Apollo Mission Control restoration moves forward

Mission Control, shown on April 13, 1970, during the Apollo 13 mission /  photo courtesy of NASA

Mission Control, shown on April 13, 1970, during the Apollo 13 mission / photo courtesy of NASA

Preservation Houston is helping NASA reach its goal of restoring Apollo Mission Control Center at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (JSC) in time for the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, which will be commemorated on July 20, 2019. Mission Control is a designated National Historic Landmark, but deferred maintenance and unrestricted access led the National Park Service to categorize the facility as "threatened."

NASA has designated Preservation Houston an Interested Party in the project, which means PH has an official role commenting on the plans. The comprehensive restoration will include permanently maintaining the existing Apollo program materials and replacing missing features. The ultimate goal of the project is to "evoke powerful emotional and intellectual responses from visitors."

The plan, which was developed in cooperation with the National Park Service, calls for the restoration of the Mission Operations Control Room to its appearance at the moment of the moon landing. Period ashtrays, coffee mugs and office supplies will be scattered on the original control consoles, which will be restored and reanimated. The detailed proposal includes recreating fast food containers of the era to stack around the room.

Other spaces to be restored are the Visitors Viewing Room and Summary Display Projection Room (aka "the Bat Cave"). A Visitor Experience Plan is also being developed in cooperation with Space Center Houston, the nonprofit organization responsible for visitor services at JSC.