The public is invited to tour the Chandra X-Ray Observatory's Operations Control Center (OCC) from the comfort of their own homes. Created by the Advancement and External Affairs Office at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, the tour offers visitors the ability to walk through the facility virtually, while learning about the mission of the Chandra spacecraft. Visitors will also hear from astronaut Eileen Collins, the commander of STS-93, the NASA mission that originally launched the spacecraft into orbit in 1999.
Staff at the OCC control the orbiting Chandra spacecraft and ensure its health and safety. The space telescope orbits above the Earth’s atmosphere, up to an altitude of 86,500 miles. Its mission is to detect x-ray emissions from very hot sources, such as exploded stars, black holes and galaxy clusters. The spacecraft transmits scientific data and observations back to OCC headquarters daily, where staff members process the findings and distribute them to scientists around the world for analysis.
Walk through and explore the mission control facility below.
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center manages the Chandra program. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, which is part of the Center for Astrophysics, oversees the spacecraft's research from Cambridge Massachusetts and flight operations from Burlington, Massachusetts.