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Col. James McDivitt on Apollo 11 (1970)

KPRC-TV

Sound | 1970

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TAMI Tags
  •  On simulating the experience of space travel during astronaut training 
  •  How the flight crew felt about going to the Moon 
  •  What was gained from Apollo 11 
  •  On the possibility of a bicentennial “blowout” from NASA 
 
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In these outtakes for Houston’s KPRC-TV, reporter Bill Springer interviews then Colonel James McDivitt about preparations for and takeaways from Apollo 11. Conducted on July 16, 1970, the conversation marked the first anniversary of the mission’s launch. McDivitt was manager of Lunar Landing Operations during Apollo 11 and manager of the Apollo Spacecraft Program during Apollos 12 through 16. A former NASA astronaut himself, he flew on Gemini 4 and Apollo 9. The interview seemingly takes place in McDivitt’s office at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston.
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.