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 NASA turned Houston into 'Space City'

The suburban Clear Lake area grew along with NASA's Manned Aircraft Center, later to be called Johnson Space Center. In this 1963 photo, Texas Gov. John Connally uses giant scissors to snip the ribbon on a new development project called Clear Lake City. Two years later, a Clear Lake City brochure boasted that 5,500 people were employed at the space center and pointed out that "employees are happier working in pleasant surroundings than on industrial row." Today nearly 17,000 people work for NASA or one of its contractors.

Half a century ago, when Congressman Albert Thomas used his congressional power to ensure that NASA's manned flight center came to Houston, "Space City" was born.

Now, from the Astros and the Rockets to the iconic phrase, "Houston, we have a problem," the Bayou City's identity is deeply entwined with America's space program.

Space Center Houston


Space Center Houston is the official visitor center of the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center—the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) center for human spaceflight activities—located in Houston, Texas.


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


Space Center Houston is home to space artifacts and hardware including: Mercury 9 capsule (Faith 7);Gemini 5 capsule; Apollo 17 command module; Lunar Rover Vehicle trainer; Skylab trainer mock-up; Lunar Module Test Article 8;Saturn V

On July 31, 2013, the Space Center formally unveiled the restored full-scale Shuttlecraft mockup from Star Trek: The Original Series.


The Space Center is also the home of the Space Shuttle Independence mockup. Formerly known as Explorer, Independence was previously located at the Kennedy Space Center, but was moved to make way for a new permanent attraction hall for Space Shuttle Atlantis. Independence is now displayed atop the retired Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, NASA 905.


 On August 14, 2014, a heavy lift was completed to place Independence on top of NASA 905, which had been moved to Space Center Houston from Ellington Field on April 30, 2014.The center plans to open the combined exhibit in 2015 at an estimated cost of US$12 million.


For more information about the Johnson Space Center, please visit the official NASA website at  


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