Mission Control will honor a half century of human spaceflight leadership from Houston on June 3 with an opportunity for media to meet veterans of several landmark missions and experts now preparing for future flights to an asteroid and eventually Mars.

The opportunity will be from 8:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m. CDT in the historic Apollo Flight Control Room at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Visits to current flight control rooms with experts who are developing Mission Control technologies for the future will follow from 9:30-10:30 a.m. Participants will include:

–Gerry Griffin, Gemini and Apollo Flight Director, former Johnson Space Center director

–Glynn Lunney, Gemini and Apollo Flight Director

–Steve Stich, Space Shuttle Flight Director and Director, Exploration Integration Systems

–Emily Nelson, International Space Station Flight Director

The event will not be broadcast on NASA Television. Media planning to attend must contact the JSC Newsroom no later than noon Tuesday, June 2, to arrange credentials and should plan to arrive no later than 8 a.m. June 3.

Additional opportunities for media during the day June 3 will include a 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. visit to the first Micro-gNEXT education design challenge at the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory’s pool, an activity that has university students from across the U.S. designing future exploration tools for training. Media also will be able to visit the RoboOps student rover competition being held at the JSC Mars Rockyard, a simulated Mars landscape, from 2:30-4 p.m.

The first spaceflight operated from Mission Control, Houston, was the Gemini IV mission launched on June 3, 1965, a flight that included the United States’ first spacewalk. Firsts in space became the norm for the institution, highlighted by the landing of men on the moon during the Apollo Program; the first international mission between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. during the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project; the first U.S. space station flights during Skylab; and the flights of the first reusable spacecraft during the space shuttle era.

Today, Mission Control leads a worldwide partnership of control centers in operating the largest spacecraft ever built, the International Space Station, as it hosts research that both improves lives on Earth and prepares for human deep space exploration. 

In the years ahead, Mission Control soon will work with commercial space companies as they partner with NASA to fly astronauts to the space station. The center, which played a key role in Orion Exploration Flight Test 1 in December 2014, also will oversee the final test flights and first operational flights of NASA’s Orion spacecraft on deep space missions; operate missions that will take humans to explore and retrieve samples from an asteroid; and eventually lead missions that will fly humans on a journey to Mars.

For more information about NASA’s Johnson Space Center, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/johnson