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Houston, TX - Day 2 - 02/26/2012

Published at 8:51 PM in ,

Today we went to Space Center Houston, home of the primary NASA facilities for training and planning.  It was similar to the Space Center in Huntsville that we went to last September, but different in that it was much more comprehensive in its exhibits and experiences. 

The first building on the Tram Tour

The first thing we did was their Tram Tour.  This tour loads you onto their trams and takes you all around the NASA buildings on the grounds.  In one building, you get to see Mission Control, where all the action is for space missions.  Our guide explained what each section in the room is for - a different area that controls for each specific system for the mission.  For example, there is one whole section just for the computer system aboard the craft.

Mission Control!

Another building housed all of the training facilities for astronauts.  There is a full-sized replica of the International Space Station, so that astronauts can train for what it is like to be there. There is also equipment that helps them simulate weightlessness and how to work in that kind of environment.  We got to see the training model of the next form of space travel, the Orion.  It goes back to the capsule form of travel, slightly similar to the Apollo missions.

Training model of International Space Station

The final building we visited housed a Saturn rocket and displays of the Apollo missions that were launched by these rockets.

After the tram tour, Chrissy and Rachael wanted to play in the kids' area, so while Jim stayed with them, I took Michael around to a few of the other exhibits.  He tried a game that simulated the weightlessness of space and how it feels to control a vehicle against that while trying to complete a mission at the same time.  We also went in the crew compartment of a space shuttle.  The crew compartment had been cut apart so that visitors could move about freely, but there were lines that indicated where it would normally be.  It is a very small space.  You could also look through the storage compartments to see what might typically be stored there.  Who knew astronauts needed chapstick?

Moon mission game

Chapstick!

It was almost closing time, and we still hadn't done most of the things there, so we decided to come back tomorrow.  We are looking forward to it!

More pictures in the Photo Gallery.

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