Thursday 22nd March 2012…. The day after the Convergence conference.
Jennifer and I stayed the night at her friends house, but then came back to the hotel, because that’s where we were getting picked up to be taken Space Center Houston, next to NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
If you are in Houston for the first time, you really have to make the effort to get to the Space Center. We actually saw a number of other Convergence attendees while we were there.
Space Center Houston
I won’t give you all the statistics and history, you can visit the Space Center website, or find the information in numerous online and offline resources.
What I will do is show you some of the photos in chronological order to give you an idea of the amazing things mankind can do when they focus on achieving a goal.
The Apollo series of missions used a Saturn V three stage rocket to launch the payload into space. The next series of photos should give you some feeling for the enormous size of this vehicle.
F-1 Engine, Stage one of the Saturn V rocket had 5 of these beasts
Stage 1 of the Saturn V rocket
Stage 2 of the Saturn V rocket
Stage 3 of the Saturn V rocket
The payload bay of the Saturn V rocket
Service Module and Landing Capsule of the Saturn V rocket
Looking back along the 363ft (110.6m) length of the Saturn V rocket
When the Apollo missions finished, one of the remaining Saturn V rockets was modified and used to launch Skylab into orbit. Jennifer remembers Skylab because when it eventually fell back to Earth and burnt up in July 1979, one piece of it (the lead film safe) landed in the outback of Western Australia.
When Skylab crashed, it scattered debris over a wide area of Western Australia with a large amount landing around the town of Esperance. The Skylab crash put Esperance on the map, but it didn’t stop the shire council having a light hearted dig at NASA for scattering space junk over the town, sending them a $400 fine for littering, which they never paid. For more info see this post.
Inside the Skylab mockup used for training
The final picture is from the Shuttle Program which has now finished after 30 years. The first shuttle launched in 1981 and the last in 2011.
1981-2011: The cockpit of the Space Shuttle
A final point… remember that quote from Apollo 13, “Houston, we have a problem.”. Well, that’s not what he actually said, this is what he said:
Then it was time to return back to Jennifer’s friend’s house for a farewell dinner before going to sleep for the last night in Houston.