Johnson Space Center
Sep 23, 2009Public
Photo: Laura with mission patches - Johnson Space Center
Photo: Laura's Mission Patch - Rocket Park
Photo: Clear Lake, Texas
Photo: JSC Entrance Gates (one of many)
Photo: Roadside Mission updates
Photo: Being all touristy with our new shirts...
Photo: Building 31N at Johnson
Photo: This sign cracks me up... maybe because I can't believe they'd have to EXPLAIN this to anyone around pristine off-world samples ;)
Photo: Poster for ARES - the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science curators
Photo: The Lunar Sample Laboratory.  Door at the back of the room is the secure Lunar Vault.
Photo: The Lunar Sample Laboratory.   Work tables, when not in active use, have dust-covers over the arm holes.
Photo: Samples from Apollo 16 and Apollo 15
Photo: Moon rocks, me & Principle Scientist Andrea Mosie, who was kind enough to give us an LSL tour!
Photo: T38s at the Space Center Houston Tourist Entrance
Photo: One side of the public areas (Rocket Park)
Photo: Entering Rocket Park... note the Atlas and Redstone rockets in the background... !
Photo: The Saturn V Rocket at Johnson Space Center (currently being restored after many years of rotting outside on the lawn!)

The very top is the third and smallest stage of the Saturn V launcher was the only one to reach Earth orbit.  After circling the Earth once or twice, the astronauts fired its engine for the last time to blast their craft toward the moon.
Photo: Saturn V National Historic landmark plaque
Photo: Part of the Service Module, and the Command Module, a pressurized crew compartment only a little larger than a compact car.  Special shields surrounded the CM to protect it from the intense heat generated by re-entering the Earth's atmosphere. The CM fell through the atmosphere until it was 24,000 feet above the sea.  Small "drogue" parachutes opened to slow the descent, then main parachutes opened, slowing the craft enough to splash into the ocean safely.
Photo: Instrument unit of the third stage of the Saturn V
Photo: Vince touching the Interstage Ring between the third and second stages of the Saturn V
Photo: Apollo mission displays inside the Saturn V hangar
Photo: Instrument units in the third stage, which housed the "brains" of the Saturn V.  Internal IBM computers steered the rocket motors, ensuring the space craft entered the correct orbit.  In case of breakdown, each computer had three identical "sisters" that could take over.