Trip report: NASA Johnson Space Center (part 2) 1

Continuing with more pictures and accounts of our fun family trip to the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas…the shuttle ride to the Mission Control Center and peek inside would have been worth the admission price alone.  (For Part 1, please click here.)

Big tip for other rocket science travelers–you get to see more on the weekends!

We were led up stairs to an observation deck that looks over the brand new MCC:


Closest to our window you can see the stations for all of the controllers.  The station on the near left is FOD, for instance (which stands for Foreign Object Debris).

We had a very well educated, friendly, and experienced JSC worker as our host in the observation deck.  He knew what he was talking about and was happy to share his knowledge.

The reason this room didn’t have any people working in it is because it isn’t in complete use yet.  On one of the monitors we could see workers in the existing (older) mission control room: IMG_3735

There are only 2 people in the room here.  They are supporting the ISS (International Space Station) which is orbiting now.  And they are coordinating with colleagues in Russia who have their own control center.

Eventually, we were told, this old MCC will be replaced by the new one we were able to look at.

Then it got more exciting.  Those who know something about spaceflight and astronautics know that the ISS sees a sunrise or sunset every 45 minutes.  The days go by extra fast! :-p

We were extremely fortunate to be in the room when a sunset happened!

Here is the ISS during daylight:


I did the best I could with my iPhone camera…this is the large projection screen that is on the far left in the first picture.

When sunset occurs, for a few seconds everything turns bright gold:


Very dazzling and impressive!  Even from our vantage point.  I’m sure it’s incredible and awesome beyond words if you are actually watching it in space.

And then everything goes dark except for the areas that are lit by artificial lighting:


That was quite a show!   Not many people get a chance to watch a sunset from space.  But if your timing is right you can do it at the NASA Johnson Space Center.  Or your chances are equally good you can watch a sunrise from space.

Do you dream of working with astronauts or space craft? Or do you know other people who dream about this?  It takes a lot of people and we need more rocket scientists! Especially those who can be innovative, resourceful, and persistent.  Here’s 3 options for what you should do next:

1. Subscribe to this blog so you can get more tips, resources, and connections as I find them. (Look on the upper right margin, enter your email address, and click the submit button.)

2. Ask for a free chapter from my book, How To Be a Rocket Scientist

3. Read the entire book as an eBook or paperback:

And if you are in the Houston area, be sure to visit the Space Center and NASA Johnson!

The final post of my trip report and experience from NASA JSC Space Center is here in Part 3.

About Brett Rocket Scientist

Brett creates artful work in engineering, ideas, and innovation. In addition to 2 degrees, 3 patents, and over 15 years experience in aerospace engineering, he is the author of several books to foster STEM careers. He volunteers his time and skills as an officer with professional societies.

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