PHOTOS: New Life for Apollo Mission Control Center

On July 1st, 2019 NASA's Historic Mission Control Room reopened for public tours after a two year restoration was completed. The Mission Operations Control Room or MOCR, controlled it's first mission in 1965 during Gemini 4. That mission saw the first manned spacewalk for the United States. From 1968 through 1972 the MOCR would control every manned Apollo mission.

Almost every aspect of the viewing room and the MOCR has either been restored, or reproduced, to look almost exactly as it did 50 years ago during the Apollo 11 mission. From mission flight plans to the headsets the controllers would wear; the carpet, wallpaper, ceiling tiles, the console paint, the chairs, even the ash trays have been reproduced from the original manufacturers. The screens inside the consoles are no-longer cathode ray tube screens, they are now LCD screens. All mission data displayed on the new screens has been reproduced to match what controllers saw during the mission.

Space Center Houston offers two ways to see the restored control room. First, its regular Tram Tour will take you to the control room's viewing room. Second, the Level 9 Tour will give visitors a chance to walk on the floor of the control room, but not roam between the rows of consoles.

A 15 min program narrated by former Apollo Flight Director Gene Kranz will commence as guests enter the viewing room. The program takes the visitor through 5 phases of the Apollo 11 mission: the lunar landing, Neil Armstrong's first steps on the Moon, Neil and Buzz Aldrin reading the plaque left on the Moon, President Nixon's call to the astronauts, and Apollo 11's splashdown back on Earth. During each phase, audio from the controllers is played alongside actual video footage that was seen in the room at the time, and reproductions of mission data is displayed on the large screens in the front of the room and on each console screen.

 

 

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