Regional Update: North America - October 2019
Space Center Houston Unveils Restored Apollo Mission Control Center
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of man landing and walking on the moon, Space Center Houston in Texas unveiled the restored Apollo Mission Control Center, which was designated a United States National Historic Landmark in 1985. Space Center Houston, NASA Johnson Space Center, and the City of Webster worked for more than two years on the $5 million restoration of the room that fueled the space race, resulting in innovations that changed history.
In addition to the Apollo space program, the room was also used during the Gemini and Space Shuttle eras. Guests will now see the restored flight control consoles with buttons illuminated and display screens showing data used during the historic Apollo 11 moon landing mission. Five huge screens across the front of the control room are again working, showing projections that recreate the exact images seen during the Apollo mission. The restoration also includes period-authentic chairs and coat racks. Console furnishings include authentic flight control manuals, headsets, ashtrays, pens, maps, and coffee cups. The rededication’s ribbon-cutting ceremony featured Gene Kranz, the renowned flight director during the Apollo space missions. William T. Harris, president and CEO of Space Center Houston, says the restored control room is a treasure that’s now preserved for future generations.
New Water Park Gushing into the Smoky Mountains
Wilderness Resorts and Waterparks, which owns Wilderness at the Smokies Resort in Sevierville, Tennessee, announced plans to build a new 50-acre water park situated across the street and up the hill from the resort. To be named Soaky Mountain Waterpark, its plans call for a 35,000-square-foot wave pool capable of creating waves up to 6 feet high, a “winding wave” river spanning 24,000 square feet, and a heavily themed kids area featuring multiple slides.
An adventure pool with a Wibit water obstacle course, a flat-water cabana pool, a double FlowRider surfing simulator, and four large water slide complexes are also planned. Other attractions will include a water coaster, a family ride tower with two five-person raft rides, five tubing flumes, and two body slides. Aquatic Development Group (ADG) was awarded the contract to design and build the water park. The park plans to be open daily mid-May through August and select days in September. Project managers with Wilderness Resorts and Waterparks say winter weather will determine whether construction can be completed in time to open for summer 2020.