Facts About Space Center Houston Back to Main NASA / Space Center Houston Page

Space Center Houston is a place where visitors can experience space -- from its dramatic history and exciting present to its compelling future.

Space Center Houston's NASA tours, exhibits, attractions, special presentations and hands-on activities tell the story of NASA's manned space flight program. It's is the only place in the world where visitors can see astronauts train for missions, touch a real moon rock, land a shuttle, and take a behind-the-scenes tour of NASA.

Established as the Manned Spacecraft Center in 1961, the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, named in honor of the late President, is responsible for the design, development, and operation of human space flight. For more than three decades, Johnson Space Center has been the world leader in human space flight operations for NASA.

The MSC opened in 1963 with Gemini IV as the first flight controlled here and became a hub of activity as the Gemini program ended and the Apollo program gained momentum. The Apollo program obtained the national goal, set by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 of landing men on the Moon and returning them safely within the decade of the '60s.

The eyes of the world were on Houston and the MSC on July 20, 1969 as Neil Armstrong reported from the lunar surface, 'Houston, the Eagle has landed.' Hours later, Armstrong descended the ladder of the Lunar Module 'Eagle' proclaiming, 'That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind' as he took his historic first steps on the Moon's surface. Later, in 1973, the MSC was renamed the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center and has been the heart of the manned space flight program ever since. Controlling flights from Gemini, Apollo, Skylab and the Apollo-Soyuz through the current Shuttle program is the responsibility of the center's scientists, engineers, astronauts and other staff members.

The center is the training base and home for our nation's astronauts and the site of Mission Control, where a talented cadre of flight controllers monitors the work of our women and men in space. The operations at the space center include the development, production and delivery of the Space Shuttle orbiters; the testing of spacecraft associated systems; the development and integration of experiments for human space flight activities; supporting scientific engineering and medical research; the selection and training of astronauts and the operation of human space flights.