Mission Control Console
Houston flight specialists were astronauts' eyes on the ground
Who would get there first? In the late 1950s through the 1960s, the United States was in a heated race with the Soviet Union to send astronauts into space. As a result of the success of the first Soviet earth satellites—Sputnik I and II—in the fall of 1957, President Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act into law on July 29, 1958. NASA was born and the U.S. space program was launched.
Exercises were carried out at the Manned Spacecraft Center, now the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, in Houston. This Mission Control console was used for testing and simulation in the 1960s. While the astronauts are remembered as the heroes of the missions, the flight directors, engineers, and other flight specialists were critical to the effort, monitoring the conditions of the spacecraft and astronauts through consoles like this one. Mission Control was the astronauts' eyes on the ground while they were up on the moon.
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