by Linda Kaye
San Antonio, Texas
March 24, 2004
One of the highlights of the Space Center is the Mazda Theater, a beautiful IMAX theater showing several different shows throughout the day. Our favorite presentation was "Inside the Space Station". It is a 50 minute film that lets you explore the Space Station up close and personal. The film demonstrates how humans will live in space for extended periods of time, what they will eat and the work they will do.
It also introduced Robonaut, a humanoid robot that will be attached to the outside of the Space Station. Robonaut will be available to make repairs that would be too dangerous or tedious for humans (similar to the Star Wars’ R2D2.) The most unique thing about him is the hands; they move and react like a human hand and the operator of the robot can actually feel what the mechanical hands feel.
The presentation ends with the Mars landing of Spirit and Opportunity with animation that make you feel you are there.
Located in the Starship Gallery is the Destiny Theatre. Here we watched a short film entitled On Human Destiny. As the film ends, the large doors open at the side and invite guests to enter into the night sky of the Starship Gallery. We viewed the original Goddard Rocket and Faith 7, the Mercury capsule flown by Gordon Cooper and also his Gemini V Capsule. There are many historical and highly recognizable pieces of equipment including the Skylab trainer, the Lunar Rower Vehicle trainer. Allow at least 45 minutes to enjoy the Starship Gallery.
The Space Center is a great place for children. There are many video-type games and virtual reality experiences that will help them get the feel for space exploration, and a great play structure call Kids Space Place to expend some of their never-ending energy. There are also visiting exhibits; when we were there, Dinosaurs ruled the day.
Tram Tours are free and leave every 60 to 90 minutes. You can visit the Historic Mission Control, Hanger X and Rocket Park in an open-air tram.
From journal Houston, We Have a Problem