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Houston: Your Historic Apollo Mission Control Consoles Are Restored

LaRissa Lawrie
KMUW/File photo
A team with SpaceWorks at the Cosmosphere restored 19 consoles to their Apollo-era configuration.

A team from the Cosmosphere space museum in Hutchinson has finished restoring and preserving 19 mission control consoles used during the first moon landing.

A Cosmosphere spokeswoman says the artifacts will be shipped back to Johnson Space Center in Houston by the end of the month.

Craftsmen with Cosmosphere’s SpaceWorks Division spent the past year and a half re-creating the consoles piece by piece. Parts that needed to be replaced and no longer available were created in workshops in the facility. Working data displays and backlit push button panels brought the green metal consoles to life.

NASA flight controllers used the consoles to guide astronauts to the moon beginning in the 1960s. The consoles were retired and shut down after the Discovery space shuttle flight in 1992.

Project manager Jack Graber says former space workers will take a step back in time when they see the historically accurate consoles.

"We want them to feel back at home so when they get back to Houston, they would sit back and go, 'Yeah, I remember it this way,'" Graber says.

The console restoration was part of a bigger Johnson Space Center project to return the entire flight control room and visitor viewing room to their Apollo-era configurations. All of the furnishings in those rooms including carpet, wallpaper and chairs were cleaned or replaced to match their 1969 appearance.

The Cosmosphere and Johnson Space Center are planning special events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing in July.

Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.