Crew Quarters – NASA Astronauts “Home Away from Home” Undergoes Modern Upgrades at Kennedy: Photos

Crew of STS-1 in Suit Preparation Room with tables for spacesuit hardware and medical monitoring gauges and panels with new recliner following refurbishment of the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout (O&C) Building at Kennedy Space Center. Credit: Jean Wright

Kennedy Space Center, Fl – Today the Crew Quarters are being readied for astronauts to once again launch from American soil to the vastness of space!

These iconic hallways on the 3rd floor of the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout (O&C) Building at KSC, are where past Gemini, Apollo and space shuttle astronauts took some of their last steps on Earth before heading to orbit, the moon, or to the International Space Station (ISS).

Last week I toured the Crew Quarters at the O&C as part of my interview for the BBC with author Sue Nelson, astronaut Nicole Stott and fellow Sew Sister, Brenda Blackmon, where we had rare access.

Neil Armstrong suiting up on launch day for Apollo 11 in Crew Quarters at the Kennedy Space Center. In his honor, it has been renamed the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout (O&C) Building at Kennedy Space Center. Credit: Jean Wright

First used during the Gemini 3 mission in 1965, the Crew Quarters have undergone many transformations over the years.

Iconic Normal Rockwell painting of Gemini 3 crew – John Young and Gus Grissom – inside the refurbished Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout (O&C) Building at Kennedy Space Center. Credit: Jean Wright

In April 1981, there were just 14 bedrooms for crew members. Bathrooms were shared by 2 or 3 astronauts. When crews grew to 6-7 members, and women astronauts began to fly on board, 9 additional bedrooms were created along with a bathroom for each bedroom- for a total of 24 of each.

Every attempt has been made to make the “college dorm-like” rooms as accommodating as possible. To provide a home away from home atmosphere and a chance for the astronauts to relax immediately before a launch.

The newest improvements in the 24,000 sq ft sized Crew Quarters began last year, and include : new carpeting, freshly painted walls, ceiling tiles along with new appliances and an audio/visual teleconference system.

Astronaut Suit Preparation Room with tables for spacesuit hardware and medical monitoring gauges and panels along with air hose umbilical’s and regulator connections with new recliner following refurbishment of the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout (O&C) Building at Kennedy Space Center. Credit: Jean Wright

The Suit Room, where astronauts are helped into their pressure suits before leaving for their mission, has been upgraded with new recliners and three Containment Rooms- one each for Orion, Boeing and SpaceX.

New red colored suiting recliners at left and dark brown legacy recliner at right as part of upgrades to the Crew Quarters in the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout (O&C) Building at Kennedy Space Center. Credit: Jean Wright

Helping to enhance the home-like atmosphere there, NASA held a contest this past February called, “Artists Inspire Astronauts,” with the hopes that the winning pieces would inspire them as they walk down those historic halls!

One of the judges was astronaut Nicole Stott, “The Artistic Astronaut,” who was the 1st NASA astronaut to paint in space.

Story and photographs of the winning entries will be featured soon in an upcoming Space UpClose article.

Once again, the scent of steak and scrambled eggs – a launch day tradition- will be wafting through the Crew Quarters as the astronauts anticipate the trip of a lifetime.

Not to mention a slice of that home baked mission cake!

Historic photos and artwork of former crews in suiting up preparation room including famous Norman Rockwell painting of Gemini 3 crew and Neil Armstrong suiting up for Apollo 11. Inside the refurbished Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout (O&C) Building at Kennedy Space Center. Credit: Jean Wright
Entryway to astronaut walkout ramp with dozens of mission patches above. It’s tradition to place mission stickers overhead. Outside the refurbished Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout (O&C) Building at Kennedy Space Center. Credit: Jean Wright

 

Astrovan loading area outside the astronaut walkout ramp. Outside the refurbished Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout (O&C) Building at Kennedy Space Center. Credit: Jean Wright
KSC Docent Jean Wright and astronaut Nicole Stott
Jean Wright

Jean Wright

Jean Wright: Currently a Docent at the Atlantis exhibit at the KSC Visitor Complex, photographer, speaker and textile artist. Owner of "Sew Sister Space Creations," Jean has been featured in many newspapers, radio interviews and television interviews. She is available for lectures and appearances.

One thought on “Crew Quarters – NASA Astronauts “Home Away from Home” Undergoes Modern Upgrades at Kennedy: Photos

  1. I worked @ O&C for many years cooking for the astronauts. The place looks very nice. Honoring Neil Armstrong is very appropriate

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