Recovery Control Room (RCR) in the Apollo era

Picture #01

Credit to NASA.

Picture #02
Apollo 11 on its return trajectory near Earth.

Credit to NASA.

Picture #03

Credit to NASA.

Picture #04

Credit to NASA.

Picture #05
Situation map of recovery activities on the opaque televiewer.

Credit to NASA.

Picture #06

Credit to NASA.

Picture #07

Credit to NASA.

Picture #08

Credit to NASA.

Picture #09

Credit to NASA.
Film stills from ref.2

Floorplan of the Recovery Control Room

Floor plan of the Recovery Control Room is based on the figure in ref.1 page 1-01-26-01.

Recovery Control Room
The Recovery Control Room is the command and control center for all recovery operations.
Its task is twofold:
  1. the DOD personnel are responsible for detailed command and control of the recovery task forces;
  2. and the NASA personnel are responsible for coordination of recovery operations as required for mission support.
Recovery planning takes into consideration not only the nominal landing area but also all possible contingency landings. The RCR team was relevant in the boost phase and the reentry phase of the Apollo mission. In the boost phase recovery forces needed to be deployed strategically to be able to anticipate to various abort scenaros. In the reentry phase the landing area could be predicted as soon as the location of the spacecrafts' atmospheric entry point was known. This entry point was fixed as soon as the Apollo spacecraft had finished its Trans Earth Injectection (TEI) burn and started its return journey.
Third row of consoles

Recovery Forces Representatives
This row was manned by a team from the Department of Defense Manned Space Flight Support Office (DDMS). They were the primary coordinators of activities of the US Department of Defense for recovering the landed spacecraft and its crew.

Second row of consoles

NASA Coordinators

DOD Manager

Communication Advisor

First row of consoles

Display Controller

Landing Coordinators

Group Displays of the Recovery Control Room (RCR)

  1. MCC Operational Configuration for Mission J1
    AS-510 / SC-112 / LM-10
    Apollo 15
    PHO-TR155, 15 April 1971
    by the Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston

  2. Apollo 11 Facts Project: Mission Control During Spacecraft Recovery
    (documentary film)
    Produced by A-V Corporation, Houston, 1969
    Source: Internet Archives:

  3. Mission Control Center Houston
    Familiarization Manual
    PHO - FAM001
    Prepared by Philco, Houston, 30 June 1967

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Copyright 2020 by Sander Panhuyzen
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