You've probably heard people say "Houston, we've got a problem" many times. Well, the "problem" that sparked the phrase didn't happen anywhere near Houston.

It occurred about 200, 000 miles from there, in space, when an explosion seriously damaged the Apollo 13 service module. Which, in turn, left the Apollo 13 astronauts stranded with no idea how they would return to Earth.

So, if it didn't even happen on the planet, why keep name-droppin' Houston?

Because Houston is the site of the Johnson Space Center and the oft quoted statement, (which is actually "Houston, we've had a problem"), was directed at launch coordinators there.

So, why is the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas?

President Johnson
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The space center we had at the time, known as the Manned Spacecraft Center, had outgrown its location at Langley Field, near Washington D.C.

The equipment needed to handle space flights was evolving and needed more and more room which, Langley couldn't provide.

Texas landed it because the VP at the time, (and Chairman of JFK's  National Space Council), Lyndon Johnson was from Texas. (As was the sitting Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. Hmmm...)

Government Ministers Speak On Housing Offensive
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Politics were absolutely involved and the two largest, (continental), United States were considered for the new site.

Mare Island in California was the initial choice but Johnson demanded it be built in Texas. Houston, at that time, was the 6th largest city in the USA. Read more here.

The name was officially changed from the "Manned Spacecraft Center" to the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in 1973.

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