Here, we have Mercury Control Center, or what we would refer to as “Mission Control” today. This center was active from 1961 to 1965, located at Cape Canaveral Florida, in a building near Launch Complex 14, where the later Mercury flew from. Once NASA’s needs outgrew this facility, all subsequent Mission Control centers were located at Johnson Space Center in Huston, Texas.
The second photo in the set shows the Flight Director’s console, where Christopher Kraft managed every Mercury flight, and the first Gemini mission. Just as every succeeding NASA flight director, Kraft’s job description was simple - to ensure crew safety, and mission success, in that order of priority. Luckily, Kraft was able to prioritize. His team flew seven individuals into the uncharted territory of space from this room, and they all made it back in one piece.
I’ve often read about the extreme tension the men in this room felt as they prepared for Alan Shepard’s first American space flight, or as they watched Gus Grissom nearly drown in the ocean during the post-flight recovery efforts while his spacecraft was sinking. Of course, this room has seen great celebration associated with America’s first manned space flight, or John Glenn’s first American orbital flight. If these walls could talk, I’d listen all day.
I can’t tell what my favorite part is, but it’s either
- scientists wasting budget and time to see if ants count their steps
- the idea to put ants on stilts
- there had to be a guy who made ant stilts and put them on the ants
- confused ants