The Ultimate Road Trip travel blog

Space Shuttle

Mission Control

Space Vehicle Mockup Facility

Space Vehicle Mockup Facility

Saturn V Rocket Top

Saturn V Rocket Bottom

Touching a Moon Rock

Apollo 17 Command Capsule


Today was a golden day. Went to the Johnson Space Center (NASA) arriving shortly before they opened at 10. I knew parking was $5 but something was going on while I was sitting in line because there was a car in the front that didn’t move for like 5 minutes. Then suddenly we starting zipping right along. I saw the attendant wave the 3 cars in front of me through and I assumed they had some sort of pass. Then he waved me through. Bingo, saved 5 bucks. But of course, that wouldn’t make a golden day…bronze, maybe, but not golden. I then got in line for a ticket. I heard a guy behind me say he could get a $15 discount on the $29.95 ticket w/ his AAA card. Didn’t sound right to me but it gave me the idea to ask about a AAA discount. When I did the guy said no. Then he held up a piece of paper w/ a fireman, policeman, and military guy, and asked “Are you any of these?”. I said “I’m a veteran” to which he responded “Okay, a veteran” and began ringing me up. I assumed I may get a couple of dollars discount and had my credit card at the ready but he handed me a flyer and a receipt, saying “Have a nice day”. I was confused for a split second but stepped away and looked at the receipt which said $0. In 15-minutes I saved $34.95. Now that’s a golden day!

There is visitor’s center filled w/ all kinds of displays, theaters, and interactive exhibits but the main thing I wanted to do was take the tram tour which takes you on to the grounds of the where the work is done so I got in line for that first thing. It is billed as 90 minutes. There are 3 stops on the tour where you get off the tram. The first one is mission control. This was pretty awesome. We sat in theater seats up behind the control room behind glass while the guys on the floor were doing their jobs of monitoring the space station. It’s just like in the movies, the front wall is various video panels w/ info on it including a shot of the earth w/ the space station moving through it. Then the room has various consoles where people sit and monitor their specialized areas related to the vital components of keeping the station running. There was a guy who gave a presentation explaining some of what was going on in the control room. The second stop on the tour was the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility where they train the astronauts in the various types of space craft. The final stop was at a warehouse where a Saturn V rocket was located. This last stop was on your own so depending how much time you spent there the tour could run more than 90 minutes. My total time was closer to 2 hours.

Back inside the visitor’s center, after a quick lunch, I watched a short film on the space program then went through the area w/ the Apollo displays. Then I went outside to a courtyard where they had the space shuttle sitting piggy back on a Boeing 767 as seen in numerous photographs over the years. You could go through both the shuttle and the plane where they had displays set up.

Last major item for the day was a film about mission control. It was primarily interviews of the people who worked on the Apollo program back in the 60s and focused on what was happening in the control room during the Apollo 11 and 13 launches.

Looked around at some of the other displays for a short while before deciding to call it a day around 4.

Steps 5978/939778 Bike 0/135.5

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