• SpaceWorks employee Jack Graber talks Wednesday, April 18, 2018 about the restorations that will be done to the original consoles from mission control room inside Johnson Space Center in Houston at SpaceWorks. [Travis Morisse/HutchNews]

  • SpaceWorks employee Don Aich works on installing knobs and switches on a restored mission control monitor cover panel Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at SpaceWorks. [Travis Morisse/HutchNews]

  • A original console from the mission control room inside Johnson Space Center in Houston is tagged for correct or incorrect layouts Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at SpaceWorks. [Travis Morisse/HutchNews]

  • SpaceWorks employee Jack Graber explains how every part of the original consoles of the mission control room at the Johnson Space Center is marked for identification Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at Spaceworks. [Travis Morisse/HutchNews]

  • SpaceWorks employee Jack Graber points to an identification tag on an original console from the mission control room inside Johnson Space Center in Houston Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at Spaceworks. [Travis Morisse/HutchNews]

  • SpaceWorks employee Jack Graber shows a remanufactured monitor cover panel that will go on the restored mission control room consoles from the Johnson Space Center Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at Spaceworks. [Travis Morisse/HutchNews]

  • The capcom console from the mission control room inside Johnson Space Center in Houston awaits restoration at SpaceWorks Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at Spaceworks. [Travis Morisse/HutchNews]

SpaceWorks takes next step in restoring mission control consoles

Friday, April 20, 2018

Green and red tags hang from the half-century-old NASA mission control consoles at the Cosmosphere's SpaceWorks building.

It may seem like a small step for man, since the 15 consoles used to guide the Apollo 11 mission to the moon arrived in Hutchinson from the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, back in January. But Cosmosphere Vice President of Exhibits and Technology Jack Graber said it represents months of work during the research phase of the project.

Over the years, NASA has rearranged and reconfigured the panels when they were in use by Mission Control from the 1960s through the early 1990s. The goal is to restore the consoles to how they looked were during the Apollo 15 mission in 1971.

Using historical photos and manuals, the team identified the parts and the eras to which they belonged. Green tags mark sections of the console matching Apollo 15; red means it does not.

"Some parts we can find," Graber said. "Others we will manufacture ourselves."

Other phases, Graber said, will involve rearranging the roughly 1,200-pound consoles with the right pieces and finally wiring new electronics in the consoles for when they are displayed at the space center.

"They will be retrofitted with modern electronics," Graber said. "But they will be a static display."

Those consoles will be sent back to Houston in September, then SpaceWorks will repeat the process with another eight consoles and pneumatic tube stations.

SpaceWorks' portion is part of a $5 million project, which includes a restoration of the carpet and upholstery and the entire Houston mission control room.

The completed project will be unveiled in July 2019, exactly 50 years after Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon.

SpaceWorks' past restoration projects include the Apollo 13 command module Odyssey, Gus Grissom's Liberty Bell 7 capsule and Apollo F1 rocket engines.