Sunday, November 1, 2009

"Houston, we have a problem"...

Sorry for the long delay since our last post. We have spent the last two weeks at the Thousand Trails park on Lake Conroe, in east Texas. A very beautiful park, but although we made new friends and had fun line dancing, there is not much in the way of "tourist" things around here. And then there is the fact that we had two huge thunderstorms come through while we were here, one dumping 2 inches of rain, the other 3-1/2 inches in just a few hours and cutting the power for several hours. Luckily we are high and dry.

But, as you can see, on this last Wednesday we drove down to the Johnson Space Center, south of Houston. A very busy, interesting day. We spent the day touring the facility, and what a facility it is with over 14,000 people working here. There goes our tax dollars.

The pictures above and below are of the cockpit of the shuttle, above the commander's seat and below the pilot. Look at all the instruments! Sure wish we could get in and push some buttons and take it for a spin.

One of the tours we took was on a tram to the NASA area and into three buildings. We passed this building and wondered about the huge life-size picture on the outside. You'll see more in a minute.

And here is what was in that building -- the actual full-size Saturn V. It is HUGE. To get an idea of the size there is a person standing in the lower left corner of this picture. First Stage 1:

Then Stage 2:

Stage 3:

And the whole thing from the far end including the final stage. Talk about impressive.

The next building housed the control room for the early space missions including Gemini and Apollo. This was the room where the controllers on the ground heard those scary words, "Houston, we have a problem" from Apollo 13. I think you can still see the cigar smoke from after the first moon landing wafting through this room.

And the final building we entered:

This is a mock-up of part of the Space Station. We were on a balcony looking down through windows at the floor below. There is a full size mock-up of every thing that is in space in this building.

You can see the people working out a problem in the lower left of this picture. And more parts of the Space Station:

At the far end of the building was the mock-up of the shuttle. The nose:

The cargo section, which holds the items being taken to the Space Station.

After our tour we headed back to the Visitor Center where we saw several more exhibits including the museum. Well worth the time and money. Allow a full day.

Tomorrow we leave here for Rockport, which is on the Gulf Coast. Hopefully no more thunderstorms and great weather ahead!
To be continued...


Debbie said...

Wow! Now I want to be an astronaut!

Anonymous said...

wow, that thing is huge. I'm sure the pictures don't even do it justice. thanks for the postcard!

Skip & Bev said...

Great Post! My last visit to the Center was 35 years ago. Looks like an interesting place to visit.