Astronaut Crew Quarters:
Located on the top floor of the Operations and Checkout building at Kennedy Space Center, the Astronaut Crew Quarters were first used for Gus Grissom and John Young before the launch of Gemini 3 in 1965. The floor contains bedrooms for the astronauts and their support crew, a kitchen and dining room to feed them all, conference rooms, a medical clinic, gym and office space, all used in the days leading up to a launch. The most recognizable area is the Suit-Up Room where astronauts were suited-up for launch.
Follow white arrows in this panoramic tour between three areas of the Crew Quarters.
Firing Room Four – Launch Control Center:
Starting with the Apollo 4 mission in 1967, all launch operations at KSC have been managed from the Firing Rooms in the LCC. Responsibility during launches remained there until the spacecraft cleared the tower and the Mission Control Center at Johnson Space Center in Houston took over.
Firing Room Four was renovated in 2006 to handle the final years of the Space Shuttle Program and is seen here still displaying the signage from STS-135, the last mission of Atlantis.
Flame Trench from Launch Pad 39A:
Where the exhaust from the Solid Rocket Boosters was channeled away from the launch pad. The bricks bare scars from the inferno of 59 launches that have happened there.
Rubber Room from Launch Pad 39A:
Located deep under the launchpad, this Apollo era blast-proof room known as the “Rubber Room” would have provided a safe-haven to pad workers in the event of a major catastrophe. They would have accessed the area on a tunneled slide from the surface to hopefully survive the explosion of all three stages of a Saturn 5 rocket parked above them.
As featured here on National Geographic’s NewsWatch Blog.
195′ Level of Launch Pad 39A:
Astronauts departing Earth on the Space Shuttle boarded their spacecraft from this level of the launch pad. This was their last toilet and telephone, but also where they could escape the pad if something went wrong. Individual zipline baskets could speed the seven astronauts off the tower and into a shelter on the ground far below.
Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF) Two’s White Room:
The clean rooms that accessed the space shuttle orbiters were known as “white rooms.” There was one in each of the three OPF’s and on the 195′ level of the two launch pads. It became tradition for astronauts, shuttle workers and guests to sign the walls in the OPF white rooms. A few VIPs have been highlighted with links in this panorama.
Mobile Launch Platform in the VAB:
The Space Shuttle Stack was assembled on the Mobile Launch Platform in this bay of the Vehicle Assembly Building before being transported together on top of a Crawler to the launchpad.