Tuesday, December 4, 2007

"Houston, we have a problem" (er, no we don't, I just always wanted to say that!)

The tour starts here

We're getting itchy to hit the road again. The weather here has been nice, and 2 days ago, it got up into the high 70's, with the humidity level just a little higher! Yesterday it was much cooler, and today was supposed to be just about right! We decided it was time for a little diversion, so we headed down to Houston for the day. First stop - the Space Center! We got there about 10:50am, and found out that the 90 minute tram tour started at 11:00am! Good timing...the tour was excellent!

First stop on the tour - Mission Control!
This is the actual Mission Control used to put a man on the moon. All of those terminals are just that - TV sets that provided real-time data to the engineers. These are not computers - there are no keyboards. The computer feeding the data occupied a room a few floors down (and it's capacity was 300kb!). There are now 2 other mission control rooms with updated equipment, but this is the original one.
The Apollo Building
The building in the background houses a left-over, never used Apollo spacecraft. It had been built, but never was launched, as funding for the program ended. It sat on a field for 23 years (!) before funding was allocated to preserve it as an historical landmark. Amazingly, the building was build around it at a cost of $1.5M.
The Apollo inside the building, with all stages, is 332' long
I can't remember the exact numbers, but I think they said that, during takeoff, the first stage burned 1-1/2 tons of fuel per second - and the first stage lasts 50 seconds!!
Space Shuttle simulator
This dashboard is almost as complicated as our motorhome!


  1. Very cool! You guys will like Kennedy Space Center even more I bet. I want to see Houston some time, it looks very fun.


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