On a Mission: Restoring Historic Mission Control

NASA’s Historic Apollo Mission Control is soon to be reborn.

The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to first land a man on the moon will take place in 2019. Its Mission Control — where NASA’s flight control team planned, trained and executed decades of Gemini, Apollo and early shuttle human spaceflight missions — is in acute need of restoration.

In preparation for the anniversary, Space Center Houston has launched a $5 million campaign to raise funds to help support a major restoration of the room. Called “On a Mission: Restoring Historic Mission Control,” $3.5 million has been raised through a generous lead gift from the City of Webster. You can help restore this national landmark by making a gift of any size.

Space Center Houston conducted a crowdfunding effort called “The Webster Challenge: Restore Historic Mission Control” July 20 through Aug. 19 on Kickstarter. The Webster Challenge invited people from around the world to donate over a 30-day period to raise funds for the restoration. 4,251 people gave to our Kickstarter, pledging $506,905, of which $400,000 will be generously matched by the City of Webster. Help us complete our $5 million goal.

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The restoration of the room, also called the Mission Operations Control Room (MOCR), will feature the authentic consoles used to monitor nine Gemini, all Apollo moon missions and 21 space shuttle missions. They include the flight of Apollo 11 that first landed men on the moon, the Apollo 13 mission that famously experienced an in-flight emergency and 40 other space missions.

This important site was named in 1985 to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in recognition of its historical significance and worthiness of preservation. Only through the efforts of Space Center Houston can the general public visit the control room area and experience its authenticity.

More than just a site where history was made, the Historic Mission Control is a symbol of the dedicated team that made history over and over. They did so through a process that continues to inspire generations of scientists, engineers and astronauts to tackle the technological and scientific challenges of today and tomorrow.

The restoration of the National Historic Landmark will be coordinated by NASA Johnson Space Center with funds raised by the nonprofit Manned Space Flight Education Foundation, which owns and operates Space Center Houston, the official JSC visitor center.

A fully restored Mission Control will have an inestimable value to future educational programs that encourage young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

City of Webster gift
The Webster City Council approved a $3.5 million commitment as a lead gift to its longtime partner Space Center Houston to help fund the restoration of NASA’s Historic Mission Control.

“The city of Webster, its hoteliers and hospitality partners are dedicated to sustaining and enhancing the community. This donation … is one way to provide exceptional learning opportunities that attract people from around the world.”
– Donna Rogers, Webster mayor

Webster’s gift is the largest philanthropic gift in the history of Space Center Houston. Although it is a major achievement for the restoration efforts, another $1.5 million remains to be raised to achieve the goal. To motivate additional support, $400,000 of the city of Webster’s gift is directed as a 1:1 challenge for a crowdfunding campaign to invite the public to help with the restoration and raise the additional funds.

Since the city of Webster was incorporated in 1958, NASA has served as a catalyst to grow the city and the region. Webster is home to more than 2,200 business – many of which are aerospace companies working on NASA’s current deep space missions and the daily operations for the International Space Station. The city’s global importance to space exploration will continue through this generous gift.

Commemorative mission patch

The Apollo Mission Control commemorative patch celebrates the iconic control center from which the historic Apollo 11 lunar landing was controlled. The patch was designed by graphic artist and space enthusiast Michael Okuda for Space Center Houston. Okuda is best known for his work designing the LCARS (Library Computer Access/Retrieval System) displays for “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (ST:TNG) and literally writing the “ST:TNG Technical Manual.” He also has designed quite a few NASA mission patches in his career and graciously lent his services to this project to create a commemorative mission patch for the Webster Challenge: Restore Mission Control.

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Apollo Infographics