Apollo Flight Controller 101: Each console defined

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Update: This week is a winter break for many companies, including Ars. While employees are taking a break (be it with the family or their favorite video games), we thought we'd see something relevant to our favorite vacation story , As early as 1968, the crew of the Apollo 8 rose to heaven over Christmas. They paved the way for the ultimate achievement of humanity the following summer, they launched the first officially approved holiday schnapps, and they took a picture that still sparks our imagination decades later. As NASA and its partners restored the famous mission control for this mission earlier this year, we thought we would redisplay our guide to each console in the famous control center if someone plans 2020 vacation plans this week. This story originally ran on October 31, 2012 and is shown unchanged below.

Ars recently had the opportunity to spend some time in the restored Apollo "Mission Control" room at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. We spoke to Sy Liebergot, a retired NASA air traffic controller who has participated in some of the most famous manned space missions of all time, including Apollo 11 and Apollo 13. The article "Brave on the move: Behind the scenes of the NASA mission" "Center" deals with in-depth on what "Mission Control" did during Apollo and how everything worked, but there was simply no place for detailed descriptions and diagrams of all the different flight controller consoles – I'm not John Siracusa, after all!

But Ars readers love the room, and there was so much additional information that I couldn't sit on it. So this is a station-by-station tour of the control room for historical mission operations 2 or "MOCR 2". As mentioned in the description, MOCR 2 was used for almost every Gemini and Apollo flight and restored to its Apollo era in the late 1990s. You can visit it when you're in Houston, but you won't get any closer than the glassed-in visitor gallery on the back, and that's just not close enough. Buckle up and get ready to take a look at the Ars-style MOCR consoles.

The layout

For most of the Apollo project, MOCR 2 had a fixed layout. Each station handled a certain related set of functions; Some monitored the spacecraft's hardware or software, or its position in space, or the crew itself. For most of the Apollo project, the following was established:

 The layout of MOCR 2 through most of the Apollo project. "Src =" https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/NASA-Consoles-640x631.png "width =" 640 "height =" 631 enlarge / Layout of MOCR 2 through most of the Apollo project.

NASA / Aurich Lawson

projection screens

 An eidophore projector. "Src =" https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/liebergot-eidophor-image.jpg "width =" 288 "height =" 312

An Eidophor- Projector.

MOCR 2 is dominated by five large rear-projection displays on the front, on which nine smaller displays with chronographic information can be seen. The large center display, called "ten by twenty" by Sy Liebergot (measuring ten feet high and twenty feet wide), was primarily used to use a complex position and status of the vehicle during the current phase of the mission physical system display slides over charts or columns with numbers. In several places in the projection room behind the screens there were powerful Eidophor video projectors with quartz lamps that bounced images from mirrors onto the screen surfaces.

The same channels can be displayed on the side screens as on the individual console screens. Sy noted that during Apollo, the far left screens could be set to show the vehicle command history and the current page of the flight plan. The far right eidophore was used to display television images, either from cameras used during the mission or from network TV channels when needed. The superimposed images generated by mainframes that the Eidophors projected onto the screens were quite sharp and clear.

 Eidophore projections of the flight path of the Apollo 11 lunar module during the first manned moon landing. The Eidophor video projectors showed a very sharp picture. "Src =" https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/liebergot-eidophor1-640x507.jpg "width =" 640 "height =" 507 enlarge / Eidophore projections of the flight path of the Apollo 11 lunar module during the first manned moon landing. The Eidophor video projectors showed a very sharp picture.  Another view of the screens projected by Eidophor from 1968, this time with typical MOCR lighting. "src =" https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/liebergot-eidophor2-640x504.jpg "width =" 640 "height =" 504 Enlarge / Another view of the screens projected by Eidophor from 1968, this time with typical MOCR lighting.  Diagram showing the process of projecting the orbital plot on the 10x20 main screen. "Src =" https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/liebergot-map-projection-640x405. jpg "width =" 640 "height =" 405 Enlarge / Diagram showing the projection process of the orbital plot on the 10×20 main screen.

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