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 Hotel Occupancy Tax Fund. 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.
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.
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.
Operation Restoration is Underway
Space Center Houston’s mission to help restore NASA’s Historic Mission Control began in January with a major phase of the restoration to restore the flight control consoles used by the NASA flight controllers to manage the first missions to the moon.
The first set of flight control consoles was shipped out to be restored at the Cosmosphere International SciEd Center & Space Museum in Hutchinson, Kansas.
NASA historians interviewed flight directors as part of the process to their research to ensure the historical of the consoles and to learn how they reacted to the consoles.
The historic room will be recreated to look like it did in the Apollo era. Led by NASA Johnson Space Center, the effort will restore not only the flight control consoles, but will reactivate wall displays with projections of the Apollo-era. It will focus on all five areas of Mission Control to accurately portray how the area looked the moment the first moon landing occurred on July 20, 1969.
The restoration is set to be completed by the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 in July 2019.
Support is still needed to help finish this project and provide extraordinary learning opportunities for generations to come. You can be a part of the mission to restore Historic Mission Control.
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