About Apollo Mission Control
Apollo Mission Control at NASA Johnson Space Center is the site where NASA’s flight control team planned, trained and executed a series of human spaceflight missions that’s goal were to land a man on the Moon and return him safely to Earth. On July 20, 1969, the Apollo 11 mission achieved that historic goal – one of the most significant achievements in human history. In 1985, Historic Mission Control, a “cathedral of engineering,” was named to the National Register of Historic Places in recognition of its historical significance.
Unlimited visitor access and declining budgets took a toll on this much-revered site. The result was that the condition of the Apollo Mission Control deteriorated to the point that the National Park Service listed it as “threatened” in 2015.
With the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 approaching, restoration of Apollo Mission Control became increasingly urgent.
Retired Historic Mission Control operations team members worked with Space Center Houston to secure the funds needed to restore the site and create a world-class visitor experience that will celebrate human space exploration and inspire future generations through this amazing story of technological and human achievement.
Legendary flight director Gene Kranz and City of Webster mayor Donna Rogers
In 2016, Space Center Houston launched a $5 million campaign to fully restore and sustain this iconic place.
CITY OF WEBSTER’S LEAD GIFT
The nearby City of Webster, Texas, was home to many of the flight controllers, engineers, scientists and other Apollo-program personnel during the heyday of Apollo.
In early 2017, the City of Webster stepped forward with a lead gift of $3.1 million to support the On a Mission campaign.
On top of this major contribution, City of Webster added a $400,000 challenge grant to encourage broad public participation in a crowdfunding campaign for the project.
Space Center Houston hosted its first-ever Kickstarter campaign, “Webster Challenge: Restore Historic Mission Control,” from July 20 – August 19, 2017.
In the campaign’s limited 30-day timespan, 4,251 backers from 25 countries pledged more than double the campaign’s initial $250,000 Kickstarter goal, rocketing the campaign past the city of Webster matching funds and raising nearly $507,000 in support of the restoration.
Beyond the Kickstarter, generous people from Houston and around the world have continued to support Space Center Houston’s mission to help restore NASA’s historic Apollo Mission Control Center.
City of Webster officials at the 2018 To The Moon and Beyond Luncheon
At the nonprofit’s second biennial luncheon in October 2018, Space Center Houston spotlighted the On a Mission campaign and paid special tribute to legendary NASA flight director Gene Kranz. The event highlighted Mr. Kranz’ extraordinary contributions to human space exploration and his leadership in the Apollo Mission Control restoration project at NASA Johnson Space Center.
Space Center Houston designated the event proceeds to support On a Mission and thus, the restoration of this National Historic Landmark. In addition to its project support, the luncheon’s live appeal sought contributions from community and business leaders to establish The Gene Kranz Scholarship Fund. More than $40,000 was donated to the fund, which will allow Space Center Houston to provide students ages 11-14 with scholarships to Space Center University®, a week-long hands-on training program helps students learn about career paths as they strengthen the skills necessary to ensure the future of NASA and other space and science initiatives.
Together, we have achieved something extraordinary.
We are beyond the Moon with gratitude to each supporter who contributed to the success of this important project. Thanks to this successful campaign and the complementing support of space enthusiasts from around the globe, Space Center Houston has raised close to $4.5 million toward On a Mission’s $5M goal.
The words of Gene Kranz, spoken in the film “Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo,” seem fitting:
“Somehow…when we came together we were greater than the sum of our parts…we were better than we ever expected to be; we were more successful than we expected to be.”
We thank each contributor to the On a Mission campaign for your support. We know we could not have achieved this level of success without you.
Somehow…when we came together we were greater than the sum of our parts…we were better than we ever expected to be; we were more successful than we expected to be.
– Legendary flight director Gene Kranz
The restoration work, led by NASA Johnson Space Center, restored flight control consoles and reactivated wall displays with projections to recreate Apollo-era use of the screens.
It focused on all five areas of Mission Control and accurately portrays how the area looked the moment the first Moon landing occurred on July 20, 1969. These areas include the Historic Mission Operations Control Room, the summary display projection room (known as the “bat cave”), the Simulation Control Room, the Recovery Operations Control Room (used to coordinate support following splashdown) and the Visitors Viewing Area (family and VIP observation).
NASA Johnson Space Center held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, June 28, 2019, marking the completion of the restoration and the restart of the room’s use, now to re-stage the Apollo 11 first Moon landing during daily public tours.
Space Center Houston announced the launch of public tours for Apollo Mission Control at NASA Johnson Space Center on July 1, 2019.
Visit Space Center Houston and schedule your tour to see Mission Control the way it looked on the day man landed on the Moon.
For more information about the On a Mission campaign or to see a more comprehensive overview of the restoration visit our restoration webpage.
Apollo Mission Control ribbon cutting June 28, 2019