Broadcast on October 10, 1968, this news segment for Houston's KPRC-TV captures press preparing for the launch of Apollo 7 the following day. Following a closer look at the Apollo Command Module, the footage gives a behind-the-scenes tour of the Manned Spacecraft Center press room and facility grounds. The footage appears silent and would have been voiced over by the anchorperson during a live broadcast. Launched on October 11, 1968, Apollo 7 was the first mission since the ill-fated Apollo 1 to have a full crew aboard the Apollo spacecraft. As such, it became the first successful manned Apollo flight. The mission also provided the first live television transmission from space.
As the scope of the American space program grew, NASA's Space Task Group realized it would need to expand into its own facility if it were to successfully land a man on the Moon. In 1961, the agency's selection team chose a 1,000-acre cow pasture in Houston, Texas, as the proposed center's location site, owing to its access to water transport and commercial jet service, moderate climate, and proximity to Rice University. In September 1963, the facility opened as the Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC).
The Center became the focal point of NASA's manned spaceflight program, developing spacecraft for Projects Gemini and Apollo, selecting and training astronauts, and operating the Lunar Receiving Laboratory. Beginning with Gemini 4 in June 1965, MSC's Mission Control Center also took over flight control duties from the Mercury Control Center at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. As a result, the facility managed all subsequent manned space missions, including those related to Projects Gemini and Apollo, the Apollo Applications Program, the Space Shuttle Orbiters, and the International Space Station.
In 1973, the MSC was renamed in honor of the late President and Texas native Lyndon B. Johnson. (As Senate Majority Leader, Johnson sponsored the 1958 legislation that established NASA.) The Center continues to lead NASA's efforts in space exploration, training both American and international astronauts, managing missions to and from the International Space Station, and operating scientific and medical research programs.