Picture Album of the
DEEP SPACE NETWORK
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The operations control center used for the early Pioneer, Ranger, and Mariner missions had been somewhat makeshift. It comprised numerous desks and phones installed in a large room near the computers used to calculate orbits and reduce telemetry data; current flight information was posted on blackboards and pinboards lining the walls. In anticipation of the many, often simultaneous deep-space missions (such as those of the Surveyor, Lunar Orbiter, and Pioneer programs) that would be occurring beginning in the mid-1960s, NASA authorized construction of a new, permanent facility (building 230 at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory) in July 1961.
The three-story Space Flight Operations Facility (SFOF) was completed in October 1963 and dedicated on May 14, 1964. In its initial configuration, the facility contained 31ęconsoles, 100 closed-circuit television cameras, and more than 200 television displays. More than 50 tons of wiring and cabling were needed to tie the communications and computer equipment together. The early missions supported in this facility were Rangers 6 to 9 and Mariner 4.
At each console in the Network Operations Control Center (shown in the photo), Network personnel maintain continuous communication with the operations supervisors at each of the Deep Space Communications complexes. The facility also houses flight-project personnel involved in spacecraft navigation and monitoring and science-payload operations.