NASA’s Firing Room 4 At KSC Gets Makeover

By  //  April 13, 2014

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transforming KSC into multi-user spaceport

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA — A metamorphosis is taking place inside Firing Room 4 in the Launch Control Center at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The Ground Systems Development and Operations Program is overseeing the work to create a new firing room as part of NASA’s effort to transform Kennedy into a multi-user spaceport.

Construction continues in Firing Room 4 in the Launch Control Center at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. GSDO is overseeing efforts to create a new firing room based on a multi-user concept that will support NASA and commercial launch needs. (NASA.gov image)

Construction continues in Firing Room 4 in the Launch Control Center at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. GSDO is overseeing efforts to create a new firing room based on a multi-user concept that will support NASA and commercial launch needs. (NASA.gov image)

Unlike previous work at Kennedy focusing on a single kind of launch system, such as the Saturn V rocket or space shuttle, engineers are preparing the spaceport’s infrastructure to support several different spacecraft and rockets in development for human exploration.

The new concept for FR4 will feature four separate firing room areas to serve NASA and potential commercial or private users’ needs.

Eight-foot-high walls will divide the rooms, with each room measuring 30 by 32 feet. Each room will have a door and large window with privacy blinds. Interconnecting doors will allow users access to more space if needed.

Greg Gaddis

Greg Gaddis

“The idea is that if a customer needed more space, they could open the window shades and doors and combine the space to make larger work areas,” said Greg Gaddis, NASA test director. “In the end, a customer could utilize a single area all the way up to the entire room.”

In November 2013, work began to reconfigure the room that supported shuttle launches for its future purpose. All of the main floor launch consoles and some upper-level consoles were removed, along with all of the shuttle-era cables and wiring beneath the floor.

Inside Firing Room 4 in the Launch Control Center at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, construction workers make adjustments to conduit in the ceiling. (NASA.gov image)

Inside Firing Room 4 in the Launch Control Center at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, construction workers make adjustments to conduit in the ceiling. (NASA.gov image)

Completely new wiring and sub-flooring has been installed. High above, the ceiling tiles have been removed, exposing conduits and wiring.

The only elements that remain are the three rows of consoles for managers and the two glass-enclosed observation rooms on the upper level, as well as the space shuttle launch plaques that cover a soffit from one side of the room to the other.

In this room, a team of NASA and contractor test directors and engineers launched 21 space shuttle missions, from STS-115 to the final mission, STS-135.

Steve Cox

Steve Cox

“The new construction shows life and we’re moving forward,” said Steve Cox, the GSDO element operations manager for the Launch Control Center.

GSDO is responsible for management of the firing rooms and ensuring that NASA and customers’ requirements will be met.

Cox said the goal is to be flexible, to be able to provide space for several users on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis. The ideal scenario is that each room would be equipped as needed to meet a user’s particular requirements. Customers would bring in their own systems and equipment.

A portion of the crawlerway, the Vehicle Assembly Building and the Launch Control Center at Kennedy Space Center are illuminated by a bright sun in this view. Inside Firing Room 4 in the Launch Control Center, efforts are underway to create a new firing room based on a multi-user concept. (NASA.gov image)

Inside Firing Room 4 in the Launch Control Center, efforts are underway to create a new firing room based on a multi-user concept. (NASA.gov image)

Construction workers are busy installing the supports so that the walls can be added. The room has been measured off and steel beams dot the floor in an orderly fashion.

After the walls go up and windows have been added, new energy-efficient LED lighting will be added throughout the firing room. New sound-absorbing ceiling tiles will be installed to provide privacy and reduce noise levels.

The walls will be painted and new carpeting will be laid over the sub-flooring. Then the window blinds will be added so that individual work areas can be further isolated.

“We have a plan. We have a purpose and a focus,” Cox said. “We’re providing the tools that will allow others to do their job more efficiently.”


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