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Control Room Design Secrets of the Best NASA Architects

Control Room Design for Mission Critical Facilities

Control room design for mission control facilities is an important topic. Being a pilot as well as an architect gives me insight into the requirements you need in a control room.

Facilities Like a Cockpit

Being in a mission control facility is almost like being in the cockpit of an airplane as you:

  • Control systems
  • Watch equipment
  • Check results and data

You’re monitoring facilities, in this case from outer space, or that are airborne. And when you’re monitoring that, you are multitasking in a mission control facility. All kinds of equipment, computers, monitors are also feeding you data to interpret.

Dependable Infrastructure

To do that, you also need an infrastructure that you can depend on. And this infrastructure needs to be able to be dependable 24/7.

Make sure that all the infrastructure can support the equipment, meaning:

  • Electrical
  • Power
  • Lighting
  • Data
  • Mechanical systems
  • Structural systems

Consider a control room design in a way that you can depend on them while the users are operating. Dependability 24/7 is the most important part of designing a control room.

Architecture for End-Users

Getting the users to decide what they need within the facility is critical. So, a lot of times they don’t know, and they depend on our input. Also, being able to draw from them the data and the use of that facility is key.

Control Room Design

Further, the adjacency of where the activities are happening, such as:

  • Who needs to be next to who?
  • How many users?
  • What equipment will be in that facility?

You must accommodate the amount of room, but also be able to cool the facility to maintain the comfort of the users.

Many things go into control room design that from the get-go we don’t have all the answers. And we need to be able to design and by drawing out the information from the users.

Control Room Design for NASA

The most recent control room design that we’ve done has been at NASA. And the Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base was a facility we designed as well. Also, these ships are not only flying around the area of Edwards Air Force Base, but they are also performing experiments. And there’s a lot of data that needs to process on the servers for future analysis.

So, the amount of infrastructure involved in control room design is quite extensive. And the planning and thought of how it will work for the user is something to consider from the start.

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