Mission Control Center, Manned Spacecraft Center
(Christopher C. Kraft, Jr. Mission Control Center)
Often referred to by its callsign, “Houston,” the Mission Control Center (MCC) is NASA’s flight control facility located at the Manned Spacecraft Center (now known as the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center). Prior to MCC, spaceflight management took place at the Mercury Control Center at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Shortly after plans for Project Gemini began, however, NASA realized it needed an improved control center if it were to adequately manage the maneuverable Gemini and Apollo spacecraft. The Manned Spacecraft Center was chosen as the site for the proposed facility, with MCC taking over flight control duties in June 1965 for Gemini 4. Monitoring all subsequent manned space missions from liftoff to recovery, flight controllers oversaw the pre-launch checkout of spacecraft and launch vehicles, conducted mid-flight engineering analysis, communicated with astronauts, and controlled vital spacecraft operations. MCC continued to perform this function following the end of Project Apollo, serving as NASA’s primary flight control facility for flights related to the Apollo Applications Program, the Space Shuttle program, and the International Space Station.
Upon its completion, MCC consisted of two identical Mission Operations Control Rooms, then named MOCR 1 and MOCR 2, each with four tiers of consoles. All Apollo flights were controlled from MOCR 2, with the exception of Apollo 7 and Apollo Applications Program missions, which were controlled from MOCR 1. Following STS-53 in 1992, MOCR 2 was converted back to and preserved as the “Apollo Mission Control Center.” In 1998, NASA opened three additional flight control rooms at the Center for use during Space Shuttle and International Space Station missions. In 2011, MCC was renamed in honor of Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., a NASA engineer and flight controller who helped establish the facility.