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Johnson Space Center

  • Nearly 50 years ago, we landed on the moon. “We came in peace for all mankind,” the immortal plaque reads:

    NASA, CC.

    Indeed we did we come in peace. An incredible achievement. The Johnson Space Center played an important part in the Apollo missions. The JSC was historic backdrop where Gene Kranz was Flight Director for 33 missions. One of which landed the first men on the moon. And of course Apollo 13, the terrifying mission in which a catastrophic oxygen tank explosion nearly ended in tragedy, but thanks to NASA engineers and Kranz, were able to return safely. From NPR:

    The room where Kranz directed some of NASA’s most historic missions, heralding U.S. exploration of space, was decommissioned in 1992. Since then, it had become a stop on guided tours of the space center, but fallen into disrepair. Kranz has led a $5 million dollar, multi-year effort to restore Mission Control in time for the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing on July 20.

    “I walked into that room last Monday for the first time when it was fully operational, and it was dynamite. I literally wept,” Kranz said in an interview with NPR. “The emotional surge at that moment was incredible. I walked down on the floor, and when we did the ribbon cutting the last two days, believe it or not, I could hear the people talking in that room from 50 years ago. I could hear the controllers talking.”

    Incredibly, the preservation went above and beyond — Sandra Tetley, the Johnson Space Center preservation officer worked meticulously to outfit the control room with ephemera such as paper cups, ash trays, coffee pots and other items from the 60s from eBay. They literally salvaged everything:

    The @NASA_Johnson Twitter account even put together a short reel about the restoration:

    Photo of Gene Kranz from NPR

    The last time I visited the JSC, Mission Control was a dusty, dimly lit reproduction set — only visible from afar. The CRTs, knobs and switches were disabled, with no visible telemetry charts or buzzing vacuum tubes. But, this modern restoration (photo above) looks so much fun, and just looks at Kranz smile! Simply, amazing to behold. If you ever get a chance, visit the Johnson Space Center and check it out. Apart from Mission Control, it’s an amazing place, where people from far and wide can come to learn or get inspired about the Apollo missions, rockets, the ISS, spacewalks, aeronautical engineering and science.