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Command and Control in the Space Industry

What do you think when you hear command and control or “mission critical”? For many people, NASA’s mission control center is the first image that comes to mind. And while command and control centers can be implemented in nearly every industry, there’s perhaps no implementation as iconic as Apollo’s mission control.

The Original Mission Control

When planning for space exploration began, there were no models for how launches should be run. Nothing like mission control had ever existed before. Operators needed to track real-time data about space flights and keep ahead of any potential problems, but there was a catch: they wouldn’t be able to see the spacecraft. The resulting model has set the tone for command and control spaces that followed.

Mission control is the ultimate model in mission critical. Regardless of the application, the modern mission critical command and control center has several things in common with Apollo’s mission control. Whether its tracking network security or the progress of spacecraft, attention to detail is vital in these environments.  It’s this attention to detail that ensured astronauts returned home. Life or death decisions were made at NASA mission control. Today, those kinds of decisions are still made, both at NASA and at private space companies’ launch facilities.

The Modern Era of Space Travel

We have entered into an era of renewed interest in space travel. NASA is gearing up for another mission to send people to the moon. Simultaneously there are a number of companies looking to get into space exploration as a privatized venture. These include companies such as SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk who said its goals are to reduce the cost and improve the reliability of access to space, with an ultimate vision to make colonization of Mars possible. Blue Origin, founded by Jeff Bezos, has a similar goal to lower the cost of space travel and allow access for private citizens. Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic began with the idea to provide suborbital space flights to tourists and has an eventual goal to provide orbital space flights as well.

All of these organizations with the goal of space flight need launch facilities that can reliably monitor their craft. Discussing NASA’s Mission Control in an article for The New York Times, David W. Brown said “Judgment calls regarding spacewalks, station-threatening debris and solutions to mechanical malfunctions leave little margin for error.” In fact, with human lives at the mercy of such a hostile environment as outer space, failure is simply not an option.

Modern Launch Facilities

From Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, there are sites all over the country hosting space flight launches. Modern control rooms carry out the same tasks as the Apollo Mission Control did: facilitating communication with satellites, rovers, and astronauts as well as protecting the people and technology from the dangers of space. More than ever before, however, there is also an aspect of theatrics. In addition to performing impressive feats, these rooms also look impressive.

From sleek control room furniture with capacity to manage and conceal cables and equipment to high resolution video walls, there are a number of modern control room design solutions that marry incredibly high function with stunning aesthetics.

Constant Technologies has worked with private and public sector clients worldwide to build out mission critical command and control centers. With over 30 years in the industry, we have unique experience and knowledge of both the audiovisual and furniture requirements and the specific demands placed upon these installations.

Contact us today to learn more about our control room design solutions.

 

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About Constant Technologies, Inc.

Constant Technologies, Inc. provides AV integration for 24/7 video walls and custom operation center furniture. With 30+ years experience in the mission criticl field we can work with sensitive environments in the public and private sectors. Constant designs, installs and services projects of all scopes and sizes around the world. We create solutions with the highest levels of security, aesthetics and functionality in mind. Some of Constant’s other installations include: Network Operations Centers (NOC), Security Operations Centers, Social Media Command Centers, and other command and control environments.