“What was once the furthest outpost on the old frontier of the West will be the furthest outpost on the new frontier of science and space. Houston, … with its Manned Spacecraft Center, will become the heart of a large scientific and engineering community.”President John F. Kennedy, at Rice University, September 1963
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy spoke in front of a Joint Session of Congress, publicly requesting financial and broad civic support for Project Apollo — a program through which the United States would land a man on the Moon within the decade. Eight years of intensive research and development by staff at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and by key contractors across the country eventually proved Kennedy’s goal a reality, sending three men to the Moon via the Apollo 11 mission in the summer of 1969.
The Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) in Houston, now known as the Johnson Space Center, served as the focal point of activity for Project Apollo. Thousands of NASA employees, working with hundreds of contractors, coordinated the design and testing of manned spacecraft components at the MSC and communicated this work via live broadcasts and films produced on site.
While the film artifacts featured in this exhibition are less well-known than Hollywood’s Apollo 13 or The Right Stuff, they accurately document NASA’s progress towards achieving the historic Moon landing to a degree that previously has not been available to the public. Though the majority was produced by NASA, also included in the exhibit are films shot by major contractors such as North American Aviation and Rockwell, home movies made by Texas families visiting the MSC, and even a star appearance by Doris Day.
While the space program as a whole was truly national in scope, the heart of the Apollo program beat firmly at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston. Texas was where the Apollo spacecraft were designed and tested; it was where the astronauts were trained and returned after their time on the Moon; and it was their lifeline to call to while in space.
Please join us on a Journey to the Moon through Texas! Click the Apollo insignia below to enter the exhibit.