Space Flight Operations Facility

Space Flight Operations Facility

Space Flight Operations Facility
Interior photograph of the control room at the Space Flight Operations Facility, with tables of monitors and workstations arrayed facing several large wall-mounted monitors.
Space Flight Operations Facility is located in California
Space Flight Operations Facility
Location Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
Area 122,074 square feet[1]
Built 1963
Architect NASA
Governing body NASA
NRHP Reference # 85002814
Significant dates
Added to NRHP October 03, 1985[2]
Designated NHL

October 3, 1985


Space Flight Operations Facility (SFOF) is a control room and related communications equipment areas at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. NASA's Deep Space Network is operated from this facility. The SFOF has monitored and controlled all interplanetary and deep space exploration for NASA and other international space agencies since 1963. The facility also acted as a backup communications facility for Apollo missions.[1]

It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1985 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.[1][3]

Public tours are available with advanced planning.[4]


In the early years, the operations control center of the Deep Space Network did not have a permanent facility. It was a makeshift setup with numerous desks and phones installed in a large room near the computers used to calculate orbits. In July 1961, NASA started the construction of the permanent facility, Space Flight Operations Facility (SFOF). The facility was completed in October 1963 dedicated on May 14, 1964. In the initial setup of the SFOF, there were 31 consoles, 100 closed-circuit television cameras, and more than 200 television displays to support Ranger 6 to Ranger 9 and Mariner 4.[5]

Current operations

The Center of the Universe plaque

As of 2012, there were 22 spacecraft monitored from this facility. Depending on the operations of the spacecraft, they were scheduled to be online for 1 to 10 hours at a time. The facility also process the signal from Voyager 1 at about 11 billion miles from Earth.[6] With the data feeding into the Space Flight Operations Facility from every NASA spacecraft beyond low earth orbit, whether they are rovers, orbiters, or deep-space probes, there is a plaque in the middle of the room to dedicate the facility as the center of the universe.[7]

panaorama of the SFOF from the center of the room between the  Cassini and Curiosity mission control consoles

See also

A list of other Deep Space Network facilities:


  1. ^ a b c and Accompanying photos, exterior and interior, from 1976, 1981, and 1983 PDF (32 KB)
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ Public Tours at JPL
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^

External links

  • Official Site
  • Travel ItineraryDiscover Our Shared HeritageAviation: From Sand Dunes to Sonic Booms, a National Park Service
  • Man in Space, a NHL Theme study