Progress marches on… but it still can be sad sometimes

by Sep 3, 2013

I spent 12 years of my professional career at NASA in the Space Shuttle Mission Control Center (MCC) as a Flight Dynamics Officer, split between the Apollo-era Flight Control Room (FCR-1 or FCR-2, depending on which floor you were on) and the new-at-the-time upgraded Shuttle FCR (known as the “White FCR”).

During that transition, I was on the FDO team that worked our console requirements, display upgrades, space allocations, etc.

But, when we officially transitioned to the new Shuttle FCR, FCR-1 was kept intact as a (unofficial) historical monument to the many Shuttle missions flown from there (along with the Apollo 7, Skylab, and Apollo-Soyuz missions). FCR-2, upstairs from FCR-1, was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1985 and remains in the Apollo configuration to this day.

To support the International Space Station (ISS) program, FCR-1 was completely gutted and transformed into the current ISS FCR-1, removing the consoles (and the history) of that FCR that saw so many Space Shuttle missions.

When the Shuttle program came to an end with STS-135, the White FCR really served no direct purpose, as NASA had (for various budgetary and political reasons) not settled on or funded a follow-on program.

In 2012, a new upgrade program, called MCC-21, began upgrading the White FCR Multi-Purpose Support Rooms (MPSRs) that house support personnel for the Flight Controllers in the White FCR.

To support the International Space Station (ISS) program, FCR-1 was completely gutted and transformed into the current ISS FCR-1, removing the consoles (and the history) of that FCR that saw so many Space Shuttle missions.

When the Shuttle program came to an end with STS-135, the White FCR really served no direct purpose, as NASA had (for various budgetary and political reasons) not settled on or funded a follow-on program.

In 2012, a new upgrade program, called MCC-21, began upgrading the White FCR Multi-Purpose Support Rooms (MPSRs) that house support personnel for the Flight Controllers in the White FCR.

Just recently, the MCC-21 project gutted and transformed the White FCR from the Shuttle configuration to a new set of hardware (and desks).

Gone are the iconic two-tone blue consoles of the Space Shuttle program… replaced by nondescript wooden desks and flat-panel monitors.

From the back it looks pretty cool…

If only we had a well-funded space program that was worthy of the legacy that we forged there…

1 Comment

  1. Sydney

    It’s kind of sad. It was nice that you were able to share that moment of hirsoty with your son. I remember sitting with my family in the living room the day that we landed on the moon. Unforgettable. Thanks for posting.

    Reply

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