Space Flight Operations Facility
(The Center of the Universe)
The Space Flight Operations Center, a National Historic Landmark, has been operational and staffed every day since 1964.
Space Flight Operations Facility is located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area
Space Flight Operations Facility
Space Flight Operations Facility is located in California
Space Flight Operations Facility
Space Flight Operations Facility is located in the United States
Space Flight Operations Facility
LocationJet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
Coordinates34°12′3.91″N 118°10′25.01″W / 34.2010861°N 118.1736139°W / 34.2010861; -118.1736139
Area122,074 square feet[1] (11,340 m²)
Built1963; 61 years ago (1963)
NRHP reference No.85002814
Significant dates
Added to NRHPOctober 03, 1985[2]
Designated NHLOctober 3, 1985 [3]

The Space Flight Operations Facility (SFOF) is a building containing a control room and related computing and 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 advance 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 are scheduled to be online for 1 to 10 hours at a time. Notable is that the facility also processes the signal from Voyager 1 that is sent from about 11 billion miles from Earth.[6] With data feeding into the Space Flight Operations Facility from every NASA spacecraft beyond low Earth orbit, including rovers, orbiters, and deep-space probes, there is a plaque in the middle of the room designating the facility "The Center of the Universe."[7]

panaorama of the SFOF from the center of the room between the Cassini and Curiosity mission control consoles
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 Harry A. Butowsky (May 15, 1984). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Space Flight Operations Facility" (pdf). National Park Service. and Accompanying photos, exterior and interior, from 1976, 1981, and 1983 (32 KB)
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  3. ^ a b "Space Flight Operations Facility". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on November 14, 2007. Retrieved February 13, 2008.
  4. ^ "JPL - Free Public Tours". Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
  5. ^ "Deep Space Network Operations Control Center at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California". Picture Album of the DEEP SPACE NETWORK. NASA/JPL. Archived from the original on February 17, 2013. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
  6. ^ Rose, Brent (February 9, 2012). "This Is the Center of the Universe: NASA's Deep-Space Command Central". Gizmodo. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
  7. ^ Edidin, Rachel (November 14, 2013). "Inside a NASA Meetup, Where Science Fans Become Space Ambassadors". WIRED. Retrieved January 27, 2014.