|Happy Tour of NASA Space Center
in Houston, Texas
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Mighty and massive, the multi-stage Saturn V rocket on display at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston. It
is the tallest, heaviest and most powerful rocket ever flown. NASA used the colossal Saturn V rockets primarily
during the Apollo program in 1960s to 1970s to send Americans to the Moon and to bring them back safely.
On January 21, 2019, we toured NASA Space Center located at 1601 NASA Parkway, Houston, Texas 77058.
It is about 25 miles southeast of downtown Houston.
The massive Saturn V rocket is amazing and takes your breath away.
The five powerful engines of Stage I of Saturn V rocket.
Apollo 11 was the spaceflight that landed the first two people on the Moon. Commander Neil Armstrong and
lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin, both American, landed the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle on July 20, 1969. This
was the major milestone of the spectacular accomplishment of human space program.
I was very happy seeing these displays of massive Saturn V rocket and the Apollo Space program because
they brought back a lot of sweet memories for me during those years of Apollo Space program about 50
years ago when I was young as a graduate student in University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley).
1969 is the year that I finished up my Ph.D. Degree program in UC Berkeley. It is also the year that I got my
"dream job" as a researcher in the prestigious Bell Labs in New Jersey. A total of 9 Nobel Prizes have been
awarded to Bell Labs researchers. I have very high respect for the world renowned Bell Labs for many
years since my childhood in Taiwan. It was a dream comes true when I received the job offer from Bell
Labs. It was fantastic that Neil Armstrong landed on the moon and I landed my dream job offer from Bell
Labs all in the same happy year of 1969.
I was as happy as Neil Armstrong smiling in this picture above.
The NASA Space Center in Houston consists of 200 buildings spreading out on 1,700 acres of campus like
The Space Center provides NASA open air Tram Tours to take visitors to tour the Rocket Park (where the
massive Saturn V rocket is located) and several other buildings such as Astronaut Training Facility, Space
Vehicle Mockup Facility and Space Mission Control Center. So, visitors come to the back side of the Space
Museum to get on the line to take the Tram Tours.
Some more out door displays of rockets and rocket engines at Rocket Park.
On the other side of the Space Museum is the outdoor Independence Plaza displaying the 80-ton shuttle
replica Independence mounted on the159-ton Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) NASA 905 which is a modified
Boeing 747 jumbo jet to serve as a ferry to carry the space shuttle from California to Florida.
There is a 6-story tower with elevator and stairway for visitors to get up and into the Space Shuttle
Independence to see the inside details as well as several exhibits inside NASA 905 SCA.
The first stop is the flight deck, where you will see how the astronauts piloted the space shuttle during
The upper part of the cockpit in the space shuttle.
The cargo bay in the space shuttle. In
this example, an Intelsat
telecommunication satellite is being
carried by the space shuttle into the
A view of the mounting structure for mounting the 80-ton space shuttle on the back of Boeing 747 jumble jet.
A view of the Space Mission Control Center from which NASA led Gemini and Apollo missions, including the
momentous first lunar landing mission as well as early space shuttle missions. The flight controllers also
monitor activities on the International Space Station.
Outside view of the Space Mission Control Center building.
Several views in Astronaut Training Facility and Space Vehicle Mockup Facility where NASA astronauts train
for current missions and where scientists and engineers are developing the next generation of space
The huge space museum of the Space Center Houston has more than 250,000 square feet of indoor space
and has more than 400 interactive things to see and to do. A map and guide for this huge space museum can
be seen here.
The moon rocks.
From the Tram Tour in NASA Space Center Houston, we also saw some Texas Long Horn cattle grazing in
the field nearby. These long horn cattle belong to the Longhorn Project at Johnson Space Center (JSC) that
offers students the opportunity to learn about cattle care and breeding, aquaculture, and fruit and vegetable
cultivation. The site is a 60 acre tract at JSC that includes a 35 acre pasture, a 10 acre wildlife habitat pond,
an 8 acre feedlot with a barn and a storage shed, and 7 acres for aquaculture ponds, gardens, orchards, a
processing lab, and a greenhouse.
It is a one-of-a-kind hands-on educational program created as a joint venture among The Longhorn Project, a
501(c) (3) charitable nonprofit organization, NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC), the Houston Livestock and
RodeoTM, Clear Creek Independent School District, and the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of
From the Tram Tour, we also saw some deer in NASA Space Center.
Astronauts train within this full-size classroom in the heart of NASA Johnson Space Center. It houses almost
200 training courses to help astronauts become familiar with the spacecraft, understand its various systems
and prepare for emergencies that may occur during a mission.
The gorgeous Waterwall in Gerald D Hines Waterwall Park in uptown Houston located at 2800 Post Oak
Blvd, Houston, TX 77056, a fabulous sight!
In our 3-day tour of Houston, we toured not only NASA Space Center, but also this amazing Waterwall,
Houston Downtown Aquarium and Sugar Land, a very nice suburban residential area.
Staring straight into this giant wall with 11,000 gallons of water coming down the front and side and towards
you has a dizzying effect on you. The volume and the sound of water with super acoustics due to the shape of
the giant wall is perfect. Its misty. Your senses are seized by this sound; gleaming light sparkling through the
waters; the feel of fresh mist clasping your skin; the smell and taste of water in the air.
Stand in the central circle and take great pictures. This place is great for wedding/engagement pictures.
A large green space in front of the Waterwall. Two beautiful lines (tunnels) of green trees on both sides.
The majestic Williams Tower, a 900-foot
64-story, office tower on the other end
of the large green space. The building
also has a beacon on the top at night.
Gerald D Hines Waterwall Park is
located adjacent to the famous gigantic
Houston Galleria Mall which is Texas’
largest upscale shopping center and
fourth largest domain nationally. It has
the signature eateries next to the ice
skating rink on the first level.
We parked our rental car in the large
and free parking garage of the Galleria
Mall, enjoyed the lunch at the eateries
while watching beautiful young people
skating on the ice link. Then we just take
a short walk to Gerald D Hines
Waterwall Park to tour the Waterwall.
We also drove through beautiful Sugar Land, which is a luxurious affluent and fast-growing suburban city just
southwest of Houston. Beginning in the 19th century, the present-day Sugar Land area was home to a large
sugar plantation situated in the fertile floodplain of the Brazos River. There is an extensive network of
waterways, rivers and lakes in Sugar Land resulting in many magnificent waterfront homes with fantastic views
as shown on the Google Map here.
Many whistling ducks on the lake sides in Sugar Land.