Established as the Manned Spacecraft Center by NASA in 1961 and named in honor of the thirty-sixth president, the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center has been the global leader of human space flight operations for over thirty years. The Space Center, located south of Houston, was charged with the design, development, and operation of human space flight, a responsibility and goal set by President John F. Kennedy with the express purpose of landing men on the Moon. Today, the Space Center serves as the lead in NASA’s International Space Station, the largest and most complex human facility to operate in space. The Center is also home to one of the most entertaining attractions in the state with its full menu of visitor- friendly exhibits and activities.
The Starship Gallery houses the history of space travel and the space program, providing dazzling multi-media exhibitions featuring artifacts and hardware like the Mercury Atlas 9 capsule, the Apollo 17 Command Module, and the Gemini V Spacecraft. The Astronaut Gallery includes the actual spacesuits worn by astronauts commanding a number of the NASA programs. The NASA Tram Tour highlights the astronaut training program and the development of deep space manned missions, along with a behind-the-scenes look at Mission Control - real, out-of-this-world science right here on good ol’ planet Earth.
The recent restoration of Apollo Mission Control features the authentic consoles used to monitor nine Gemini, all Apollo Moon missions and 21 space shuttle missions. These missions include the flight of Apollo 11 that first landed men on the Moon, the Apollo 13 mission that famously experienced an in-flight emergency and 40 other space missions.
The Apollo Mission Control Center was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1985.