NASA restored its historic Control Center and now sports the glorious retro look of when man landed on the Moon in 1969
This July 20 will be fulfilled 50 years since the moon landing of the Apollo 11 mission, which caused astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to step on the surface of the Moon for the first time. Being quite a feat for humanity, NASA is preparing various events to commemorate that moment. One such event is the restoration of the legendary Control Center in Houston.
The Control center It began operations in 1965 and was a very important piece for the Apollo missions, since from there many of the aspects that managed to get man to the Moon were handled and resolved. And now for the first time in 50 years, NASA has restored it to its original look full of that retro flair.
A key piece in the history of space exploration
The Control Center, located at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, was the heart of NASA for several years, which served, from its opening in 1965 to its closure in 1992, as a key site for NASA missions. Gemini, Apollo, Apollo / Soyuz, Skylab and Space Shuttle programs. Here there were great achievements, but also failures and harsh tragedies.
In 1985, the United States National Park Service designated this room as National hystoric monument. Since 1992, following the STS-53 mission of the space shuttle Discovery, the Control Center has been silent for space operations, but has been open through guided tours offered to visitors to Space Center Houston.
In 2018, the Center was renamed ‘Christopher C. Kraft Jr.’, to pay tribute to the pioneer in human space flight control concepts.
Control Control is divided into three zones: the Operations Control Room, where the iconic consoles and screens are; the Visitors ‘Room, where the astronauts’ relatives could see what was happening in real time; and the Simulation Room, which was used for tests and is where error messages and various problems were resolved.
A historic restoration to celebrate 50 years since the arrival of man on the Moon
In 2017, the Manned Space Flight Education Foundation Inc., which is the non-profit organization that operates Space Center Houston and its visitor center, announced the restoration project for the Control Center, thus initiating planning and fundraising. In total, $ 5 million was needed for the project.
The work represented more than five years of research and interviews with former flight controllers who worked in the Control Center, as well as some original members of the teams of some missions that were carried out in this room, who also helped with the restoration work.
Some of the pieces of the Control Room, the Simulation Room and the Visitor Room are original artifacts that have been restored. Other pieces were based on original samples and recreated, such as paint and the carpet, and even more specific details such as coffee cups, clothing and ashtrays were worked on.
An important part of the restoration was the interviews with the flight controllers, who served to complete the missing details, and which they already had from photos and videos of that time, and the objective was not only to restore the room, but recreate the exact moment when Neil Armstrong stepped on the surface of the Moon.
Adam Graves, project manager, mentioned:
“Thanks to the interviews with the 25 flight controllers, we learned what they were doing back then, which buttons on the consoles were on or which they interacted with the most. We even wrote down what they told us about the lighting in the room, you know, whether it was dark or very bright, all these specific details we used to reconstruct it. “
Once you have all the information, restoration work took seven months and they were finally finished this past June 25. The restoration team mentions that the room itself will be “alive”, since the clocks will coincide with the map that traces the 1969 moon landing, the images of the CBS moon landing will be projected in the visitors gallery, and the video of Neil Armstrong stepping on the Moon will appear on the screens as he appeared to flight controllers.
The idea is that when we enter the room, we believe that we are really entering the Houston Control Center on July 20, 1969. All that is seen and heard in the room will be from the day the man reached the Moon, where the talks of the flight controllers and other details will be included.
Jim Thornton, manager of the restoration project, mentioned:
“By restoring the Apollo Mission Control Center, NASA is preserving the rich history of a remarkable achievement in manned space travel. This will not only help share our story with visitors from around the world, but will also remember the current employees, who are planning missions to send humans back to the Moon and then later to Mars, that anything is possible and that we are standing on the shoulders of giants. “
NASA has not yet announced the date on which the restored Control Center will be open to the public again, as it is expected that there will be a tribute event on July 20, when the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the man to the moon.