President Richard Nixon Visits NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland 50 Years Ago

By  //  April 15, 2020

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Goddard Space Center was about 17 miles from The White House

Fifty years ago today, President Richard Nixon visited NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, for a briefing on an explosion in the Apollo 13 service module. (NASA Image)

(NASA) – Fifty years ago today, President Richard Nixon visited NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, for a briefing on an explosion in the Apollo 13 service module.

At Goddard, about 17 miles from the White House, teams continued to coordinate Apollo tracking and communications after the explosion destroyed much of the spacecraft’s power and oxygen supply.

Ultimately, NASA ingenuity and the astronauts’ bravery returned the craft safely to Earth from lunar space.

These events inspired generations of space enthusiasts and an award-winning film. In this photo, President Nixon speaks with then-Center Director John F. Clark. Deputy director of manned flight support at Goddard, Henry Thompson, stands at the right.

Goddard has long supported crewed exploration through communications infrastructure and technology.

For the agency’s upcoming Artemis missions, NASA’s Near-Earth Network and Space Network — both based at Goddard — will provide critical links to mission control from launch through beyond trans-lunar injection, the maneuver that will place them on a path toward the Moon, and for their return to Earth.

Starting on the second Artemis mission, Goddard-developed optical communications terminals will provide astronauts with ultra-high data rate transmissions over laser links in addition to traditional radio communications.

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