The Space Center Houston is a science museum and the official visitor center of the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston. NASA owns the museum, and it is operating under a contract of a nonprofit organization called Manned Spaceflight Education Foundation. In 2014, the museum earned a place as a Smithsonian Affiliate. In the Space Center Houston, you can have a glimpse of more than 400 space artifacts, including the most extensive collection of moon rocks and a flown spacecraft. In this article, we are going to learn more about the attractions that you can see at the Space Center Houston.
Independence Plaza Complex– This is a one-of-a-kind attraction at the Space Center Houston because it features the only replica of the world’s only Space Shuttle. You can see this mounted on one of the two original shuttle carrier aircraft. Aside from that, this is also where you can also see the historic Boeing 747 shuttle carrier aircraft. Since the opening of the Space Center Houston in 1992, the Independence Plaza Complex remains to be the museum’s most significant project.
Starship Gallery – This part of the museum contains artifacts such as three flown spacecraft and Moon rocks. Aside from that, you can also get a glimpse of other spacecraft and space rocks such as:
- Lunar Module test vehicle LTA-8
- Skylab 1-G Trainer
- Apollo-Soyuz Test Project docking module trainer
- Lunar Roving Vehicle Trainer
- Lunar Samples Vault
- Mercury 9 capsule (Faith 7)
- Apollo 17 Command Module AmericaLunar Module test vehicle LTA-8
- Gemini 5 Capsule
Mission Mars – This exhibit was opened in January 2017, and it features the research and output that NASA has done throughout the years. Aside from that, it also tells about NASA’s plan for future travel to Mars. The Mission Mars exhibit allows visitors to learn more about the planet regarding different activities that bring them to the Martian landscape. These activities include a real-time weather forecast on Mars, a virtual reality wall, and even a Mars meteorite that any guest can touch. Besides that, you can also have a glimpse of a full-sized Orion linkresearch capsule, get aboard an Orion spacecraft simulator, and take a look at the future of Mars rovers.
Astronaut Gallery –In this exhibit, Astronaut Gallery can see an extensive collection of spacesuits such as the Apollo 12 moonwalk suit that Pete Conrad wore.
Space Center Theatre –This exhibit features a five-story tall 4K resolution theater, which shows the film EVA 23 and Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo.
A Stellar Science Show –This is a live program that lets its guests become rocket scientists with the help of interactive experiments performed by a center Crew Member.
Living in Space –This is another live interactive performance of Living in Space. This program uses high-tech projection mapping technology that helps with the live and onstage educational demonstration of the International Space Station life.
International Space Station Gallery – This exhibit gives the guests a look inside the space station with the help of interactive live shows as well as flown space station artifacts.
Aside from these fantastic exhibits, the Space Center Houston also offers different educational programs that are based on national science standards. These educational programs focus on technology, interactive science, math, STEM, and engineering activities that inspire learning, critical thinking, and problem-solving for all ages. These programs include:
- Space Exploration Educators Conference
- Distance learning
- Team building for corporations
- Home School Days
- Sensory Friendly Evenings
- Scout Camp-Ins
- Girls STEM Academy
- Overnight experiences
- Space Center U – The ultimate educational experience at the center
- Day camps
- Stars & STEM