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The restored mission control comes alive 50 years after Apollo



HOUSTON (AP) – Gone are the fumes of cigarette, cigar and pipe smoke. The stains of coffee, soda and pizza have disappeared. With few exceptions, NASA's Mission Control from the Apollo era was restored to what it had looked like 50 years ago, when two men landed on the moon.

She is confirmed by Retired Flight Director Gene Kranz To whom a failure – or even a minor oversight – never comes into question.

Kranz, who was sitting at the console, where he dominated Apollo 11, Apollo 13, and so many other astronaut missions, pointed out that a phone was missing behind him. And he said the vents were black from all the smoke and not as clean as they are now.

Apart from these few details, Kranz could close his eyes, then open and transport back to July 20, 1

969, and Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's momentous moon landing.

"When I sit down here and sit down on the chair at the console … I hear these words:" Houston, Tranquility Base here. The eagle has landed, "Kranz said during a preview at NASA's Johnson Space Center.

With all the empty seats, the room reminds him of a shift change when the air traffic controllers entered the bathroom.

"It's just that It's nice to bring the thing back to life," said Kranz, who titled his autobiography titled "Failure is Not a Option."

  NASA's old mission control in Houston has been meticulously restored as it had looked to two men 50 years ago, landing on the Moon first. It was last used in the 1990s for space shuttle flights. It opens to the public next week. (June 28)

The grand opening on Friday – just three weeks before the fiftieth anniversary of mankind's first alien steps – culminates in years of work and millions of donations. It is open to the public on Monday.

Project Apollo's Mission Operations Control Room smelled so good except for the browned carpeting, the gray-green wallpaper, the white ceiling coverings, the plaited seats, the amber glass ashtray, and the retro coffee cups.

The goal was to "capture the appearance of the July & # 39; 69," said Jim Thornton, head of the NASA Restoration Project.

"The place is designated as a national historic landmark," he said. "It's not about the stone and the mortar of the building, but about the amazing achievements that were made inside the building."

Johnson's historic monument conservator, Sandra Tetley, strove for accuracy. Their search began in 2013 after the room was forgotten. It was last used in the 1990s for space shuttle flights, then abandoned and opened for tourists.

The restoration work finally took place in 2017. The room was closed and construction started. More than $ 5 million has been raised, most of them donations. Webster across the street brought in $ 3.5 million.

Tetley and her team interviewed air traffic controllers and directors in the 1970s and 1980s. They rummaged through old pictures and brought specialists for paints, wallpaper, carpets, electricity and upholstery. Original patterns of rugs and wallpaper and an original ceiling tile were uncovered.

They searched for ashtrays and beakers in eBay and vintage stores and turned to 3D laser printing to replicate seat back covers Ashtrays in the glazed visitor's room overlooking the control room. Old binders for paper quantities were collected. Seat cushions were handwoven. Ceiling tiles were hand stamped.

Carpets were custom-made with special tuftings and additional yarns and then cut into squares of 28 inches. The restoration team wanted the rug to look lively and chose a shade that reflected years of nicotine staining.

And yes, Kranz got his missing dial telephone.

"I fought for everything," Tetley said. "But we get everything we want, just to make it completely historically correct."

The green consoles were transported to the Cosmosphere Museum in Hutchinson, Kansas for months of rehab. Cigarette butts and chewing gum packages and papers were dug out of the consoles.

Modern LED lights and flat screens have been installed to bring the consoles to life with images and flashing buttons. Large screens in the foreground show important footage of the Apollo 11 mission.

"We use technology to make it look old," Tetley said. LEDs also replaced the original overhead fluorescent lamps that had faded the mission medallions on the walls.

With the International Space Station's mission control running one floor down around the clock and working for future lunar shots, Thornton said creating a museum was a challenge. But the tedious work was worth it. Some Apollo air traffic controllers were so moved when they saw the restored room that they were tearing apart.

"Then we know we did it right," Tetley said.

However, there is an artifact that does not fit July 1969. After their lunar landing mission in 1970, Jim Lovell of Apollo 13, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert Kranz and the rest of the control team presented a mirror of their spaceship. Since then, the mirror hung on a board above the fountain in the room, "to reflect the image of the people in the mission control who brought us back!" Removed from the restoration, it is now back to its original location.

The 85-year-old wreath is still enthroned in the hot seat on which he monitored the landing of the eagle.

"It was absolutely our day, our time, our place," he said.

The air traffic controllers meet every year to celebrate the day, although their numbers are decreasing.

They are proud to have helped revive their mission control: "Part of our heritage we will leave for the next generation."

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