NASA Space Center in Houston (Houston, USA) – expositions, opening hours, address, phone numbers, official website.
The NASA Space Center in Houston has been considered the brains of the American space mission for nearly 30 years. This is not a competitor, but rather a Texas twin brother of the domestic MCC in Korolev near Moscow. It was from Houston that they controlled the landing of astronauts on the moon, the Apollo mission (“Houston, we have a problem” heard right here), space shuttle programs and flights to the ISS. See topschoolsoflaw for brief history of Mississippi.
This is a real city within a city: on an area of more than 650 hectares there are one hundred buildings. The NASA Space Center prepares astronauts for flight, manages their work on the ISS, studies space, develops new models of spacecraft and rockets – in a word, they “rule” space from Earth.
All operations until launch of the spacecraft are controlled from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and once the rocket is off the ground, Houston takes over.
A bit of history
The history of the NASA Space Center in Houston began in 1961, a landmark year for astronautics, with the Mercury space mission. In 1963, a full-sized research complex appeared here, which has been constantly growing since then. The NASA Visitor Center opened in 1992 and is now named after US President Lyndon Johnson, a native of Texas.
The NASA Space Center has two mission control centers: a historic one and a modern one.
What to watch
The first thing that greets visitors to the NASA Space Center is a real shuttle, not a copy, but a genuine spacecraft that flew into space. Further, your path continues to the Starship Gallery astronautics museum. A single space, covered by a giant dome, is literally crammed with the most interesting exhibits: a genuine launch vehicle stage, lunar and mars rovers, an operating Martian rover, a shuttle model and spacesuits for transportation in a spacecraft and spacewalk.
The highlight of the program is the shuttle open to the public: you can visit the astronauts’ cockpit and see the dashboard with many hundreds of buttons, switches and levers, inspect the toilet and wardrobe, look into the landing gear compartment and even try to land the shuttle in a super realistic simulator.
In the windows you can see fragments of spacecraft damaged by orbital debris, and a piece of lunar rock is exposed to the public, which you can (and should) touch.
Next, take a tour of the NASA Science City in an open tram. On Independence Square you will be met by a colossal Boeing with a shuttle on the roof. You can visit the hangar with the world’s largest Saturn launch vehicle and look inside the fuel injectors, see spacecraft launch vehicles in the rocket museum. Visit the historic Mission Control Center: there are the same consoles from which the lunar mission was controlled. It is also worth visiting the operating MCC, whose staff is always ready to help astronauts on the ISS. Tanks with liquid nitrogen – rocket fuel – and hangars with all kinds of modules of the International Space Station are striking in size.
Address: Houston, NASA Parkway, 1601, Road 1. Website.
Opening hours: daily from 10:00 to 17:00 in winter and from 10:00 to 18:00 in summer, on Saturday and Sunday the center closes one hour later.
Buy a ticket to the center online.
Entrance – 29.95 USD, children under 12 years old – 24.95 USD, children under 3 years old admission is free.
San Jacinto Monument
San Jacinto Monument (Houston, USA) – expositions, opening hours, address, phone numbers, official website.
The San Jacinto Monument and Museum is a historic complex located on the banks of the Houston Ship Canal, 40 km southeast of downtown. The limestone column, the tallest stone stele in the world, commemorates the Americans of the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution – the Battle of San Jacinto. In this battle, the colonists threw off the yoke of Mexican power and joined the unification of the states. The 220-ton star crowning the monument has become the emblem of Texas. Today, here you can not only find out where the Texas land came from, but also admire the plains and the water surface of the bay that go beyond the horizon from the observation deck at the top of the monument.
A bit of history
The Texas War of Independence covers the period 1835-1836. Its cause was adopted in 1829 in Mexico, part of which at that time was Texas, the law on the abolition of slavery. American settlers owned black slaves and wanted to preserve the age-old order. A series of armed clashes showed the unsteady equality of the forces of the Texans and Mexicans, which inspired the settlers to create a standing army. Both armies met on April 21, 1836 near the town of San Jacinto. The battle lasted only 18 minutes and ended with the victory of the inhabitants of the future free state of Texas. Well, the name of the commander, General Sam Houston, was immortalized in the name of the state capital.
According to historians, the Battle of San Jacinto is one of the most successful battles in world history: Texas not only gained freedom of territory, but also laid the foundation for the acquisition by the States of nine subsequent states – almost a third of the country’s modern territory.
What to watch
The San Jacinto Monument is easy to spot from afar: lined with light sandstone, the octagonal column of reinforced concrete rises almost 173 m (which is 3 m higher than the second highest monument on the planet – the Juche Monument in North Korea). Its top is crowned with a 10-meter star made of the same sandstone weighing about 220 tons – this is the symbol of Texas, the “lone star” Lone Star.
Take the elevator to the top of the monument for breathtaking views of Houston, the Buffalo Delta, the shipping canal, and the historic USS Texas from World War II.
At the base of the stele occupies an area of 15 square meters. m, and at the top – only 9 sq. m. On 8 panels, decorating each of the 8 faces of the column, the history of the state of Texas is engraved. The museum in the basement of the monument displays archival photographs and documents relating to the Texas War of Independence, as well as many exhibits related to Texan culture, including Mayan, Spanish, and Mexican artifacts. And in the cinema located here, a 35-minute film about the historical battle is broadcast.
Every year on April 21, on the anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto, a colorful historical festival is held at the monument, during which demonstrative battles-reenactments are held.
Address: Houston, San Jacinto Historic Battlefield. Website.
Opening hours: daily, from 10:00 to 18:00.
The entrance is free.