There are several things Houston is famous for. Rodeos, JJ Watt, and Beyonce of course. But if you ask almost anyone in the world what Houston is MOST famous for, most likely the answer will be NASA.
The Johnson Space Center is situation on the outskirts of Houston, sprawling over more than 1,600 acres. Founded in 1961, the Johnson Space Center has been the main NASA campus for over five decades. Growing up in Houston I had spent countless of hours at Space Center Houston (the visitor center for NASA's Johnson Space Center). I had even spent the night underneath a space shuttle replica during my Girl Scout days.
t had been awhile since I had played "tourist" in Houston, so I was pleased to find that NASA was keeping Space Center Houston relevant and exciting as ever. It made me very proud to see the amazing work Houston is doing towards the International Space Station Program. Showing Jon around was fun and educational, a kind of trip we both love! We even had the pleasure of hearing a lecture by Kenneth Cameron, a astronaut who has logged over 561 hours in space!
[Kenneth Cameron, astronaut]
VISITING THE JOHNSON SPACE CENTER
So here is how a trip to NASA works. The Johnson Space Center is still a functional field center for NASA, meaning most areas are off limits. But don't fret! There is still plenty to see and do!
Any trip to NASA begins at Space Center Houston, a interactive museum detailing the life of the the American space program. There are exhibits on every space mission, a life sized model of a space shuttle, and even a place to touch an actual moon rock (one of eight places in the world you can do so)! After exploring the museum, you move on to the best bit, the tour of the Space Center itself!
The tram tour of Johnson Space Center takes you on a guided journey through NASA. Your first stop is mission control. Yes, the ACTUAL mission control where the most famous line in Houston's history was heard: "Houston, we've hd a problem". Although mission control has since moved to the floor below (off limits for obvious reasons), you feel like you are in the presence of something great.
Next, the tour takes you to the Vehicle Mock Up Facility. This building is home to some of the world's most highly sophisticated machinery. It's essentially a giant workshop for NASA engineers and astronauts. The pieces of equipment housed here will blow your mind!
Finally, the tram tour takes you to Rocket Park, a warehouse built around the most powerful rocket ever used by NASA: Saturn V. The rocket is 36 stories tall, but don't worry! It's laying on it's side so you can get a up close and personal look at this massive piece of space history.
VEHICLE MOCK UP FACILITY
The Johnson Space Center is a facility that makes all Houstonians proud. Houston may not have many typical "touristy" attractions, but a visit to NASA should be on everyone's list!