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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
CURRENT TRIP STATUS TO DATE:
- 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