There is nothing special about the front door of Mission Control Room 2 (Mocr-2), on the third floor of Johnson Space Center at NASA in Houston. paint gives you an idea of its historical significance.
The sign contains 42 missions covering more than a quarter of a century. They range from Gemini 4 in 1965 – America's first space flight – through Apollo's moon's missions to the early space shuttle flights. from Apollo 13 and Challenger's disaster have been observed from this room. You also want:
"The place had a feeling for her, like putting a good fit glove," says Jerry Griffin, director of missions in Apollo missions. – When I return to her now, it's a little more like a cathedral ̵
Go through the door and it is clear that this cathedral has seen better days. Although Mocr-2 has been preserved as a National Historic Landmark since it was last used for operations in the early 1990s, the condition of the room has deteriorated. So much that it was recently identified as "threatened". The iconic control consoles were damaged and the room had faded and worn out.
Now, before the 50th anniversary of the first landing on the Moon in July, NASA is working to restore the control of the Apollo mission to its former glory. At this stage of the conservation project, however, Mocr-2 looks worse than ever.
The screens are empty, the ceiling tiles are missing, the walls are exposed, the carpet is stained and rusted. Numbered postal stickers cover surfaces where elements have been removed. The chairs and some of the emblematic consoles have been removed for restoration, while others are covered with a protective plastic sheath.
However, there is still something very special in this room. "Even now, when everything is undressed and nothing, it's not even a flag, you know it's different," says Sandra Tetley, NASA's History Officer. "You can say that history was created here, you just feel it."
They will flash lights, work clocks, projection screens, will be things placed on the consoles – manuals, coffee and cigarette tails. Ashtrays – Sandra Tetley
Tetley monitors the recovery project, which only has a very long list of tasks for only six months. Restoring, not renewing – "I hate the word," says Tetley – is the name of the game.
"The idea is that when you enter the rear view room you will go back in time. and it would appear that flight controllers have just pulled back from their consoles, "she explains. "They will flash lights, work clocks, screen shots, there will be things on the consoles – guides, coffee and cigarette lozenges in the ashtrays."
In the midst of high stress in the 1960s, mission control, coffee and cigarettes played an important role. "Everybody smoked, they all drank coffee," says Griffin. "You could see the smoke in the room-and the smell had to be just terrible, smoke and a bunch of bodies, but we did not notice it because we were in it all day.
Preserving part of this atmosphere is one of the goals of recovery. "The initial ceiling was white, but over the years cigarette smoke was yellow," says Tetley. "We leave this dirt so you can still see this yellowish color."
Walls will also be restored with their original model. "There would be no wallpaper in the plans, but then we found a fragment of original paper behind a fire extinguisher," she says. "We managed to get back to the manufacturer and found the actual roller that made the wallpaper so we were able to recreate it."
This is a similar story with the carpet, with fragments of the original recovered from the consoles. Another new discovery when removing the brackets is a pneumatic tube system. Mission Controllers use these messages to send boxes containing messages to and from the support teams located around the Houston complex.
As part of the restoration and overall reconstruction of modern electronics, these screens and the clocks over them will come back again
"They will send notes back and forth, and flight admins say that one of the really interesting things in this room were to hear this noise – it was a noise, a noise with these pneumatic tubes – says Tetley. "They no longer work, but controllers say some of the things they put through these pipes include hot dogs and mice!"
Considering the high drama unfolding in this room, it might be appropriate for Mocr-2's design to be almost like a theater, with a viewing gallery behind, and then with consoles overlooking the floor-to-ceiling screens. The video and the data shown here were projected from a hidden room without a window behind the screen, known as the Bat Cave.
As part of the restoration and complete repair with modern electronics, these screens and watches above will come back to life again. And another room, to the right of the screens, is also recovering. This was the simulation control room, where the training team could simulate problems that might arise during missions.
"Simulation people have made mistakes to see how we can deal with them," says Griffin. "We will make a mistake and we will deal with it, then with another, then with another, so they will eventually bring us to our knees and we will be disappointed."  After restoration, all consoles will be closed with strict access restrictions to keep the Mocr-2 room for all mankind in the future
"There was a door in the very back corner [of the simulation room] and we are returning that door, adds Tetley. "They called it the evacuation door of the simulation supervisor – because the emotions were rising between the controllers and the simulators that he could get out of the back door and escape." of the mission's control were able to sit on the seats and play as flight director (I admit that on my previous visit a few years ago I did that). After restoration, all consoles will be banned with strict access restrictions to preserve the Mocr-2 room for all of humanity in the future. Instead, visitors will see the room through the glass of the VIP View Gallery in the back, as if watching a true mission unfold.
Once finished and part of the celebration of the first landing on the moon, the ultimate people who will sit on the consoles will be the original mission controllers. Photographs will be taken from them, who sit at their workstations to create a lasting record of their contribution to human space flight.
Tetley says he's always glad to see them in the room where they've made history. "Like kids in a candy store," says Tetley. "They just smile, remembering what they did here – I really want to see them and their assessment of what we are doing." or Twitter or Instagram .
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