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6 decades of space and Houston: JSC celebrates anniversary with big bash

In 1961, NASA selected Houston as home of the Manned Spaceflight Center. The agency is kicking off its 60th anniversary with a long list of events.

HOUSTON — While the official date of Houston's selection as home to NASA's Manned Spaceflight Center isn't until Sept. 19, the agency isn't waiting to celebrate the milestone.

The Johnson Space Center has a list of activities and events to commemorate the anniversary that kicks off Thursday. The celebration will begin with remarks and a T-38 flyover at 5:30 p.m. and a fireworks finale at 8:15 p.m. 

Tickets are $16 per person and can be bought here.

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If you're headed to the celebration, details on where to park can be found here.

Later in the year, NASA has other anniversary events planned including a vintage car parade on June 8 and B9 catwalk and MOCR tours for some time in May or June of this year.

The Johnson Space Center is a 1,600-acre site with more than 100 buildings and includes facilities for space operations and research. 

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JFK’s 1961 Rice University speech promising men on the moon by the end of the decade helped launch what was then known as the Manned Spaceflight Center.

On Sept. 19, 1961, NASA formally announced Houston's selection for the Manned Spacecraft Center, which was later named the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in honor of the 36th President of the United States and native Texan. Johnson, who was Vice President at the time of the selection, was also chairman of the National Aeronautics and Space Council. 

NASA investigators chose sites based in part on nearby academic institutions, availability of utilities, and attractive cultural and recreational facilities, according to the Texas State Historical Association.

The facility opened in September 1963. Mission Control for human space flights began in June 1964 with Gemini 4.

A photo from 1963 shows buildings beginning to rise in what was the middle of nowhere.

Credit: NASA

To learn more about Johnson's Space Center's history, click here.

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