Space Centre Houston

Monday 23rd December 2019

The Space Centre is on the southern side of Houston by 40 minutes. We took a 9th Level Tour which gave us a behind the scenes access to how astronauts train and how NASA communicates with the International Space Station (ISS). It was a fantastic experience to walk the floor of the Space Vehicle Mock-up Facility and see close up how they build the various capsules and pods that the astronauts travel in through space. We walked through Rocket Park and got up close and personal to the Apollo 17 rocket. Apollo 17 & 18 were built and ready to go when the funding for Apollo was withdrawn and the program canned.

What was really special for me was the visit to current Mission Control and watch the Flight Director in communication with the ISS and the 6 astronauts who are up there on Expedition 61, 2 females and 4 males from the US, Russia and Italy. One of the crew, Christina Koch has just set the record for the longest single space flight by a woman – by the time she returns in February 2020 she would have been in space for 328 days.

However, even more special was visiting the Apollo Mission Control Centre and watch snippets of Apollo 11 landing on the moon and the first steps of Neil Armstrong and his communication with President Richard Nixon – White House to the moon. But it got even better when we were able to walk the floor of Mission Control just as it was in 1969, including the overflowing ashtrays of used cigarettes.

What an experience!!