Friday, February 26, 2010

Johnson's Space Center

Arriving at The Space Center Houston

Nose of Space Shuttle displayed in Visitor's Center

Inside the Shuttle

The Orion Space Suit worn by the astronauts

The Historical Mission Control Center (Best I could do because of the lighting)

Looking through glass at the Space Mockup Training Facility

Picture from the tram approaching Rocket Park

The Saturn V Rocket in sections for display

Here at Galveston Island, we aren't far from the Johnson's Space Center in Houston. Less than and hour from here, it was a nice adventure for the better part of a day. So, yesterday we left here late morning and arrived there around 11:30 am. We figured since they were opened until 5pm, we would easily be able to take in everything in one day. Well, we were wrong. We could have purchased a yearly pass for just a few dollars more, but we aren't sure when we will be back in the area again.

We arrived at the Visitor's Center called "Space Center Houston" and walked around to see what there was to do first and decided on The Starship Gallery and watched a film titled "On Human Destiny" This film was very good as an introduction to the space program. It brought you through the various stages in space exploration through the years. Watching the first walk on the moon again was so much fun. The astronauts were practically dancing up there (well jumping around would be more acurate). One part that was particularly chilling was the Challenger exploding and the reaction of those that were at Mission Control when it happened. These are trained professionals and you could see the shock and saddness on their faces. I think we all know where we were when this happened.

We went on a Tram Tour that took us to through Nasa's Johnson Space Center. Before getting on the tram we had to empty all our phones, cameras, wallets, watches, purses etc into a container (much like at the airport). Al had a large western belt buckle and he had to remove it from his belt. When you think about the fact that there are thousands of employees at Nasa, you realize the necessity for this type of security. Once we got on the Tram, we were on our way to Mission Control. This was the Mission Control that was used in the earlier days. It is now considered the "Historical Mission Control"as it has now been replaced with a more modern Mission Control. We didn't get to visit the current one for some reason, and I had read that that was supposed to be included. It was pretty amazing to be there and know all the things that happened there during the early days of space exploration.

Our next visit was to the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility. Here is where the astronauts train. For obvious reasons, they can't do their training up in space, so there are various types of equipment that duplicates the space experience. It was quite an elaborate operation. I can't imagine the billions of dollars that went into this facility, let alone on the real thing.

Our next stop was to the Saturn V Complex at Rocket Park. The man who gave us the presentation was a retired Rocket Scientist. The rocket he showed us was a 3 Stage Rocket and was actually to be used as Apollo 18. Unfortunately, Apollo 18 will never happen do to the fact that the program ran out of money.

The Auto Tram tour was supposed to take 1 1/2 hrs, but we were actually gone for 2 1/4 hrs. All in all it was a very good tour and we learned a lot about our space program. When we got back to the Vistors area, we were tired and it was almost 4pm, so we looked around at some more displays and decided to call it a day. We would like to go back maybe next year or the year after and see all the things we missed.

1 comment:

  1. How fun. The kids will love to see the picture of Poppy by the they can see how huge it is.