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ASTP U.S. Status Report, April 1974

Hardin-Simmons University Library

Sound | 1974

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  •  Scientists and engineers from the Soviet Union arrive at Johnson Space Center in Houston for joint testing of the docking systems 
  •  Fabrication of docking modules 
  •  Astronauts review the modifications to the Apollo Command and Service Module 
  •  Preparations of the Apollo spacecraft designated for the mission 
  •  Tests of the communications equipment 
 
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This government film gives a thorough review of progress made towards the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) by April 1974. Produced for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the report focuses on American efforts, including testing of docking and communication systems as well as the manufacture of docking modules. All testing procedures take place at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, with Soviet scientists and engineers joining NASA personnel at the facility. Conducted in July 1975, the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project was the first international manned space mission, involving the docking of an American Apollo spacecraft with a Soviet Soyuz one.
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.