News Release

Webster Gives $3.5 million to Help Restore Historic Mission Control

HOUSTON, April 5, 2017 – The Webster City Council approved a $3.5 million commitment last night as a lead gift to its longtime partner Space Center Houston to help fund the restoration of NASA’s Historic Mission Control used during the Gemini, Apollo and Shuttle eras.

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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. The $5 million campaign is called “On a Mission: Restoring Historic Mission Control.”

“The city of Webster, its hoteliers and hospitality partners are dedicated to sustaining and enhancing the community with the rich history, innovation and outstanding achievements in space exploration that are happening here,” said Webster Mayor Donna Rogers. “This donation from our Hotel Occupancy Tax Fund is one way to provide exceptional learning opportunities that attract people from around the world.”  

NASA began celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo era earlier this year and it culminates in 2019 with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. The historic Mission Operations Control Room used during those missions is in acute need of restoration.

“This gift helps us preserve a significant piece of history and provides an extraordinary learning opportunity to inspire people of all ages with the wonders of space exploration,” said William T. Harris, President and CEO of the Manned Space Flight Education Foundation and Space Center Houston. “We are grateful to the city of Webster for its continued support and for keeping this symbol of ingenuity and perseverance alive for generations to come.”

It 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 an additional $400,000.

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.

Donate to the “On a Mission” campaign by visiting spacecenter.org/on-a-mission.

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The Manned Space Flight Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit science and space learning center with extensive educational programs. Space Center Houston is the cornerstone of its mission to inspire all generations through the wonders of space exploration. The center draws more than 1 million visitors annually, was called “The Big Draw” by USA Today and generates a $73 million annual economic impact in the greater Houston area. Space Center Houston is Houston’s first and only Smithsonian Affiliate and the Official Visitor Center of NASA Johnson Space Center. More than 200,000 youth from around the world visit the center annually to experience our educational space museum with more than 400 things to see and experience. For more information, go to www.spacecenter.org.

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