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How Houston was selected as home to a NASA facility

NASA unveiled the renovated mission control room that was used during the days of the Apollo moon missions at the Johnson Space Center in Houston on June 28, 2019.
NASA unveiled the renovated mission control room that was used during the days of the Apollo moon missions at the Johnson Space Center in Houston on June 28, 2019. (NASA)

HOUSTON – Have you ever wondered why NASA set up camp in Texas?

In 1961, NASA announced Houston as home to the Manned Spacecraft Center which would serve as Mission Control Center for the U.S. human space flight program.

The ideal site that NASA was looking for at time would meet the following criteria: transportation in ice-free water by barge, a mild climate, all-weather commercial jet service, a Department of Defense (DoD) airbase that could handle military jet aircraft, a university nearby, at least 1,000 acres of land, and property that fell within certain cost parameters.

Houston originally came in second place out of 23 potential sites but ultimately won after it was determined the MacDill Air Force Base near Tampa, Fla., NASA’s first choice for the site, would not be closed.

According to NowThisWorld, the winning wasn’t a surprise as many politicians at the time were from Texas, including then vice president Lyndon B. Johnson who the space center is named after today.


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