A big piece of Texas/Human history got cleaned, polished, buffed and looks shiny and new! The original Mission Control at Johnson Space Center in Houston got the makeover treatment over the past six years and I was fortunate to be one of the people who got to see the unveiling recently.
The project was done by a company called GRAVitate which, among other things, works on historical restoration projects. Over the course of several years every part of Mission Control was cleaned and refurbished or completely refabricated to an exact match (or just about) from fifty years ago. This included not just the consoles, but the wall paper, carpet, ash trays and coffee cups. Here's a few close up looks at the work areas:
This was the last time anyone would be allowed to get this close to the consoles. They're now roped off with an alarm so feel free to be jealous. You'll notice that the screens and buttons are illuminated. These are recreations of what you would see during the Apollo missions.
The viewing room has also been restored. A lot of people felt it necessary to take "souvenirs" like fabric from the chairs and the tops of ash trays in the back of the chairs. Replacements for those tops were 3D printed to be an exact match. But there were other things that guest felt compelled to leave behind...
Here's a great big bag of gum that was scraped off the Mission Control viewing room chairs. It's all part of the glamorous life of a historical preservationist. This was on display as a part of the exhibit for the Ribbon Cutting ceremony.
Manning the giant scissors are Jim Thornton (Project Manager), Mark Geyer (JSC Director), William Harris (CEO Space Center Houston), Milford Wayne Donaldson (Advisory Council of Historic Preservation), Sandra Tetley (JSC Historic Preservation Officer), Ed Fendell (Apollo Flight Controller) and Gene Kranz (Apollo Flight Director...he is the real life guy that Ed Harris played in the film Apollo 13). This was a "big deal" kind of crowd so I almost wanted to see a bigger pair of scissors.
My thanks again to Adam, Natalie and the rest of the team at GRAVitate for letting me attend this historic event and shoot video!