Manned Spacecraft Center Houston

Johnson Space Center has its origins in NASA’s Space Task Group (STG). Starting on November 5, 1958, Langley Research Center engineers under Robert Gilruth directed Project Mercury and follow-on crewed space programs. The STG originally reported to the Goddard Space Flight Center organization, with a total staff of 45, including 37 engineers, and eight secretaries and human “computers” (women who ran calculations on mechanical adding machines). In 1959, the center added 32 Canadian engineers put out of work by the cancellation of the Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow project. NASA’s first administrator, T. Keith Glennan, realized that the growth of the US space program would cause the STG to outgrow the Langley and Goddard centers and require its own location. On January 1, 1961, he wrote a memo to his yet-unnamed successor (who turned out to be James E. Webb), recommending a new site be chosen. Later that year, when President John F. Kennedy set the goal to put a person on the Moon by the end of the decade, it became clear Gilruth would need a larger organization to lead the Apollo Program, with new test facilities and research laboratories.