The Space Flight Operations Facility (SFOF) is located at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. This facility is where spacecraft tracking and scientific data are received and processed from the JPL's Deep Space Network. The JPL from the beginning of its association with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958 has served as the primary NASA center for the unmanned exploration of the planets. The first version of the Space Flight Operations Facility was built in 1958 to support the Explorer 1 satellite. This mission control center was in a single room that housed all the communications, recording and other support necessary for Explorer 1. By 1961, with the coming of Project Ranger to explore the moon, it was obvious that a more elaborate mission control center was necessary. A new SFOF, replacing the Explorer 1 control center, was constructed as the focal point of the Deep Space Network--the hub of the vast communications network through which NASA controls its unmanned spacecraft flying in deep space.
Located in a three-story square building with a standby powerhouse extending from the basement on the west side, the new SFOF was constructed in 1963. All parts of the building, except for portions of the basement and the standby powerhouse, are air-conditioned to precise tolerances. At the heart of the SFOF is the Network Operations Control Center, which provides a centralized point for NASA's Deep Space Network. The Network Operations Control Center has two separate functional elements: Network Operations Control and Network Data Processing. The Network Operations Control Center houses consoles, video displays, projection screens, status and operation displays, closed circuit television communication links and telephones necessary to control and monitor deep space flight operations. The Network Data Processing Center houses the computers and the data storage and processing facilities necessary to support the Network Operations Control Center. Other areas of the building house offices, public viewing areas and additional support facilities for the Network Operations Control Center.