As seems likely to be common practice, in the first attempt at SpaceX's Crew-Demo2 launch, key operators were instructed to remain at their posts in the event of a fire alarm, while others evaluated the situation to determine if personal safety was really being threatened (in which case, mission control would evacuate, and have reduced capacity to respond to non-nominal mission conditions).

All personnel were instructed to remain in their seats from activation of the launch escape system to orbit insertion & second stage separation (which is only about an hour, so bathrooms should not be a major problem).

Have there been any examples of fire alarms/local emergencies at mission control causing issues for space missions before?

Note: Even if the answer is no, I am not challenging the wisdom of planning & preparing for combinations of situations which have not happened before, especially this one. However, I am curious if there have been past examples. For example, these might help motivate interesting discussions of alarm sensitivity calibration & preparation for secondary impacts of system shortcomings, in a situation many people can relate to and understand relatively easily.


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During the launch of STS-93, which had lots of exciting onboard anomalies, one of the projectors in the Houston Mission Control Center almost caught on fire.

It was just a couple of minutes later that one of the projectors hanging from the ceiling in Mission Control – the projectors that put up the displays on the front screens – overheated and started smoking. Quick action by the Ground Control officer to shut it off probably prevented a fire in the MCC, which would have lead to an evacuation.

Wayne Hale's Blog, STS-93, We don't need any more of those (highly recommended reading)


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