Depending on who you ask, you could get very different answers about who people regard as a hero. Perhaps one of the more interesting responses you’d get is astronauts, and this is certainly something that is on display at Space Center Houston (SCH). Everywhere you look, you see historical items detailing the history of the United States space program, and as you look at the exhibits, as well as the names & faces of those who’ve manned missions in orbit and beyond, you can see why the idea of an astronaut being a hero isn’t too far-fetched.
When you take into consideration that astronauts are readily accepting the proposition that one mistake could cost them their lives & that any mission could be a final mission, you wonder why anyone would suit up in the first place. Space Center Houston (SCH), one of the leading tourist attractions in the city of Houston, aims to preserve the heroic feats of the men & women of the U.S. space program. It must be noted that SCH also serves as the official visitors center for the NASA Johnson Space Center. In other words, you’re in the heart of the NASA program.
Once at Space Center Houston, you’re struck by a number of things, but certainly the size of the entire layout is mind-boggling. The scope of what the space program worked with comes better into focus, and right away, your head starts spinning. The question remains, though – what do you see first? SCH has so much to offer in the way of historic exhibits, separate complexes, and educational areas that you struggle with what needs to be on your “must see” list. Not only that, you’re contending with a fairly large amount of visitors, so everyone is vying for a chance to look at all of the cool stuff.
Rather than getting too overwhelmed, here are seven things that are definitely worth checking out:
Kennedy Podium – This common podium was where JFK stood in late 1962 when he proposed the U.S. trip to the moon.
Apollo 17 Module – See the craft that carried the last two men to ever set foot on the moon.
Galileo Shuttlecraft – Check out the fully restored space vehicle from the original Star Trek series. Though only a prop, the show was truly inspirational for generations in the sciences.
Independence Plaza – Explore a replica of the shuttle Independence that sits on top of the original NASA 905 shuttle carrier aircraft. This is something not available anywhere else in the world.
Lunar Touchstone – Touch one of only 8 lunar rocks anywhere on Earth that can be handled by the public.
Gemini V Space Craft – This craft carried the U.S. into the record books for longest human space flight, and it helped test fuel cell capabilities needed for any attempts to take man to the moon.
MIR Docking Target – This is the actual docking target from the MIR Space Station.
Even though these highlights are totally awesome, it is only scratching the surface regarding all that Space Center Houston has to offer. If you’re a fan of the space program, have aspirations to orbit the Earth someday, or maybe you just love watching the stars at night, you owe it to yourself to visit Space Center Houston very soon.