Johnson Space Center
Houston Travel Blog› entry 33 of 121 › view all entries
Up bright and early to be sure to get some breakfast before we are off to the Johnson Space Center. Itâ€™s nothing special, but waffles, juice, a hard-boiled egg and a small sweet roll. That should last until lunch. I wanted to get to the Space Center when they opened so we wouldnâ€™t have to wait for a Tram ride. They say that it is the major attraction and soon gets a major line. We made through the line of people coming in because we had purchased our tickets through the hotel the night before, and at a discounted price too. So in we went and after stopping to take a few pictures going through the main building we ended up in line for the second tram of the day. Just a few minutes to wait. They run every 20 minutes.
The Tram ride goes around the Johnson Space center showing the large campus like setting and the many buildings which are all numbered from 1 to hmmm, I didnâ€™t see any past about 45 or 50.
Our first stop was to go into a building and up to the third floor where the original Commander Center was located. It had been used all the way up until 1995. Looking at all of the modules and display controls it is hard to realize that not one keyboard, mouse or computer was used in the Commander Center.
From there we went back to the Tram and drove to another building where full-sized mock-ups of the different units were all housed in a building and where the astronauts trained on how to use, and get familiar with them. That included the space shuttle and the large arm used to help deploy things in space. One of the odd things about that arm, which comes from Canada, and is thus called "The Canadian Arm" it is so strong that in space it can moved anything and everything and does a magnificent job, but here on earth it canâ€™t even lift its own weight.
The next stop on the Tram ride was at the cluster of trees that have been planted in the memory of those lost in the space program. We spent a moment in silence.
Our last stop was at the Rocket building. Outside were two actual rockets from the program which had not been used. By the time they were ready to be used, bigger and better things had developed which made them obsolete. Inside the building was one rocket which is what has been used in recent launches. When you walked in the door and saw it laying there you felt so small. The tires on the trailers that it sat on were a full five feet tall. A few of my pictures have people standing and walking around the huge sections. It was really something to see.
Then back to the main part of the Space Center and through a few more exhibits.
One was a full-sized replica of a Shuttle Control cabin. There are more switches on the ceiling of a space shuttle than any plane in use today.
I tried on two of the helmets that they had there, but I didnâ€™t think they did anything for me. J
Next we went and saw a fifteen minute film about the program from the day that John F. Kennedy announced the beginning of the program until the most recent space shuttles and space station. Then we got to spend some time in the gallery, where several items were on display.
We ended our tour in the gift shop where we bought several items for our kids, and of course a spoon for Mom.
What a great adventure. So well worth the price!
Next we went to lunch and tried to connect with another TravBuddy. CarylC had given us her phone number and we finally got together with her for just a little while. It was a half-hour of good chatting and smiles. I wish it could have lasted longer.