Sunday, June 26, 2011

Johnson Space Center - Houston Y'all

Fred has reminded me that I did not do a blog about the Johnson Space Center.  For lots of us this has been an important site linking us to whatever has been happening with lift-offs, moon landings and  space walks just to name a few things.
The JSC is just outside of Houston with only sections of it open to the public for tours.  It is still a highly functioning space center.  Astronauts still do most of their training at the center.  They also spend the week before lift-off in isolation here so that they are as healthy as possible before they leave the earth.
The areas open to the public include viewing  an actual Apollo capsule, an actual Saturn Rocket, touching an actual moon rock and numerous exhibits of suits worn by various astronauts and numerous other items used in space.  Unfortunately, mission control was closed the day that we visited.  Things were happening in space and they were busy.
When you enter the Johnson Space Center there is bag check security, just like going to a ball game.
Upon entering what you find is a large game and hands on exhibits for kids to do "science/space" activities.  It's kinda like a Disney environment and the kids love it!
Then you can get to take the tour of the real stuff.  Tour takes 1.5hrs and there is another full security check, like the airport.  They are taking no chances with anyone doing anything at the working Johnson Space Center.
Tour train that takes visitors to the "Real Stuff"

The first thing you see as you go out on the tour train is an enormous building labelled Saturn V.  We'll see that at the end.  The first thing we visit is the hangar with actual size working models of all US and Russian equipment.  This is where the hands on training happens for the Astronauts.  There were none training on the day we were there, but it does happen that visitors see real training going on during the tour.

Next stop on the tour was the Saturn V Rocket - ENORMOUS!!!!

Astronauts are small men with lots of courage to fit into these capsules!

Actual piece of moon rock; slide hand thru narrow opening on any side, then under protective glass to be able to touch that triangular piece of moon rock

It is really worth the visit and if you go, plan on spending many hours looking at exhibits and watching a few movies about the space program.  All really well done.
Hope you enjoy pictures and I have more if anyone wants to see the whole series of shots.

Bye for now,
Michelle and Fred
Traveling the country so you don't have to!