Space Center Houston Works to Restore Historic Mission Control
Tom Spendlove posted on August 16, 2017 |
The Webster Challenge is a fundraising campaign to restore the Apollo 11 control center before the 5...

The city of Webster, Texas has a soft spot for the NASA Johnson Space Center and the Apollo Mission Control Center. In 1985 the site was named to the National Register of Historic Places for its role in the July 20, 1969 moon landing. After three decades of visitors in the control room and a lack of federal funds the site is now listed as “threatened” by the National Parks Service. Webster, Texas pledged $3.1 million earlier this year toward control room restoration and posted an additional $400,000 as a matching grant. This “Webster Challenge” is running its successful matching grant fund drive on Kickstarter.

Historic Mission Control is a set of five rooms inside Building 30 of the Johnson Space Center campus. The Mission Operations Control Room, Display Projection Room, Simulation Control Room, Recovery Control Room, and Visitor Viewing Area are all included in the restoration. The effort is underway as preparation for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. The goal is to make the rooms look exactly as they did the day that Apollo 11 landed on the moon. This restoration requires extensive research and interviews with several controllers and technicians who were present during the Apollo 11 mission. The rooms have been unused since 2005, when they last served as Space Shuttle mission control.

The moon landing is a historic event in the history of engineering, and the campaign page is quick to point out many technological advances that developed from Apollo era technology. Kidney dialysis, anti-glare filters, freeze-dried food, house insulation, water purification, pacemakers, anesthetic gas analysis, and memory foam are fields where improvements have been made. Space Center Houston is the official visitor center for the Johnson Space Center, and pulls in 200,000 kids every year to experience STEM programs. This round of Kickstarter funding will stay open until August 19, 2017 but Space Center Houston is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and tax deductible donations are always accepted.

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