Space Center Houston
- NASA‘s Apollo Mission Control Center, which oversaw the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969, has been restored and opened to visitors in Houston, Texas.
- The restoration effort took six years and $5 million. The room is now filled with original or historically accurate consoles, paint, and buttons.
- The screens show data and images from the Apollo 11 moon landing.
- Here’s what the room looks like.
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Exactly 50 years ago, on July 16, 1969, NASA staff in the Mission Control Center at Johnson Space Center celebrated as Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins successfully blasted off of Earth, headed for the moon.
Armstrong and Aldrin stepped foot onto the lunar surface four days later, again with help from Mission Control.
The fateful control room in Houston, Texas (that’s who astronauts are talking to when they communicate with "Houston") was used to direct 42 space missions in total, starting with Gemini IV in 1965. Flight controllers in Mission Control monitored all the Apollo moon missions, including the first moonwalk. After the last space shuttle launch in 1992, NASA moved to a different control room and, later, a new building.
Over time, consoles were unplugged, paint chipped, wallpaper peeled, and equipment fell into disrepair. People with building access even occasionally popped in to eat lunch there or take buttons as souvenirs, as the New York Times reported.
But after six years and $5 million in investment, a team has restored Mission Control to its former glory. The space opened to the public on July 1, 2019 and now lives on today as it looked during Apollo 11.
Here’s what the room was like then, and what it’s like to visit now.
The restored Apollo Mission Control Center has been reupholstered and decorated with historically accurate details — including rotary phones, coffee mugs, and cigarettes — to look just as it did in July 1969.
Space Center Houston
In total, 400,000 people worked on the Apollo programs, and Mission Control was at the center of it all (on Earth, at least).
The room was cold and smelled of coffee and tobacco, according to Time.
The flight controllers in that room waved American flags as the Apollo 11 astronauts splashed down safely on Earth on July 24, 1969.
In total, the room was used during all 14 Apollo missions, nine Gemini missions, and 21 space shuttle missions.
- 8 of the surviving Apollo astronauts got together for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, and Buzz Aldrin’s outfit stole the show
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- NASA’s Apollo 11 astronauts landed on the moon 50 years ago. Here’s every historic Apollo mission explained.