The Apollo missions are one of the most revered missions in the history of Space and one of the key components of the missions – the Mission Operation Control Room 2 at NASA – is in dire need of restoration, but things are not moving ahead as the US space agency has other priorities.
The mission control room often referred to by its acronym MOCR2 — pronounced ‘Mo-ker Two’ – by NASA officials was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1985 and retired seven years later. The National Park Service and the Texas State Historical Association are both interested in getting the room restored owing to its historical value. The National Historic Preservation Act requires a consultation meeting to advance the project, but it hasn’t taken place.
Reports in the local media indicate that the restoration and preservation for the mission control room remain in a limbo with no set date for work to begin. While officials have time an against reiterated that the restoration is a priority for NASA, there are other priorities for NASA as well and that’s what keeping the restoration work on hold.
In its glory days, the MOCR2, the room was the mission control for Gemini, Apollo and the shuttle programs; however, over the years the room hasn’t retrained its glory and with it being retired, the conditions have worsened. Reports indicate that many of the carpet squares are stained and taped together. Chairs in the visitor area are worn and need replacement badly. Ash-tray covers have been pried loose and pieces of upholstery cut away for souvenirs.
The room is a place of history, says Gene Kranz, a flight director during NASA’s Gemini and Apollo missions, but it is a tired mission control room now that has been worn of its heart and soul.
While there have been many proposals for the restoration of the room, the most recent put forward a costing of $3 million and a time frame of 18 months of work. During the restoration everything will be restored to as it was during the glory years making the room the crown jewel of Space Center Houston, the Johnson Space Center’s visitor center.
July 16, 2019 will be marked as the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing and if the room needs to be part of the celebrations, it has to be in a pristine condition for which the restoration work has to begin by end of 2017.
“We are certainly excited about the whole restoration project,” said Johnson Space Center Director Ellen Ochoa. “And we’re also committed to doing it in time for the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11.”
It remains to be seen when the required steps are taken and when the restoration work beings.