Houston celebrates 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing


Michele Racioppi


Docomomo US staff


News, houston, Newsletter July 2019
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July 20th, 2019 is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing, which was managed from the Mission Control Center at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The Mission Control Center has been recently restored (thanks to everyone who helped us find those chairs). Two Houston Mod Board Members led the architectural team in the restoration effort: David Bucek, FAIA and Delaney Harris-Finch of Stern Bucek Architects. Also key to the preservation project were Restoration Project Manager Jim Thornton and Sandra Tetley, the historic preservation officer at the Johnson Space Center.

The Johnson Space Center (originally known as the Manned Spacecraft Center) was designed by Charles Luckman, who is known for his role in overseeing the building of the Lever Building as CEO of the Lever Company, following which he went on to start his own architectural practice. The Mission Control Center, located in Building 30, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1985. It was used through 1992, after which it fell into a state of neglect. In 2017, spurred on people such as Gene Kranz, who was Flight Director during the Apollo 11 and 13 missions, Space Center Houston launched a campaign to raise $5 million to help restore the center in time for its anniversary.

NASA can not accept funds earmarked for specific purposes, leading to another first for the space program. It is "the first time the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation has used the special authority granted to it by the National Historic Preservation Act that enables it to accept private donations and transfer them to other federal agencies for preservation purposes," according to Chairman Milford Wayne Donaldson.

Here's a short clip from the AP about the project:


And here's a longer video (about 17 minutes) from Old Strand Video Productions Saving History series for PBS featuring the restoration: