As the world watched the outcome of Apollo 11, the first attempted lunar landing, employees in the NASA Mission Control Center held their breaths during the entire descent. Everyone anxiously awaited the confirmation of a safe arrival from its Apollo crew.
At approximately 3:18 p.m. (CT) on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong’s famous words were forever ingrained in history: “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.” (Click here to play audio recording.)
Once word was received from the lunar module, capsule communicator (CAPCOM) Charlie Duke responded to Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. He expressed the feelings of relief and excitement that were felt in Mission Control and around the world:“Roger, Tranquility. We copy you on the ground. You’ve got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We’re breathing again. Thanks a lot.”
This is the facility where NASA monitored nine Gemini and all Apollo lunar missions, including the historic Apollo 11 trip to the moon and the final Apollo 17 trip to the same lunar body. It is located in Building 30 of NASA Johnson Space Center.
In fact, from this room, the NASA team exercised full mission control of Apollo 11 from launch and liftoff at the Kennedy Space Center to splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. You can feel the history in the room from the monitors to the rotary dial phones.
The Gemini and Apollo space programs were only the beginning for mission control; it has been the center for all communications between Earth and our human spaceflight missions. Learn more about the modern Mission Control Center.
Please note that on weekends Historic Mission Control may not be available for tours. This is one stop on an open-air tram tour. Please monitor weather and plan accordingly. The NASA Tram Tour visits working government facilities which are subject to availability. Tours may be rerouted at a moment’s notice.
On A Mission: Restoring Historic Mission Control
Learn about the extensive efforts to restore this national treasure in time for the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing in 2019 and how you can help.