The Launch Control Center (LCC)

Launch Control Center (LCC)
The four story high building comprises four firing rooms on the third floor for prelaunch and launch activities.
The firing rooms have large angled windows which provide a panoramic view on the two launch sites. The windows can be protected by pivoting the large louvers in front of the windows. These louvers can be pivoted in sets of five. In this photo can be seen that of the far left firing room (Firing Room 4) one group of louvers is fully opened the second half closed and the third group closed.
On the right side of the LCC buiding the two story high bridge connecting the LCC with the Vertical Assembly Building (VAB). The top story of the bridge is a walkway, the lower story is a utility bridge containing cable trays for the numerous connections between the firing rooms and the VAB.

Credit to NASA.

Building plans of the Launch Control Center (LCC)

Based on ref.1 photo HEAR No. FL-8-11-A-57

LCC LCC Hotspots:
Top green area is linked to Display Room description
Light red area is linked to Firing Room description
LCC cross section between gridlines (8) and (11)
The light-red section is depicting one of the four firing rooms. From right to left: the console area for the launch management team, for the engineering teams and the area with the instrument racks.

On the right side an angled wall of large windows to provide a panoramic view on the launch site 5 km away. Fifteen large louvers were installed on the outside which could be quickly pivoted at their angled vertical center axis to form a protective wall against incoming debris in case of a catastrophic event on the launch pad.

Six 3 by 3 meter display screens kept the launch management team informed about the progress of the launch operations. The four display screens in the middle were used to display images from various video camera's located on the launch pad and on the launch umbilical tower and to display data. There were two display screens on either side of the four display screens mentioned above. The large display on the left side was used to display significant launch events and the display on the right side was used to show which tracking stations were receiving downlinked data from the launch vehicle.

Based on ref.1 photo HEAR No. FL-8-11-A-57
LCC cross section between gridlines (11) and (12)

Based on ref.1 photo HEAR No. FL-8-11-A-57 and ref.7 figure A-5
LCC Floor 1

Credit to Google Street View
Lobby and its main entrance.

Based on ref.1 photo HEAR No. FL-8-11-A-57 and ref.7 figure A-5
LCC Floor 2

Based on ref.1 photos HEAR No. FL-8-11-A-52 and HEAR No. FL-8-11-A-53
Complemented with information from ref.4 figure 8-16 and ref.3 figure 5-6.
Firing Room 4

Not equipped and never used for the Apollo missions.
It was used to display program evaluation and progress & planning charts during the construction of Launch Complex 39 and the integration of Apollo/Saturn systems.
Firing Room 3

Skylab 2, 3 and 4
Apollo-Soyuz Test Project
Firing Room 2

Apollo 6, 9, 12, and 14
Saturn V Skylab 1 (OWS)
Firing Room 1

Apollo 4, 8, 11, 13, 15, 16, and 17
LCC Floor 3
The Launch Control Center has four large rooms for four firing rooms.
The rooms were corresponding to the four High Bay areas in the Vertical Assembly Building (VAB). This design allowed for a simultaneous assembly and system testing of four launch vehicles. In the mid 1960's it was concluded that three High Bays and the corresponding three firing rooms were sufficient to meet the planned launch rate. The rooms which were used for the various missions are mentioned above.
Firing Room 4 as management center
The drawing above depicts the temporarily configuration of the Firing Room No.4 when it was used as the Site Activiation Control Center (SACC).
Activation of Launch Complex 39 was a huge managerial challenge. Activation required the involvement of many contractor companies and the coordination of about 60 000 activites with many interdependencies.

Monitoring of progress was done on three levels (A, B and C) to create management visibility on three different management levels. The highest level (level A) contained the Master Activation Schedule and was meant to provide visibility for top level management. Level A and B information was presented on a large wall represented by the dark red line in the drawing. The three green lines in parallel are representing the walls on which level C information was presented.

Activation of Launch Complex 39 was accomplished in 1965 in three phases.

After the activation Firing Room 4 became used as a management center for launch operations to manage the numerous prelaunch activites for the Apollo missions.

From ref.3 figure of chapter 15

From ref.2 figure 5-6
Display wall in the Site Activation Control Center for displaying level A and B management information. The three display walls in the Site Activation Control Center for displaying level C management information.

Still from documentary film "Apollo 11"

Still from documentary film "Apollo 11"
Launch Operations Status Review Meeting in Firing Room 4

Based on ref.1 photos HEAR No. FL-8-11-A-54 and HEAR No. FL-8-11-A-55
Optical arrangement in the Display Rooms based on ref.5 page 78.
LCC Floor 4
This floor is comprised of conference rooms, office areas, and mechanical equipment rooms among which the large rooms in which the display equipment was located for the six large display screens in each firing room.

ERP Equipment Record System
LIEF Launch Information Exchange Facility
PERT Program Evaluation and Review Technique
SAB Site Activation Board
SACC Site Activation Control Center
SAO Site Activation Office

  1. Library of Congress
    Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Launch Complex 39, Launch Control Center
    LCC Road, East of Kennedy Parkway North, Cape Canaveral, Brevard County, Florida
    Photos from Survey HAER FL-8-11-A

  2. The Apollo Program Management Kennedy Space Center, Florida
    Volume 4
    Prepared by Program Control Office
    KSC Apollo Program Office, January 1968

  3. Moonport: A History of Apollo Launch Facilities and Operations
    By Charles D. Benson and William Barnaby Faherty
    The NASA History Series
    NASA SP-4204
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Scientific and Technical Information Office
    Washington, DC, 1978

  4. Saturn V Flight Manual SA-506
    George C. Marshall Space Flight Center

  5. The History of the EIDOPHOR Large Screen Television Projector
    by Heinrich Johannes
    Gretag Aktiengesellschaft
    Switzerland, 1989

  6. Countdown to a Moon Launch
    Preparing Apollo for Its Historic Journey
    by Jonathan Ward
    Springer, 2015

  7. Inventory of Equipment in Launch Control Center Firing Room 2
    Prepared by: NASA
    Spaceport Integration and Services
    Medical & Environmental Services Division
    Environmental Management Branch
    Kennedy Space Center, August 2015

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Copyright 2020, 2023 by Sander Panhuyzen
Comments and questions welcome. All pictures and drawings contained on these pages are the author's, unless otherwise noted. No unauthorized reproduction without permission.