US Space & Rocket Center, Huntsville, AL - 09-15-2011

Published at 9:42 PM in , ,

Today was an excellent Science field trip day!  We traveled to Huntsville, Alabama, to visit our nephew, David, at the University of Alabama - Hunstville, for his 19th birthday.  He is a freshman at UAH, majoring in Astronomy!  We enjoyed a great visit and dinner with him yesterday, followed by a great breakfast this morning.

The U.S. Space & Rocket Center

After breakfast, we drove the 1.5 miles to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.  You can see the mock-up of the Saturn V from David's dorm.  We had another free entry to this museum with our Fernbank memberships.  I think we have saved at least $200 in museum admissions this year with our reciprocal benefits.  WELL worth our $95 family membership to Fernbank!

Inside the main exhibit hall

The Center offers exhibits of the space program since its early days, which a large part of which were in Huntsville.  We learned about how the engines of the rockets work, the amount of force (thrust) needed to get them off the ground, as well as what astronauts experience in space and upon their return to Earth.

There were guided tours available, but we chose to explore on our own.  There were also hands-on science experiments and lessons throughout the museum.  

Apollo 16 capsule

One of the neatest things we saw was the Apollo 16 command capsule, named "Casper."  This was the actual capsule used by the Apollo 16 astronauts. It was a tiny space for three men to share for eleven days!  They also had an real moon rock on display.

Moon Rock

The outside grounds are host to several life-size models of rockets, from the towering Saturn V model, to the smaller Saturn I and Juno II rockets.  There is also the Space Shuttle Pathfinder, used for shuttle simulation, on permanent display on the museum grounds.  Space Camp is also a part of the sprawling grounds.  Once the children are a little older, we may think about participating in the Family Space Camp Program

One really gets a feel for the true power of the rockets, and the U.S. space program itself, when visiting the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

We had a wonderful visit, although we had to head home earlier than planned due to the death of a close friend. Ray Richardson was a great friend and mentor to Jim, and he will truly be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Richardson family.

More pictures are in the Photo Gallery!

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