After watching a sport that’s played on the ground, our next stop was to take us out of this world…well nearly. We packed up our gear and headed off. We were off to Houston to visit the Johnson Space Centre.
We parked up and with one small step (See what I did there?) we headed into the centre. We’ve seen many space related places on this trip. There was the Space Communication Centre in the capital of Australia, the planetarium in Brisbane and the aircraft hanger in Virginia. But this place was going to be different.
As everyone knows, this space centre housed the control centre for the Apollo 11 moon landing back in 1969. Allegedly. I’m not saying we didn’t land on the moon. But I’m not saying we did. I love a good conspiracy and the moon landing is one of the best!
There were loads of exhibits there but we’d seen it all before. We headed straight for the tour of the centre. We stepped aboard the tram but not before having our photo taken in front of the green screen. The amount of space memorabilia there to have your photo taken in front of and they want to superimpose you onto a background of space. Yeah, because you don’t need any space suits in space, very realistic. You may have tricked the public back in ‘69 NASA, but it won’t work these days!
The tram’s first stop was mission control. The room hasn’t changed since ‘69 and the machines and technology show that. The technology is so old that if you took a photo on your phone, it would have taken up 4 times the amount of memory the whole system had back then! But they still managed to put a man on the moon with it… At the current time, the building also houses the control centre for the International Space Station (I.S.S) but they wouldn’t let us see that. Spoilsports.
Next up on the list was the Space Vehicle Mock-up Facility. This hanger was quite big and we could see down on the work floor from the viewing corridor. There was a full-size replica of the I.S.S and many other vehicles and robots. They use this space to test out various prototypes and also problem solving various issues. It’s a lot safer to test out a procedure on the grounded I.S.S than the one in space!
Back on the tram and on to the Saturn V hanger. In here was, as you could probably guess, Saturn V. It is the tallest, heaviest and most powerful rocket that has been in operation. But now, it’s been retired to the hanger due to financial reasons. From 1964 – 1973, it cost the American taxpayer, in today’s money, $47 BILLION!
After a few photos, we headed back to the main exhibition area. Before we went through the doors, our photos were there which they took earlier. It couldn’t have looked more superimposed.
There wasn’t much that we hadn’t already seen, however, they did have a cockpit of a spaceship. Compared to an airplane’s cockpit, this looked like it was easy to control with about half the amount of buttons and switches!
We took our spacesuits off, updated mission control and drove off to Austin, Texas. After chilling out for the night in a Motel 6, we headed off to the town centre.