Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Space Center Houston

We took a road trip to visit family in Houston.  On the itinerary was a visit to Space Center Houston.  We were excited to see the space center and parts of Johnson Space Center.

As we pulled into the center, we saw the space shuttle being assembled and the large transport plane.  It was a shame that Houston did not get one of the shuttles that actually went into orbit.  With the role that Houston plays in the NASA program, they should have received Enterprise.  Instead, politics played a role in where the shuttles went and New York received Enterprise.

We began our mission with a tour of Johnson Space Center.  The tram made its way along the streets of the center and recording being played through speakers told about the various buildings.  It was facinating to learn about the history within each structure.  The training and research that takes place.  Realizing that every astronaut has walked the grounds we were seeing was just awesome!

We went into the training building that holds a mock up of the International Space Station.  I would have loved to actually gone into the mock up.  Little Man was in awe of it, as well.  All astronauts that are going to work in the ISS are trained in that actual mock up.  We saw the mock up of the Russian craft that deploys the astronauts to ISS.  The space shuttle mock up was in the process of being removed from the building.  The Orion craft sat in the building and we were told that an unmanned flight is being planned.  Hopefully, it is a success and the U.S. will once again have another fleet of craft to be sent to space.

Also, in the building, we saw different robots, rovers, and space exploration vehicles.  We learned various things about them.  The Robonaut was Egee's favorite.  The dexterity and precision of the Robonaut's hands and fingers are amazing.  It can turn a single page of a book without tearing the page!

When we boarded the tram again, we went down a street that memorialized those astronauts and Space Center Employees that had given their lives and made significant contributions to the program.  A reminder that our mission to explore our universe is a dangerous one, but the brave take the risk for all mankind.

Our final tram stop was at Rocket Park.  Inside the huge building sits a Saturn V rocket.  Little Man was in pure awe of the size.  He wanted to know how it worked.  I explained the different stages of the rocket and the purpose of each.  He told me he may want to work for NASA one day.

We went back into Space Center Houston after our tram tour.  The children enjoyed all the different interactive exhibits.  I could barely pry Little Man from the Angry Birds Space area.  He loved trying to dock the shuttle and ISS.  Egee had fun experiencing what it would be like to walk on Mars.

This is great place for anyone that loves NASA and the thrill of space exploration.  We can't wait to go back again!