Denver company helps restore NASA’s Apollo 11 Mission Control Center

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DENVER -- A Denver company called Ayuda was hired to help restore the Mission Control Center in Building 30 at the Johnson Space Center in Houston 50 years after the historic Apollo 11 launch.

While many Americans have seen footage of the first lunar landing, many people don't remember the scene back at the NASA's Mission Control Center during the 1969 launch, or at least they don't remember it in as quite as much detail as Jennifer Keys does.

Keys works for Ayuda.

"The room was pretty terrible when I walked in there three years ago. Buttons were missing. There was trash on consoles. People had carved their names into desks," Keys said of Mission Control.

The project took more than three years and involved tedious research. Crews attempted to restore the room to exactly the way it looked the day of the Apollo 11 launch, down to the images on every console and the coffee mugs on every desk.

"We were truly creating a museum. We wanted it to be truly accurate to the time period. It's a national historic landmark and we wanted it to be right," explained Sonya Yungeberg, the president of Ayuda Companies. "Ash trays, cigarettes, what type of cigarettes did that person smoke, down to that level of detail."

Ayuda employees certainly had their work cut out for them, especially since many of the flight controllers from Apollo 11 are still living, including flight director Gene Krantz.

"You really don't want to disappoint the guy who says failure is not an option. I wanted to be able to look Mr. Krantz in the eye after this and felt like we had done it justice," Keys said.

Every console was removed and restored. Wallpaper and ceiling tiles were replaced to look as exactly as they did in 1969.

"We went so far as to drill holes in the ceiling tiles  because the texture wasn't right. Most people think the ceiling is far away and no one will notice that, but we felt it was important," said Keys.

The project is now finished just in time for the 50th anniversary of the historic launch, and on July 20, flight controllers from Apollo 11 will return to Mission Control, many for the first time in decades.

"It gives you chills walking in there, knowing what happened in that room," said Yungeberg.

"I am tremendously proud to be a part of history. I hope it continues to inspire people to say, 'Look what we did with what little we had, and what else can we do, and what else can we figure out?'" said Keys.

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