NASA Will Reopen the Mission Control Room Used in Moon Landing for Public Tours

Jun 17, 2019

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After undergoing a $5 million historic preservation project, the iconic Mission Control room used in the Apollo 11 moon landing at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston will be reopening to visitors on July 1, 2019. And it has been restored to its former, 1960s glory — meaning that everything from the command consoles to the polyester-covered seats will be modeled to look just how it did on July 20, 1969, the day the US landed the first man on the moon.

The Mission Control room (or MOCR-2 Mission Operations Control Room 2) was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1985 and later decommissioned in 1992. It then, according to a report by NBC News in 2017, fell into a shocking state of disrepair after years of deterioration. The National Park Service also chimed in, designating it a “threatened facility.” Then, thanks to a collaborative effort between the nonprofit Space Center Houston and the Official Visitor Center of NASA Johnson Space Center, the landmark was able to get the repairs it needed to reopen to the public.

The refurbishment of the space, which will reopen in time for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, involved a lot of meticulous research in order to replicate its original look. “Our mission was to return the center back to July 20, 1969,” said Sandra Tetley, Johnson Space Center’s Historic Preservation Officer, according to Lonely Planet. “We did a deep dive historic study of the [center] and re-created or restored the original. This is not a Home Depot restoration.”

Interior view of the Mission Operations Control Room (MOCR) in the Mission Control Center (MCC), Building 30, during the Apollo 11 lunar extravehicular activity (EVA). The television monitor shows astronauts Neil A. Armstrong and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. on the surface of the moon. Photo by NASA.
Interior view of the Mission Operations Control Room in the Mission Control Center during the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969. The television monitor shows astronauts Neil A. Armstrong and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. on the surface of the moon. Photo by NASA.

The reconstructed mission control center will also offer guests an immersive, walk-through experience of the special day. “Visitors will be taken back to the five parts of the Apollo 11 Mission,” Tetley said. “That includes descent and landing; first steps; reading of the plaque by Aldrin and Armstrong on the lunar module; Nixon’s call after the astronauts planted the flag on the moon; then the safe recovery and return of the astronauts. You see all of that, on re-created screens. All the footage is 100 percent accurate. You’re back there in the day.”

To celebrate the reopening of the national landmark, there will be a private ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 28, 2019, with the public, grand opening occurring on July 1. Visitors will be able to view the center as a part of Space Center Houston’s NASA Tram Tour, which you can purchase tickets for here. An adult ticket costs $29.95, while admission for kids is $24.95.

Featured photo courtesy NASA.

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