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Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (1973)

Hardin-Simmons University Library

Sound | 1973

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  •  Background and purpose of mission 
  •  Mission profile 
  •  Mission Simulation and Astronaut Training Facility at Johnson Space Center in Houston 
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Produced by the Houston-based A-V Corporation for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, this government film outlines the purpose of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP). By the early 1970s, Cold War tension between the United States and the Soviet Union remained high. In an attempt to improve relations and move towards a policy of détente, the two nations agreed to undertake the first international manned space mission. Named the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, the mission would involve the rendezvous and docking of an American Apollo spacecraft with a Soviet Soyuz one. Over the course of two days, crew members would transfer from one spacecraft to the other to conduct joint experiments. This government film begins by reviewing the origins of the ASTP and its diplomatic purpose. It then describes the mission profile and some of the challenges of joining two distinct spacecraft. Throughout, the film stresses the international cooperation involved and the benefits of technological collaboration. The mission was eventually conducted in July 1975.
As the scope of the American space program grew, NASA’s Space Task Group realized it would need to expand into its own facility if it were to successfully land a man on the Moon. In 1961, the agency’s selection team chose a 1,000-acre cow pasture in Houston, Texas, as the proposed center’s location site, owing to its access to water transport and commercial jet service, moderate climate, and proximity to Rice University. In September 1963, the facility opened as the Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC). 
The Center became the focal point of NASA’s manned spaceflight program, developing spacecraft for Projects Gemini and Apollo, selecting and training astronauts, and operating the Lunar Receiving Laboratory. Beginning with Gemini 4 in June 1965, MSC’s Mission Control Center also took over flight control duties from the Mercury Control Center at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. As a result, the facility managed all subsequent manned space missions, including those related to Projects Gemini and Apollo, the Apollo Applications Program, the Space Shuttle Orbiters, and the International Space Station.
In 1973, the MSC was renamed in honor of the late President and Texas native Lyndon B. Johnson. (As Senate Majority Leader, Johnson sponsored the 1958 legislation that established NASA.) The Center continues to lead NASA’s efforts in space exploration, training both American and international astronauts, managing missions to and from the International Space Station, and operating scientific and medical research programs.