NASA: Johnson Space Center

Posted: January 19, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

“Failure is not an option.”~ NASA

There are many places in this great country that are attractions which host millions and millions of people from around the world.

I have been to Graceland, in Memphis, Tennessee. I’ve also been to Plimouth Plantation and Plimouth Harbor which holds The Mayflower in Massachusetts. And I have been to San Antonio, Texas to see The Alamo, twice. And now I have been to a fourth of these world famous places. Johnson Space Center.

I think that I was very fortunate that my host, Keith, works alongside NASA. And he was able to get me onto the property without any problem. And the opportunity to see things people wouldn’t normally see, or learn about NASA’s programs that people wouldn’t normally know.

On a whim, I was taken to Rocket Park. I kept seeing this huge building that had Saturn V on the side. I would learn that the building actually had the rocket inside!

But I would also learn the hard way that Saturn V, the “V” is actually a Roman numeral, and not a letter. No wonder why I would miss perfection on space quizzes in school!!

Rocket Park though had many different rockets that were in the space program a very long time ago. Missions that probably people have long forgotten. But they paved the way for programs such as Gemini, Mercury, and Apollo. And everyone knows that the Apollo program was the first successful program in NASA to put a man on the moon.

It is one thing to see these rockets in photographs or on television. It is a completely different experience to have them right there in your face. Very impressive!!

After going inside the building that holds the Saturn V rocket, I was in pure awe and glory. That rocket is so freakin’ huge!

I kept saying, “If this thing fires off right now, I will be totally obliterated! Not even dust!!”.

I guess then it was a good thing that it didn’t.

Saturn V rocket:

Height 363.0 feet (110.6 m)

Diameter 33.0 feet (10.1 m)

Mass 6,699,000 pounds (3,039,000 kg)

Payload 262,000 pounds (119,000 kg)

And this comes in three stages. So basically it is a three piece puzzle. But still, by those figures- it’s a monster!!

It was definitely something that just blew my mind. And from all that excitement and wonder I blurted out, “I can’t wait to see what they have in the gift shop.”

Ugh… okay, I’m a dork!

But that would have to wait. I would return to Johnson Space Center a couple of days later and end up at Space Center Houston.

It is more of the museum type attraction. The one that usually gets all of its millions and millions of worldwide visitors. If I only knew what was about to be ahead of me, I would have been more excited about going than I actually was.

I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to take a visit to Space Center Houston, but I did the best that I could in the time that I did have.

Almost right away, the decision came to take the tram tour. And then hopefully catch a presentation in one of their IMAX theaters.

The tram tour was an excellent idea. Not only for the knowledge of finding out what they do at Johnson Space Center, and having the additional knowledge of what certain windowless buildings were as told by Keith. But the two people running the tram…… holy smokes. These two girls were SO CUTE!!!!!!

So a 90 minute tour of Mission Control and other important buildings where certain things are on the horizon for NASA, such as the Orion program. Sandwiched by two cute girls. Fun, fun, fun! But it started out with them taking your photograph behind a green screen. Yep, you know what that means!!

My sense of humor came in very handy as I got them to smile. Even laugh when I was trying to exit off the tram to go inside a building with the rest of the tour group, and I had not realized that the straps holding my wheelchair secure, one of them was still attached. Oops!

My only moment to save face was to say, “Well, if I would have broken that, NASA would own me for the next six months!”. Ohh, how they laughed.

I had no problems flirting with them. Besides, it made them both smile more.

The tram tour actually stopped at Rocket Park. And they let everyone off and allow people to just look around as much as they want and leave. Allowing people to be picked up by another tram. But since I had already been there, I stayed aboard. That would work in my favor due to the fact that we were in a bit of a time crunch.

When it was all over and we returned to Space Center Houston, let me tell ya… Keith had my back. He made sure that he got a couple of photographs of me with his own camera, with the girls. I owe that man BIG TIME!

However, all of this talk about them being cute and me flirting with them would come to an abrupt end as I would see them walking around and overhear them talking about things like “boys”, “class”, and “their lockers”. Such deflation.

Once returning inside, everyone was immediately hit up to purchase their photo package. $30- no thanks!

I wondered if anyone who had been there to take the tram tour actually was able to bypass the photo session altogether. I wondered if anyone dared to try.

But I was not in the mood to pay that much for something like that. Onward I carried into the museum attraction again.

Next stop: Gift Shop.

All I am going to say about it are two things:

#1- I am in serious need of adult supervision.

#2- G’bye, $100+!

I think I lost my card to pick on LISAFAYECHARDONNAY for going totally ballistic in Las Vegas because of this.

I then went back out into the main part of the museum. A lot of it was really cool I thought. There was a wall of photographs of ALL the astronauts that had taken flights into space. From the very first flight to the very last mission. Let’s just say the wall is pretty big.

Other things like space suits worn by other famous astronauts were on display. And yes, I even made it into the IMAX theater and watched a program about NASA’s space shuttle program. Difficult to watch about the tragedies of Columbia and Challenger.

I overheard a very retarded and equally insensitive comment from someone saying, “NASA should keep the shuttle program. They just need to stop naming their shuttles starting with the letter C.”

I would hang out in Space Center Houston until closing time. But I left with a few more photograph opportunities.

Houston offers so many things to see and do. I think that you would have to be there for at least a year or two to see everything. And by the end of that time, you’ll have to stay longer because something brand new would have come up. One should never be able to claim that they were bored, while visiting Houston, Texas. Never.

 

 

 

 

 

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