If you wanted to be an astronaut in your childhood or if you are a fan of space-related topics, you are probably interested in visiting NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), the US government agency in charge of aeronautical and aerospace research and the civil space program.
If you want to visit NASA, you should first know that it has several venues throughout the United States, many of which offer tours or house visitor centers and museums that are open to the public. These are accessible all year round, but on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Years they are generally closed.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some centers are closed, such as the Goddard Visitor Center, but there are still several that can be assisted with the appropriate security measures. Here we tell you about the ones you can currently visit and how to access them.
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This center offers the Starship Gallery, home to multiple flown spacecraft and national treasures, as well as the chance to get an up-close look at artifacts that have traced the progression of space exploration, from the Apollo 17 Command Module and a module of Full-size Skylab workout down to a moon rock you can actually touch.
This tour also includes access to the Johnson Space Center, known to be the home of NASA Mission Control, International Space Station Mission Control, and astronaut training.
Here you can walk through the Rocket Garden and see rockets from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs, as well as enter the astronaut hall of fame. But, the number one reason this center is interesting is the Astronaut Training Experience, where you can train like the next generation of space explorers taking off to Mars.
Due to COVID-19, the center had limited capacity in 2020, but as of June 14, 2021, it expanded its opening hours and included several new attractions and dining options.
There are several reasons to visit this NASA site in Huntsville, Alabama, but the most important one is the opportunity to see a true National Historic Landmark: an authentic Saturn V rocket, one of only three in the world. Also, the Jupiter IRBM, Juno II, Mercury-Redstone, Redstone and Jupiter-C rockets can be seen.
This center is recognized as one of the most comprehensive manned space flight hardware museums in the world. General admission to the US Space & Rocket Center includes access to the Saturn V Hall, Moon Crater, Military Park, Rocket Park, Shuttle Park, Spark! Lab, ISS: Science on Orbit, and other featured exhibits and tours.
This center features interactive science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) exhibits spanning 100 years of flight. It also has more than 30 historic aircraft – including the Viking Lander, which took the first color photograph of Mars to show us that it really is the Red Planet – the Apollo 12 Command Module that orbited the moon 31 times in 1969, and many other pieces of NASA history. It also has a hands-on space gallery, unique spaceflight artifacts, and IMAX movies.
This center in Mississippi is worth a visit due to its high hands-on learning. Plus there’s the impressive Saturn V first-stage throttle and its five gigantic F-1 engines off-center, along with an Apollo 4 capsule and the authentic Mississippi native astronaut Fred Haise’s suit inside.
This is the “research facility conducting robotic space and Earth science missions.” It is a laboratory that is a bit more difficult to access, but you should know that individual and group tours are available for free by making a reservation in advance. Tours include visits to spaceflight operations facilities and spacecraft assembly facilities.
This laboratory developed the first satellite in Earth orbit in the United States and the first successful interplanetary spacecraft, in addition, it deploys robot missions to study planets, comets and the Moon. It is a fascinating attraction since it was the one that launched the Space Age.
This museum not only showcases the space shuttle Enterprise, but also provides the opportunity to take an out-of-this-world virtual reality journey to the International Space Station (ISS) and “experience what it is like to work, learn and live in a microgravity environment. ”.
Additionally, there is a new mixed reality exhibit to honor and educate space lovers about anonymous women in America’s space program. These extraordinary women are brought to life through Microsoft HoloLens and are introduced by a holographic version of Dr. Mae Jemison.
The Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC features nearly 60,000 space-centered objects, containing everything from space gloves to NASA rockets, a Mercury capsule, and Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 space suit. Just like the rest of the fabulous Smithsonian museums , the entrance to this center dedicated to space is free.
This annex in Virginia serves as a supplement to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum. The Udvar-Hazy Center consists of two massive hangars with thousands of aviation and space artifacts, including a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, Concorde, and the space shuttle Discovery.
This center is a huge science museum with many hands-on exhibits and space-related attractions. In fact, what will most likely attract your attention will be the space shuttle Endeavor, which is located at the entrance of the museum. Here you can explore over 100 interactive science exhibits spanning various galleries, as well as view IMAX content. Finally, it should be mentioned that all this is free.