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NASA gets fancy digital countdown display, retires Apollo clock

NASA’s new countdown clock for space missions is a lot like a football stadium display and way more advanced than the old analog one it’s replacing.

The new countdown display undergoes testing – NASA

NASA is a master of anticipation. There’s a dramatic countdown before every launch. We all know the famous sequence: “10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0… liftoff!”

If you’ve ever watched footage of an Apollo or shuttle launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, then you should be familiar with the space agency’s famous countdown clock, an analog behemoth that accompanied the launch of many key space missions.

With work on the next-generation human spaceflight capsule Orion in full swing, NASA decided it was time to also bring the countdown clock into the modern era. The old analog clock has been removed and replaced with a 26-foot-wide digital display that can broadcast video as well as handle countdown duties. NASA describes it as being more like a stadium television, rather than a wristwatch.