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Manned Spacecraft Center Progress Report, January-July 1969

Hardin-Simmons University Library

Sound | 1969

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TAMI Tags
  •  Apollo 9 
  •  Apollo 10 
  •  Astronaut training at the Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) in Houston 
  •  The crew practice recovery exercises off the coast of Galveston 
  •  The Lunar Receiving Laboratory at MSC 
  •  Neil Armstrong pilots the Lunar Landing Training Vehicle at Ellington Air Force Base in Houston 
  •  Launch on July 16, 1969 
  •  Inside the Mission Control Center at MSC 
  •  The moment of truth 
  •   “The Eagle has landed.” 
  •  Telephone call from President Richard Nixon 
  •  Ascent and rendezvous 
  •  American flags and cigars for everyone! 
  •  Analysis of lunar samples 
  •  An unqualified success 
 
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Produced by the Houston-based A-V Corporation for NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC), this government film reviews developments in its space program between January and July 1969, arguably “the most important period in the history of the Manned Spacecraft Center,” as the narrator puts it. After a brief overview of the Apollo 9 and 10 missions, the film quickly gets to the main event: Apollo 11, the first lunar-landing mission launched on July 16, 1969. The film also gives a good overview of Mission Control at the MSC. "If the spacecraft in flight is the heart of the mission," the narrator asserts, "the nerve center is this tense room of low modulated voices, muted flickering lights, and electronic hum." As for the actual mission, this film covers it from launch to lunar landing to splashdown, and then continues through to post-mission operations at the Lunar Receiving Laboratory, including a brief look at the lunar research made possible by the Apollo 11 mission.
As the scope of the American space program grew, NASA’s Space Task Group realized it would need to expand into its own facility if it were to successfully land a man on the Moon. In 1961, the agency’s selection team chose a 1,000-acre cow pasture in Houston, Texas, as the proposed center’s location site, owing to its access to water transport and commercial jet service, moderate climate, and proximity to Rice University. In September 1963, the facility opened as the Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC). 
 
The Center became the focal point of NASA’s manned spaceflight program, developing spacecraft for Projects Gemini and Apollo, selecting and training astronauts, and operating the Lunar Receiving Laboratory. Beginning with Gemini 4 in June 1965, MSC’s Mission Control Center also took over flight control duties from the Mercury Control Center at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. As a result, the facility managed all subsequent manned space missions, including those related to Projects Gemini and Apollo, the Apollo Applications Program, the Space Shuttle Orbiters, and the International Space Station.
 
In 1973, the MSC was renamed in honor of the late President and Texas native Lyndon B. Johnson. (As Senate Majority Leader, Johnson sponsored the 1958 legislation that established NASA.) The Center continues to lead NASA’s efforts in space exploration, training both American and international astronauts, managing missions to and from the International Space Station, and operating scientific and medical research programs.