The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 67, July 1963 - April, 1964 Page: 361
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NASA's Manned Spacecraft Center
lives as well as those of their children after them would be
vastly changed by it."
As it turned out, the president's visit proved enormously bene-
ficial to MSC's work in Houston. His speech, his very presence,
stirred the populace there to a new and greater awareness of
America's space program. And this growing public conscious-
ness, in turn, gave the space team itself a higher understanding
of its own responsibilities. Thus when Walter M. Schirra, Jr.,
on October 3, 1962, rode an Atlas rocket into a six orbit journey
in space, when Houston afterwards billed him as its first citizen
in space and gave him a rousing "welcome home" reception, the
Manned Spacecraft Center decided to expand a program begun
the previous summer to keep the community apprised of its
progress and its achievements. Led by Eugene E. Horton, head
of MSC's Community Relations Branch, top NASA officials lit-
erally saturated the south Texas area with space talks; they spoke
to college and university audiences, to P.T.A. meetings, to busi-
ness and professional groups, and to gatherings of the press. Then
they branched out, over the state, holding space forums in vir-
tually every major city from the Gulf Coast to the far-away
Panhandle. The idea behind all of these talks was to give the
people of Texas a better scientific understanding of the nation's
space conquests and to explain "who we are, why we are here,
and what we are doing.""
At the same time, the space center brought to Houston a NASA
spacemobile-one of ten operating over the country-which was
little more than a truck that contained displays of rockets and
other space paraphernalia. This spacemobile had already been to
Houston once, the previous August, and had proved tremen-
dously effective in displaying its contents to the Harris County
Teachers Workshop. On its second visit that December the space-
mobile went to every Houston school where its driver, an accom-
plished speaker named Joe Anctil, bewitched the students with
graphic descriptions of a rocket trip to the moon."
28Houston Post, September 13, 1962. See also Dallas Morning News, September
"Eugene E. Horton, Manned Spacecraft Center, to S.B.O., Houston, interview,
July 22, 1963.
26Ibid.; Houston Magazine (August, 1962), 25.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 67, July 1963 - April, 1964, periodical, 1964; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101197/m1/423/: accessed June 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.