Inside the JPL Space Flight Operations control room.
Fifty years ago, on May 14, 1964, a dedication was held at the opening of Jet Propulsion Laboratory's new Space Flight Operations Facility. During the dedicatory remarks, NASA Associate Administrator For SPace Science and Applications, stated: "...Often in our discussions of the Space Program we refer to the 'manned program' and the 'unmanned program.' We even talk about manned space science and unmanned space science. Strictly speaking, this is loose talk. There is, in fact, no such thing as unmanned science. Man and his thinking are the prime ingredients of science.
"In the Space Program, it becomes simply a matter of where the man is in relation to his instruments and measuring devices. For those space missions that we call unmanned, man is back on Earth while his eyes and ears and other senses are extended electronically and mechanically far out into space by the spacecraft and its instrumentation. From his remote position, he must monitor, issue commands, receive and record data, make routine or emergency decisions as required in a continuing interchange with his inanimate partner out in space.
"It is to make this partnership effective and productive of data, measurements, obsevations, and information that a centralized facility like the SFOF is necessary..."
Congratulations to JPL on this 50th anniversary, thanks for the many incredible discoveries, and here's hoping for 50 more years of space exploration adventures!