When in Houston, Texas, a must-visit is the Space Centre. It’s only a 30-minute drive from downtown and is accessible by the public Metro Bus. This world-renowned hub for NASA is both a training site for astronauts and a centre for space exploration. Incredibly, visitors can explore the space centre’s history and take guided tours to see the facilities up close- sometimes even meeting real-life astronauts!
- Starship gallery with its interactive exhibits. Here you can try your hand at picking up an object in space or landing a shuttle. You can also touch real rocks from the Moon or Mars!
- Replica Space Shuttle Independence is mounted on top of the original NASA 905 shuttle carrier aircraft. In this amazing replica, you can see all the shuttle controls and the airlock astronauts go into before entering space. You will even learn how astronauts shower, go to the bathroom and sleep!
- Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket used to launch supplies and astronauts into space and to the International Space Station. The blackened charring from blasting off into space is a reminder of its many resupply missions.
- Blue Tram tour to Nasa Johnson Space Center where you can see the astronaut training facility, mission control centre and rocket park (this houses a Saturn V rocket – the tallest, heaviest, and most powerful rocket ever flown, used to send astronauts to the moon during the Apollo program)
I had never considered myself a space enthusiast before visiting the Space Centre, however on leaving the impressive and expansive space site, my mind was filled with a new curiosity, one which I took back to the classroom and to my Year 1 students who were learning about Neil Armstrong.
The Space-Center and Johnson Space Center are perfect venues for a STEM trip. Through research, innovation and exploration, the thousands of scientists, engineers, and astronauts working at these centres, are dedicated to advancing human spaceflight. It is an incredible environment to inspire young students and to show them that dreams, and human ingenuity, really can take flight- literally! The Nasa 905 aircraft is mostly an educational centre with a section devoted to STEM aerospace career options, ranging from astronauts, biomedical researchers, robotic engineers, to spacesuit designers and many more. Try out a computer programme to match your interests to careers in the field. It will certainly be a trip of a lifetime and one that may change the course of your life forever!
- Joanna Ellis, Study Trips Expert, Former TeacherBack