied by both NASA personnel and those contractors responsible for the crew’s medical related equipment. This included the pressure suits and portable life support system equipment. This room would have up to a dozen people in it at any given time depending on the mission activity. Usually, they worked on a three shift basis, but often another shift was in for critical activities such as operating on the lunar surface, where the work-loads for the astronauts were high. This room is not part of the National Historic Landmark and therefore will not be restored.


  • Flight Directors’ SSR

     This SSR initially provided support to the Operations & Procedures Officer and the Assistant Flight Director (and thereby to the Flight Director) for detailed information regarding the external support to the control center from the launch complex, from flight control teams at the remote sites, and from support personnel in the entire MCC building. It evolved to provide detailed expertise on all the mission requirements and objectives, operational procedures, flight plans, mission rules and many other support requirements. Eventually, the Flight Crew procedures team was incorporated, as well as CSM and LM procedures people.

    What was originally an O&P SSR located in room #311 thereby became the Flight Directors’ SSR responsible to the Flight Director, Assistant Flight Director, Data Management Officer, and Flight Activities Officer. It was also responsible to the Apollo Communications Engineer for the detailed status of the communications system and two TV channels, as well as the Ground Timeline and Flight Plan.

    For Apollo 7, this SSR included the following positions:

    • Mission Requirements Engineer.
    • Requirements Configuration Control.
    • Data Flow Support.
    • Flight Crew Procedures.
    • Flight Crew Experiments.
    • Flight Plans.
    • Mission Staff Engineer (Flight Test Objectives).
    • Clerical Support.

    The lunar landing missions involved more experiments and longer EVAs, and the following positions were added to the SSR:

    • Experiments Support.
    • EVA Support.
    • Mapping Sciences.
    • CSM Procedures Support.
    • LM Procedures Support.
    • Photographic Tech Lab.
    • Post-Evaluation Support.

    These positions included both NASA and contractor personnel. There would be as many as 17 people in the room at one time, depending on mission activity. This room is not part of the National Historic Landmark and therefore will not be restored.


  • Science/ALSEP SSR

    The scientists and engineers in these two adjacent rooms were responsible to the Experiments Officer, the Lunar Surface Program Office, and the Principal Investigators for undertaking detailed monitoring of the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiment Package (ALSEP) central station and experiments data as well as those experiments conducted in lunar orbit which included the Service Module’s Scientific Instrument Module (SIM) and the Particles and Fields Subsatellite (P&FS) released in lunar orbit. It was also responsible for all the scheduling of activities, commanding, and data distribution for the appropriate users.

    Some experiments required interaction with the MOCR flight controllers, others did not. There was a formal reporting and action item process. Activities that required a MOCR flight controller were managed by the SPAN. It was designated as the focal point to control and filter external inputs to the flight control team for specific support. In the MOCR the Flight Activities Officer was the primary interface to those in the SPAN who in turn handled the scientists’ requests and/or the crews’ requests for clarification about the deployment or operation of an experiment. And there was an Orbital Science Officer (OSO) who sat at the (vacant) Booster Systems console in the MOCR while science experiments were being undertaken in orbit. He was the interface between the flight control team, and the scientists and engineers in the SSR who were monitoring data from instruments orbiting the Moon.

    The following two rooms were involved in science monitoring and operations on Apollo flights. They were manned as necessary for the phase of the mission as follows:

     The Science Operations Room #314A included:

    • Mission Scientist.
    • Science & Applications Division representative.
    • Experiments Officer. Manager of the room.
    • Surface Operations Engineer.
    • Lunar Geology Experiment Principal Investigators.
    • Principal Investigators.
    • NASA Headquarters Monitor.
    • Science & Applications Division Data Manager.
    • Photography Coordinator.
    • Manned Spacecraft Center Chief Scientist.

    This room was mainly responsible for the lunar geology experiments being conducted by the two astronauts on the surface. After the LM had left the Moon, additional scientists and engineers would move into this room to monitor the ALSEP.

    The Satellite Control Room/ALSEP Room #314B (adjacent to #314A) included:

    • ALSEP Senior Engineer. Manager of the room.
    • ALSEP Systems Engineer.
    • ALSEP Data Engineer.
    • ALSEP Principal Investigators.
    • Plotters

    This room supported ALSEP during the time that the six stations and their instruments were operating, running from July 1969 through to the termination of the program on September 30, 1977. These adjacent rooms would be occupied by as many as 40 scientists, engineers, managers and technicians, depending on the level of activities. The scientists came from universities all over the country. The engineers were from the companies that made the experiments.

    Also supporting the SSR was the Science Data Room (#210A). This room on the second floor was a working area for the Lunar Geology Experiments Team during the lunar surface phase. These people coordinated with the Lunar Missions Office of the Science & Operations Division. There was also some coordination with the MER in Building 45 and with the Lunar Mapping Science Lab in Building 226.

    None of these rooms are part of the National Historic Landmark and therefore will not be restored.