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Manned Space Flight Progress Report, No. 28 - January-April 1970

Hardin-Simmons University Library

Sound | 1970

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  •  Dr. Dale Myers served as Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight at NASA from 1969 to 1974. During that time he earned three NASA Distinguished Service Medals. Myers returned to NASA following the Challenger disaster, serving as Deputy Administrator from 1986 to 1989. He died in 2015 at the age of 93. 
  •  The first mission anomaly occurs 
  •  “Houston, we’ve had a problem.”  
  •  Findings of the Apollo 13 Review Board 
  •  Apollo 11 Lunar Science Conference in Houston 
  •  Preparations for Skylab, formerly known as the Apollo Applications Program 
  •  Concept designs for the Space Shuttle 
  •  Drop tests at White Sands Missile Range 
 
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Produced by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, this government film looks at the progress made by the manned spaceflight program from January to April 1970. The report begins with the most important happening from the period: Apollo 13. Launched on April 11, 1970, the mission was to be the third to land on the Moon. 55 hours and 55 minutes into flight, however, an oxygen tank exploded in the Service Module, depleting the crew’s oxygen supply and causing multiple fuel cells to fail. NASA soon aborted the original mission, and the safe return and landing of the crew became the primary objective. The film shows how NASA personnel and the Apollo 13 crew deftly handled the life-threatening incident, with flight controllers and other astronauts offering round-the-clock support at Mission Control. Findings from the subsequent Apollo 13 Review Board are also explained. Next, the film details some of the scientific discoveries shared at the inaugural Lunar Science Conference in Houston. Finally, it reviews preparations for Skylab, the first space station, and concept designs for the future Space Shuttle program.
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.