74. Houston, We Have A Restoration with Sandra Tetley
Simply macher. So putting aside the room being used for retirement parties and breakfasts the real challenge of the restoration with simply the fact that history keeps going. Mo served as is mission control before and after the Apollo missions to the moon so it started out with Gemini it's flu all the manned Apollo mission than it did the Apollo so you test project guy lab and began in just shuttle and we actually lost shuttle Challenger out of the same room so if the goal is to restore the room. How do you know what is the most significant mission? How do you know which era to restore it to well in this case? It's clearly apollo. Sometimes history is messy and it's layers overlap but here it's pretty clear and this is a widely held view in one thousand nine hundred five. The room became a national historic landmark landmark or an H. L. specifically because of its role in Apollo sort of sub building is a national historic landmark based on the man in space survey which was a survey done all the national center when the building was designated that they have a period of performance which was from Apollo eleven and Apollo Seventeen. which is your when men landed on the moon? You know of course except for thirteen but that was the period of significance of the room. meaning that in this designation nations of an NHL. This is what the big focus would have been about by nineteen ninety-two. The room was no longer being used for any missions and this gave way to the era of of retirement parties and breakfasts that's where the Texas Commission stepped in and they really fought to keep that room from being completely gutted and and modernized. You know we were. We were in the throes of shuttle and Space Station until we did not have the budget or you know really the interest to do an actual actual restoration of that room and because it was a national historic landmark. What happened is the Texas state. Historic Commission made an agreement with NASA. JSC SC to leave that room alone to basically preserve it or restore for posterity because that is where we landed on the renovation really got underway around two thousand fourteen when Tetley started applying for grants with the National Park Service. The interest was there but it wasn't obvious what the next steps were again. I can't to try to get buy in and support to do the restoration and there's a lot of consternation because that room is so visible and it is so so important. Various organizations on site wanted to control it and they want us to control the restoration so there was a big battle on. Who would do that in how it would work out though. Kelly pushed for a restoration rather than a simple renovation. Gene Kranz who served as chief flight director of at the Apollo missions decided to leverage the upcoming fiftieth anniversary of Apollo. Eleven to get it done right only after mister. Cran wrote what I call all his nuclear letter and got the article in the newspaper Houston Chronicle and he wrote the park service. The Advisory Council folks are senator. Did NASA administrator straighter. I mean everyone got a letter saying it is time to restore this room. You're running out of time and it needs to be ready for the fiftieth anniversary. and that finally got ought everybody kind of on offset center to get going. That's when the restoration really started to take shape during the missions through room featured a visitor's gallery behind it. The idea was that media and family could watch what was going on without disturbing the engineers on the floor since they were making life and death left decisions. The engineers couldn't be interrupted today. That same visitors gallery serves the same purpose to keep visitors off the floor. And that was one of our biggest battles that we had was to begin to lock it down and prevent people who go into the console and going into the room and that is continues to be. Our biggest battle is to keep a limited number of people after for. This is not a unique problem to human heritage on arth and once we create a museum at the Apollo Eleven landing site on the moon. It won't be a unique problem to human heritage off of the earth either. There's only so many people who can visit visit the cave before the cave. Paintings are ruined. Now that it's restored. The best vantage point is from the viewing room because all the consoles are lit up and there's furnishings Washington documents and so forth all over the console. That's the best because no no one goes into the console area all except a retired controllers restored room. Looks exactly like it did in nineteen sixty nine as visitors. Entered the gallery above the room comes alive in the fourteen minute experience that portrays he's five different parts of the Apollo Eleven mission with historical accuracy the dissenting landing the first step the reading of the plaque on the lunar module President Nixon calling calling the astronauts and finally the recovery after splashdown the lights on the consoles the projected graphs and maps the buttons and even the clocks change to display Blais. How they would have been at those exact moments Houston. He's our business experience. One more of Disney esque type experience. Dance or you heard the the chatter about the main landing but that you saw at computer generated imagery on the screen of the limb landing on the moon. And what what. What are the restoration. Is that you try to make it. Be historically accurate. And that wasn't historic accurate. They never had any film or any imagery of them landing on the Moon Eh till they return so the only thing that was showing on the screen was data. Whatever was showing from a console that would project up there. They show the map APP where they were expected to land. At the lunar mapping and information like that because they were making these decisions so we had to go through all the films that was ever filmed in mission control. We had to go through all that and then we had to recreate every single thing that was on all five of the summer display screen and all the clock on the up. He actual audio when they like about. This approach is it. Lets the drama of the historical events. Play out it because there was a lot of drama in the room itself. Having the real time information come through maps and numbers and the astronauts own voices particularly as a decisionmaker is an incredibly intense experience on. Its Own. No fancy animation required. We wanted people to to really. I understand what the flight controllers were doing and what decisions they were happened to. Make your bathroom loose. If people saying we've got another twelve one along go keep going keep going. You're hearing decisions. You can feel the stress and the that what they're having to do and then even when they land you continue here. Okay we gotta stay in Nose Day. You know and then they begin to make that so. It's very tense. And that is what we want to protect you but we want them to understand that. These men Dan whose average age was twenty six years old. We're having to make these these real time decisions based on numbers numbers and if you look at the screens on the concert crazy. I don't know how anyone can make heads or tails about those them and they're having to make these decisions for these men's lives and you know what will happen. And what do I do and how do I do this. And and a you know they did it. And that's what we really want people to to get in there just go. Oh my gosh so cool. I can't out you know this is great and I think it really comes across very well when you visit independence hall in Philadelphia with the. US Constitution was signed. Mind you see the desks in the assembly room are staged with quill pens and spare parchment as if the signers just had to step out for a moment in the middle little heated debate. There were stores did the same thing here. But instead of quill pens they studied the binders cigarettes ashtrays and bottles of coke. The engineer eighteen years had on hand from old film and Video Archives. When you go into view the Fokker everything's there is place for reasons based on film and still photography and and we place own there during the mission for the flight controllers and it is a little little bit of a blend of flight controllers For example you know one may drink coffee and we'd have this copy that we may have the RC. Cola can't there as well L. so we didn't try to isolate it to one particular. There were different shifts during that time. And there's also a lot of people in the room there wasn't was it just the ones that I can turn or five people around each white controller so there was stuff everywhere yeah briefcase. We have sports coats. That were their jackets and sack lunch. That they brought in and actually we. We realized that it was just didn't quite get it without cigarettes in the Astros are Astros or our pool of cigarettes. And and and if anything about the ashtrays we have say half. Those dig amber ashtrays because they're cigar ashtray and the reason why they got a big cigar ashtrays because they smoke so much that they would still let the smaller ashtrays too fast. The restoration opened on July twentieth. Twenty nineteen exactly fifty years after the room guided humans to the lunar surface for the first time in attendance were gene Kranz and other flight controllers and engineers. This time though they didn't have any life or death decisions to make. They could simply enjoy the room on the fiftieth anniversary. The the flight controller solar. Said we really have that with ourselves. We don't want to crowd likes to take our wives. As there is very rarely able to dissect family family and their wives on the floor during that never happened during this one of the flight controller said is that when they landed man on the moon we did not set to celebrate because if we we were worried. RENITA 'cause determined. Are they going to say are they. Say you know everything working correctly in and they had to make those decisions so they never got to celebrate. So the fiftieth anniversary came around say really celebrated and we had them all come in and we showed them all of this experience because lot of net was the first time they've seen it and then we brought them on the floor and all of them could just Go and get all the consoles and you know. They told us they told us. So much though. It didn't look like this. You know this look like this and Oh my gosh. How did you find my Coffee Cup. That's just while was doing a lot of camaraderie. And then we took their pictures so we took each flight teen pictures at their console. So we have these really great photographs. Were very emotional. And sort of we're able to to really relive it and realize what they've done at this point and so that was very special that kind of the top it all off this has been museum archipelago archipelago.