Test engineers manned the 150 console positions in Area B of the Firing Room. After the Saturn launch vehicle's stages were stacked in the VAB, all tests on the individual stages, or the launch vehicle as an integrated system, were conducted from the Firing Room.
Engineers in Area B could also control the launch support equipment on the mobile launcher and the launch pad from the Firing Room. This included systems such as the Propellant Tanking Computer System, the holddown arms and tail services masts, and the swing arms.
The Saturn V's guidance and flight computers could be loaded and tested from the panels on the left side of rows C and D.
These charts and the photo above show the Area B configuration during the AS-500F and AS-501 tests. Some panels were moved or replaced in later missions, but the overall layout of the FIring Room remained consistent for Saturn V missions.
Firing Room 3 was adapted for missions which flew a Saturn IB after 1968 (the Skylab manned missions and Apollo-Soyuz). S-IC panels were not used. S-II panels in row A were replaced or modified to support the Chrysler S-IB stage.
Throughout 2015, we will be updating this site with detailed information about each control console in Area B, with photographs and descriptions! Check back often.
Reconfiguration of control panels
As the Apollo/Saturn program evolved, the Firing Room control panels were occasionally reconfigured, modified, or moved. GE performed the modifications.
This example shows the IU Measuring and Tracking console at position BE1 (Area B, Row E, 1st station). At left, the console as it appeared in late 1966, during the checkout of AS-500F.
At right is the same console during the Apollo 8 CDDT. Note that the panel has been moved up in the console and that an OIS (intercom) panel has been added to the console at bottom. It also appears that some of the colored dots next to switches and indicators have been removed. The dots were color-coded as a quick visual cue as to whether the indicator or switch referred to a system on the flight hardware or the ground support equipment.
Console BE3: NASA engineer Jason Rudisill (Launch Instrumentation Systems Division) at the Q-Angle of Attack panel, Apollo 8 CDDT.