Another successful 50-year celebration for NASA

On Jan. 14, Johnson Space Center and the University of Houston - Clear Lake (UHCL) united to celebrate five decades of NASA imagery.

The 50 Years of NASA Imagery Exhibit contained an extensive collection of NASA images displayed on panels throughout the first and second floors in the UHCL Bayou Building’s Atrium II.

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UHCL President William Staples makes the opening statements.
“It is most appropriate that this event occur at the time of many significant anniversaries related to NASA and human spaceflight,” said William Staples, president of UHCL. “During 2008 and 2009, we have the 50th anniversary of NASA, the 10th anniversary of the International Space Station, and this coming July, the 40th anniversary of the first lunar landing.”

Staples mentioned that UHCL exists because of JSC.

The original idea for the establishment of UHCL came from a letter sent by Dr. Robert Gilruth, director of the Manned Spacecraft Center, to Dr. Philip Hoffman, president of the University of Houston in the 1960s, Staples said.

The exhibit’s collection included dynamic images of NASA crews, missions, planet and moon images, Hubble Space Telescope snapshots and satellite images.

 Attendees listen to the speakers during the reception.
Attendees listen to the speakers during the reception.
Informational displays titled “A New Age of Exploration” and “Why Go to the Moon and Mars” accompanied rocket models. The displays provided brief explanations about scientific discoveries and future ventures that are in store for the space program, such as the return to the moon and preparation for Mars exploration.

“This is a small sample from our vast imagery collection, considering each mission takes thousands of photos documenting their experiences,” said JSC Director Mike Coats. “Fortunately for us, this exhibit has not been, nor will it be, the only collaboration between our institutions, as both UHCL and JSC recognize the importance of maintaining our close ties.”

Approximately 200 attendees turned out to participate in the celebration, creating a remarkably diverse crowd that included representatives from the local school district, newspapers, Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce, local businesses, JSC and UHCL employees, among others.

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JSC Director Mike Coats speaks about the history of the UHCL/JSC partnership.
“NASA’s relationship with the University of Houston - Clear Lake began shortly after NASA arrived in the Houston area,” Coats said. “In 1965, when the Manned Spacecraft Center was three years old, University of Houston scientific and engineering classes were offered on site in small conference rooms.”

Staples described the partnership of more than 35 years and how it has resulted in some significant merits, such as when UHCL established its annual Community Partnership Award in 2001. One of the first recipients was JSC.

Another example of the valuable partnership occurred in February 2001 when JSC, UHCL and the National Archives and Records Administration signed a 10-year agreement for UHCL to provide housing for the JSC History Collection in the Alfred R. Neumann Library at the university.

Coats said that JSC and its employees, “as well as all of the Clear Lake area and beyond, have truly benefited from the UHCL’s neighboring location and its highly recognized educational and research programs.”

Neesha Hosein
Johnson Space Center, Houston

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