Since the discovery of oil stocks at Beaumont in 1901, Houston has witnessed a tremendous industrial growth. NASA and Johnson Space Center are located in Houston. It is also home to Mission Control and numerous space environment training facilities for astronauts. All American spacecraft that is currently in use was designed in Houston. The city obtained the role of the world's main stronghold of space industry in 1961.
The 50-mile-long (80 km) Houston Ship Channel connects the city's port area with the ocean. The port area has become the city's business district, along with Interstate 10's Energy Corridor and the areas adjacent to the Galleria and the Texas Medical Center.
Being the fourth largest city in America, Houston covers 618 square miles (1600 sq km).
Over the past few decades, the downtown area has changed dramatically. Most of the city's entertainment spots are located there. It is also a prestigious residential district, and many of its buildings have taken on a luxurious look and risen in value.
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