Space Center Houston

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Space Center Houston
Space Center Houston Shuttle atop Carrler.jpg
The Shuttle Independence sits atop the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft with JSC and Rocket Park in the background
Slogan The Official Visitor Center of the Johnson Space Center
Location 1601 NASA Parkway
Houston, Texas 77058
Coordinates 29°33′07″N 95°05′54″W / 29.5518812°N 95.0983429°W / 29.5518812; -95.0983429Coordinates: 29°33′07″N 95°05′54″W / 29.5518812°N 95.0983429°W / 29.5518812; -95.0983429
Owner NASA
Operated by Manned Spaceflight Educational Foundation Incorporated
Opened October 16, 1992[1]
Operating season Open year-round
Visitors per annum 715,934 (2008)[2]
Space Center Houston logo

Space Center Houston is the official visitor center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) center for human spaceflight activities. Currently, the facility is operated by the nonprofit Manned Spaceflight Educational Foundation Incorporated with design input from Walt Disney Imagineering.[3] and designed by award-winning experience designer Bob Rogers (designer) and the design team BRC Imagination Arts.[4]

Starship Gallery[edit]

The center is home to space artifacts and hardware including:[5]

Some of these artifacts (except Skylab) were formerly housed in the Johnson Space Center's former Visitor Center in Building 2.

NASA Tram Tour and Rocket Park[edit]

A tram tour of JSC includes Building 30 (location of the Historic and Chris Kraft Mission Control Centers), Building 9 (location of the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility), and Rocket Park with its restored Saturn V.[5]:38-44

This Saturn V rocket is made up of first stage from SA-514, the second stage from SA-515 and the third stage from SA-513, which was unneeded after it was replaced by the Skylab workshop. The restored Saturn V, on loan from the Smithsonian, is on display after it sat exposed to outdoor elements from 1977 through 2004, leading to exterior weather damage and plants, molds, and small animals inside the stages. In 2004 the Smithsonian took over and began efforts to restore the vehicle through a grant from the National Park Service's Save America's Treasures program and the National Trust for Historic Preservation along with private contributions[6]

Independence Plaza[edit]

The Space Center is also the home of the Space Shuttle Independence mockup. Formerly known as Explorer, Independence was previously located at the Kennedy Space Center, but was moved to make way for a new permanent attraction hall for Space Shuttle Atlantis. Independence is now displayed atop the retired Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, NASA 905.[7] On August 14, 2014, a heavy lift was completed to place Independence on top of NASA 905,[8] which had been moved to Space Center Houston from Ellington Field on April 30, 2014.[9] The center plans to open the combined exhibit in 2015 at an estimated cost of US$12 million.[10][11]

Other Attractions[edit]

  • Northrop Grumman Space Center Theater, is five-story tall 4K resolution theater that shows Journey to Space as well as other movies such as To Be An Astronaut[12][13] and Inside the Space Station
  • On July 31, 2013, the Space Center formally unveiled the restored full-scale mockup of the shuttlecraft Galileo from Star Trek: The Original Series.
  • Special tours, called Level 9 tours, given at an extra cost, visit all of the above buildings and other areas such as the Neutral Buoyancy Lab.
  • The lectern from which President John F. Kennedy repeated his goal of a manned Moon landing before 1962 at Rice Stadium is located inside the Destiny Theater.
  • Destiny Theater, a High Def digital theater which shows a short historical film, Human Destiny,[14] produced by Bob Rogers (designer) and BRC Imagination Arts.[15]
  • The Feel of Space featuring the live interactive performance "Living in Space,"[16] produced by Bob Rogers (designer) and BRC Imagination Arts, which employs high-tech projection mapping technology to assist with the live onstage educational presentation of daily life on the International Space Station.[17]
  • A Stellar Science Show, the Mission Status Center, the Astronaut Gallery, and the International Space Station Gallery
  • Talon Park has a pair of NASA T-38s greeting visitors to Space Center Houston



  1. ^ Space Center Houston press site
  2. ^ "Space Center Houston response to SSP RFI" (PDF). Manned Space Flight Education Foundation, Inc. 
  3. ^ "MSEFI History". Manned Spaceflight Educational Foundation Incorporated. 
  4. ^ "The Ace of Space : Contracts: Launched to fame by his work on Disney's Epcot, Bob Rogers is helping design NASA's $70-million tourist center.". Los Angeles Times. June 11, 1991. 
  5. ^ a b Space Center Houston Official Souvenir Book. AeroGraphics, Inc. 2016. pp. 22–28. 
  6. ^ "Restoration Begins on Saturn V at JSC". NASA. 
  7. ^ "Space Center Houston steels itself for NASA 905's 'Big Move'". SpaceFlight Insider. April 28, 2014. Retrieved May 28, 2014. 
  8. ^ Rice, Harvey (August 14, 2014). "Shuttle replica makes final landing atop 747 at Space Center Houston". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved August 15, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Space Shuttle Carrier to be Museum Piece". The Courier. Associated Press. April 28, 2014. Retrieved August 15, 2014. 
  10. ^ Korsgard, Ryan; Aufdenspring, Matt (August 14, 2014). "Shuttle Independence replica placed atop Space Center Houston carrier". KPRC-TV. Retrieved August 16, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Exclusive! Inside Independence: First look at Houston space shuttle's new cockpit". July 3, 2014. Retrieved August 16, 2014. 
  12. ^ "To Be An Astronaut". 
  13. ^ "Space Center Houston: To Be An Astronaut" (PDF). BRC Imagination Arts. 
  14. ^ "Human Destiny". 
  15. ^ "Space Center Houston Premieres Updated "Human Destiny".". NASA. June 28, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Space Center Houston: Living in Space" (PDF). BRC Imagination Arts. 
  17. ^ "The Feel of Space.". Space Center Houston. 

External links[edit]