Houston Matters

Photos: Houston Will Once Again Serve As Control Center For A Mission To The Moon

For the first time since the Apollo missions, Houston will serve as the control center for a mission to the moon — this time by the unmanned Nova-C Lander in November.

Nova-C Lander on the Moon
A rendering of the Nova-C lander on the moon. Houston will serve as the mission’s control center.


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This fall, the Nova-C Lunar Lander will be the first vehicle to softly touch down on the moon since the Apollo Program in 1972. And that means — also for the first time since then — that Houston will serve as the control center for a mission to the moon.

Except, it won't be NASA's Johnson Space Center at the helm.

The private company Intuitive Machines designed the lander, which is scheduled to launch Nov. 8 on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. It will spend nearly two weeks on the lunar surface conducting experiments aimed at helping inform future manned missions back to the moon.

Intuitive Machines will monitor and control the mission, IM-1, from Nova Control, its new control facility just down the road from NASA in Clear Lake.

In the audio above, Dr. Troy LeBlanc, the company's vice president for control centers (and a former NASA flight director) tells Houston Matters producer Michael Hagerty about the mission and how this modern mission control environment will be different from the last time we went to the moon.

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Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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