In 1961, the Johnson Space Center was established, originally as the Manned Space Center, in Houston. The people of the Houston area welcomed personnel with open arms. The city was ecstatic. Space fever promptly swept the town. The baseball team was named the Astros, and the basketball team was called the Rockets.
From the early Gemini, Apollo and Skylab projects to today's space shuttle, International Space Station and exploration endeavors, the center continues to lead NASA's efforts in human space exploration. And the enthusiasm throughout the Houston community continues.
This year, Houston’s Mayor Annise Parker recommended that the NASA workforce receive the city's annual Spirit of Houston Award for the iconic contributions the people have made throughout the agency's history. The award was established in 2004 to honor Houstonians who motivated their fellow citizens with their everyday acts of leadership.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden accepted the award at Houston's 174th Birthday Celebration August 26, 2010. Employees from Johnson, including Center Director Michael Coats, also attended the event.
"It is an honor to accept the 2010 Spirit of Houston Award on behalf of all of the men and women of NASA," Bolden said. "Every one of us is absolutely committed to a vibrant future for exploration and improving life on Earth."
The theme for this year's birthday event was "Houston, We Have the Moon and the Stars!" Former astronaut Bernard A. Harris Jr. was inducted into the 2010 Houston Hall of Fame at the event.
For more than 50 years, NASA and its workforce have powered Houston and the nation into the 21st century through accomplishments that are enduring milestones of human achievement. Among those accomplishments are technological innovations and scientific discoveries that have improved lives on Earth.
“The men and women who work on these programs are dedicated professionals with a true spirit of exploration,” said Coats. “It is for them and because of them that the Spirit of Houston is alive and well. We thank you again for this great honor.”
Earlier that day, Parker proclaimed Aug. 26, 2010, as "The NASA Family Spirit of Houston Day." The proclamation stated the "dedicated workforce reaches beyond the boundaries of the Johnson Space Center campus and makes Houston a better community at large."
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