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Space Center Houston & NASA Johnson Space Center, Day 120

The Space Center Houston and NASA Johnson Space Center are the largest tourist attractions in the greater Houston area.

And with good reason! Not only is this the location of significant American and International history. It also serves as a learning and exploration center for the public to enjoy.

So with one full day in Houston, we decided to do what most tourist do. We headed to the Space Center!

The Space Center Houston

What most people don’t realize is that the Space Center Houston is not the same thing as NASA.

neil armstrong statue
This statue of Neil Armstrong is one of two tributes to Neil Armstrong. The exact match of this statue is also station in Russia to signify the two countries working together in space exploration.

The Space Center Houston is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to providing education and exploration about the past and future of space exploration.

Think of it as a large museum dedicated to space travel.

It is the home to the largest spacesuit collection that men and women wore over the years as they traveled into space. It even has the exact ejection suit worn by John Young on the first shuttle flight in 1981.

There are many exhibits inside the Space Center including an up close look of the confined quarters that the astronauts worked in.

Not only can you walk around and see artifacts from different space flights. You can also walk through various replica space vessels to see the challenging conditions that the astronauts had to deal with while traveling.

Space Shuttle Independence

And in the front entrance of the Space Center Houston’s main building, you will see the shuttle replica Independence that is mounted on top of an aircraft carrier.

space center Houston
At the front entrance of Space Center Houston, you can see the shuttle that is mounted on top of an aircraft. And you can actually go inside both!

It is the world’s only shuttle mounted on top of an aircraft and the only one in the world allowing the public to enter and explore both vessels.

We thoroughly enjoyed walking through all of the exhibits, watching the films and exploring how life would be in space.

But I think both of use were even more excited about heading to the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

Space Center Houston
There is an entire section of the museum dedicated to those that lost their lives during space missions.

The NASA Campus

With every general admission ticket, you are able to take a guided tour on the campus of Johnson’s Space Center.

The property that is home to NASA, was donated by Rice University in the early 1960’s.

And as you take the guided tour of the area, you will notice that it is set up like a college campus with many buildings scattered throughout property.

space center Houston
The campus of NASA is set up like a college campus with many research buildings scattered throughout the property.

As you look around, you will see that each building is numbered on the outside. This makes it easy for all to identify the buildings on the campus.

As we headed through the campus we passed by the astronaut training facility. This is where the staff prepares their bodies for the time that they are going to spend in space.

And another building is the home to the anti-gravity lab. However, most of the buildings are used for scientific research on either the engineering and mechanics of flying in space or the human body impacts resulting from space travel.

saturn V
This building holds Saturn V – the rocket that launched Skylab, the first American Space Station.

However there is one special building that allows a limited amount of visitors in each day.

Apollo Mission Control Center

And if you plan in advance, you may be one of the lucky few that get to tour The Apollo Mission Control Center.

The Space Center Houston offers a limited number of tickets on a daily basis for this tour. It is a behind the scenes look that will take you back in history. when Apollo 11 landed on the moon.

apollo mission control
If you are lucky enough to get tickets, you can go inside the actual Apollo Mission Control Center.

You will sit in the back of the actual Mission Control center that we have all seen on television during epic moments in space history.

Although the mission control center was used for years after the Apollo missions were done and gone, they have restored the area to look just like the day that Neil Armstrong took that first step on the moon.

apollo mission control room
The actual room where Mission Control took place for the Apollo missions.

During the documentary presentation, the control room comes alive with screens and computers tracking the shuttles progress.

Today NASA uses this mission control room purely for tours. However, on this campus is the actual mission control center that still assists with the International Space Station.

So if you ever get to Houston, we highly recommend heading to the Space Center Houston and NASA’s Space Center.

Happy Traveling – Jim and Mary


  • Day 120 of 365
  • States : 15/50
  • National Parks / Monuments : 18
  • Stayed In : League City, TX
  • Miles Driven : 31.9
  • Total Trip Miles To Date : 13,457.5
  • Total Gallons Used : 975.18
  • Biking Miles : 0.0
  • Biking Miles To Date : 152.8
  • Hiking Miles : 2.1
  • Hiking Miles To Date : 278.6

On September 9th, 2019, we set out in our NuCamp T@B 400 Teardrop Camper to travel to every state. You can check out all of our dates here : Dates for the States

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