Now came the task of building the new facility. The Corps of Engineers opened a project office in Houston. Design work was under way in January 1962 and construction on the underground utility systems and roadways began in March. Robert Gilruth, the first director of the MSC, transferred his headquarters to Houston effective March 1.
Image above: A view of Building 1 as construction continues. Credit: NASA + View Image
By January 1964, 2,100 employees were readying for the move to the site with 600 more to be on site by July. The final move from all leased facilities in Houston by MSC employees and contractors occurred in late June 1964 as more than 700 people vacated sites which were the last vestiges of the scattered center while the Clear Lake location was under construction.
Moving first to the center were employees in the Flight Operations Directorate and the Information Systems Division as well as about 200 contractor employees, six Department of Defense liaisons and other NASA center representatives. Most of these people were located in Building 30, the Mission Control Center-Houston.
The April 1964 launch of the first unmanned Gemini spacecraft coincided nicely with the final relocation of MSC personnel to their permanent site in Clear Lake. Gilruth declared an "Open House" for the weekend of June 6 and 7 and welcomed the public to the new NASA/MSC. Some 52,000 people toured the center and viewed displays depicting the past, present and future hardware of the space program.
By the end of June 1967, everyone in leased offices and warehouses in the Houston area had moved to permanent quarters at the MSC on what had been FM 528. The highway had become NASA Road 1 in 1965. About 1,500 employees remained at Ellington.
The people of the Houston area welcomed MSC personnel with open arms and offered complete cooperation in all facets of the operation. The city was ecstatic. Space fever promptly swept the town. The baseball team was named the Astros, and the basketball team was called the Rockets. The Astrodome, Astroworld and countless businesses with "space city" somewhere in the title blossomed over the years.
Page 1: JSC Celebrates 40 Years of Human Space Flight
Page 2: JSC Origins
Page 3: JSC Origins
Page 4: JSC Origins
Page 5: Engineering the Future
Page 6: Home of the Nation's Astronaut Corps
Page 7: America's Nerve Center for Mission Operations
Page 8: America's Nerve Center for Mission Operations
Page 9: America's Nerve Center for Mission Operations
Page 10: The Triumph of Apollo
Page 11: The Triumph of Apollo
Page 12: The Triumph of Apollo
Page 13: America's First Space Station
Page 14: Expanding the Center's Role
Page 15: The Last Apollo
Page 16: Space Shuttle
Page 17: Space Shuttle
Page 18: International Space Station
Page 19: International Space Station
Page 20: The Next 40 Years