The Staff Support Rooms (SSRs) in the Apollo era

Flight Dynamics SSR

Credit to NASA

Vehicle Systems SSR

Credit to NASA

Life Systems SSR

Credit to NASA.

Flight Directors' or Operations & Procedures SSR

Credit to NASA.

Project Office SSR

Credit to NASA.

Experiment Office SSR

Credit to NASA.
Film stills from ref.2

Floor plans of the Staff Support Rooms (SSRs)

Overall floor plan of the SSR's is based on ref.3, figures 1-2-1-1 and 1-2-1-3.
Detailed floor plans of each SSR are based on ref.1, figures on page 1-01-16-01, 1-01-17-01, 1-01-18-01, 1-01-19-01, 1-01-20-01, 1-01-21-01 and 1-01-22-01.
Some of the SSR floor plan details are based on film footage from ref.2.
The presentation of the staffing of the SSR's are based on ref. 1, 4 and 5.

Floor plans of the Staff Support Rooms (SSR)

The role of the Staff Support Teams was to support the flight controllers in the Mission Operations Control Room (MOCR). Each flight controller had its own support team. The support teams were staffed by specialists of the various spacecraft or launch vehicle systems and were representatives of the various contractors which had developed and delivered these systems.

There were seven Staff Support Teams. But due to the increasing complexity of the successive Apollo missions support tasks were added and redistributed among the staff support rooms.

The crew of the O&P SSR was growing because of its expanding responsibilities. The responsibilities of the Flight Crew SSR was transferred to the O&P SSR and the Flight Crew SSR became the Project Office SSR to provide detailed subsystems analysis and recommend correcting actions in case of malfunctions. The O&P SSR was renamed into Flight Directors' SSR.

The Network SSR soon became the Experiments Office SSR to provide scientific data analysis for operational flight experiments among which the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiment Package (ALSEP).

Flight Dynamics SSR
This staff monitored all aspects of powered flight concerning crew safety and orbital insertion, evaluated and recommended modification of trajectories to meet mission objectives.
Together with the flight controllers RETRO (Retro-fire Officer), FIDO (Flight Dynamics Officer), GUIDO (Guidance Officer) this staff formed the Flight Dynamics Group. This group was primarily concerned which space vehicle trajectories in all phases of the mission.

Is reponsible for getting the spacecraft back in case of mission abort and during the return phase of a mission. During the mission RETRO always kept a list of abort options to take swiftly adequate actions in case of emergencies.

AGC/LGC Support
Monitoring the flight trajectory of the launch vehicle and the spacecraft. FDO was also responsible for producing the data to compensate for flight path deviations.

AGC/CMC Support
Ensure that the Apollo Primary Guidance, Navigation and Control Systems (PGNCS) on both the Command Module and the Lunar Module operate correctly.

Trajectory Abort Chief Assistant

Trajectory Abort Chief

Maneuver Specialist

Vehicle Systems SSR
This staff monitored detailed status of trends of flight systems and components of the spacecraft, and could overcome in-flight equipment failures.

LM/GNC Specialist
This specialist supports the flight controller "CONTROL".
LM/GNC is the acronym for the Lunar Module Guidance, Navigation & Control System.
The three roles of the GNC system:

  • Navigation: determine the so called state vector of the craft: the postion of the craft its velocity and its acceleration;
  • Guidance: Determine the rquired corrections to close the difference between the current and the planned trajectory;
  • Providing the control signals to the thrust engine and the Reaction Control System to make the required trajectory corrections.
The LM/GNC specialist supported "Control" in monitoring the state of the reaction-control systems, the descent and the ascent engines of the Lunar Module, as well as the hardware components of the spacecraft's guidance systems.

LM Elect/Comm Specialist
This specialist supported "TELMU" in monitoring the electrical and communications systems of the Lunar Lander as well of the lunar space suits.

CSM EECOM Support Specialist
Watching over the Command and Service Module's electrical and environmental systems.

CSM GNC Support Specialist
The GNC operator monitored the state of the reaction-control systems and the Service Module's main engine, as well as the hardware components of the spacecraft's guidance systems.

Booster Support Specialist
When the three Saturn V stages had done their work, the tasks of the Booster Specialists were over. The consoles were taken over by the Portable Life Support System (PLSS) engineer and the Experiments Officer.

Life Systems SSR
This staff was monitoring the medical condition of the crew and the environmental systems of the spacecrafts.

Aeromedical Specialist

ECS Specialist

Environmental Specialist

Operations & Procedures SSR or Flight Director 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.

Information Flow Coordinator

Flight Plan Support

ALSEP EAO Representative

Flight Crew SSR or Project Office SSR
Coordination and support of flight crew activities was transferred to the O&P SSR (which soon was renamed into Flight Directors' SSR). This SSR was renamed into the Project Office SSR to provide detailed subsystems analysis and recommend correcting actions in case of malfunctions.

Program Office Support

ALSEP Investigators SSR
The staff, the principle scientific investigators, in this room worked in conjunctions with the staff in the Experiment Office SSR were the engineers were monitoring the scientific equipment.

ALSEP Senior Engineer (ASE)
The manager of the room and responsible for the deployment, operation, evaluation, acquisition of scientific data and maintenance of the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiment Package (ALSEP). The ASE also was a MOCR-level operator and stood in direct contact with the Flight Director.

ALSEP Systems Engineer

ALSEP Data Engineer

ALSEP Principal Investigators

They took care of keeping the situation map regarding science activities at the lunar surface up to date on the opaque televiewer. It enabled for example the flight controllers in MOCR to keep track of these activities via one of the many TV channels which were available to them.

Science Operations Room

Experiments Officer (EO)
The manager of the room and responsible for all lunar surface science operations. The EO also was a MOCR-level operator and stood in direct contact with the Flight Director.

Mission Scientist

Science & Applications Division representative

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

  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. This is Mission Control
    A NASA report about the Mission Control Center (documentary film)
    Produced by A-V Corporation, Houston, 1970
    Source: Internet Archives:

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

  4. Apollo Mission Control
    The Making Of A Historic Landmark
    by Manfred Ehrenfried
    Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature, 2018

  5. Science Operations Support Plan
    Prepared by NASA Flight Control Division
    Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston, (Release date not mentioned in report)

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