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The Steve Douglass Collection - Trip to Houston (1976)

Steve Douglass

Silent | 1976

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TAMI Tags
  •  Inside the Astrodome 
  •  Johnson Space Center 
  •  Specialty aircraft landing 
  •  Amarillo International Airport 
  •  Mercury-Redstone launch vehicle at Johnson Space Center 
 
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In this home movie from 1976, Steve Douglass of Amarillo captures his trip to Houston. After driving around the city’s downtown area and theater district, he visits the historic Astrodome. Going inside, Douglass shoots rare footage of the stadium completely empty. He next tours the museum exhibits at Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center—known as the Manned Spacecraft Center until 1973—in Houston. Artifacts include a replica of the Apollo 13 Lunar Module, astronaut pressure suits, and the hard hat worn by Lyndon B. Johnson during the facility’s construction. Douglass also captures the Mercury-Redstone rocket on display outside the Center.
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.