A few years ago, I had the good fortune of visiting Kennedy Space Center during a work meeting. Around the same time, one of my dear my coworkers down in Southern California took me on a golf-cart ride out to see the Shuttle's 747 at Edwards AFB. Well, two weeks ago, I was able to tour Houston's Mission Control Center...and I was once again in heaven.
We started out tour in the "classic" Mission Control from the Apollo days. This is the Mission Control they replicated for the Apollo 13 movie set...and yes, that is me looking as dashing as Ed Harris in the Flight Directors seat. As dated as this center looks, it was used well into the Space Shuttle days...all without any computer controls in the consoles...just monitors and buttons and the like. I'm a BIG fan of the pneumatic tubes :)
And here is Sarah trying to out Ed Harris me :)
We moved from "Mission Control classic" to the Mission Control that is used for the International Space Station. A tad bit more modern and flashy...and a tad less olive green. The four-person crew of the Station came on-screen during our tour for an interview (not with us). Still, it was fun to watch them pose in zero gravity.
Our third and final Mission Control was the one used for the current Space Shuttle missions. Since the Shuttle is currently on the ground, we were watching them run simulations of day-to-day operations. Evidently, the "overlords" who run the simulations like to throw sudden decompressions or power outages into the mix to keep everyone on their toes. I wonder if they ever simulate an alien attack!! :)
Our last stop was a quick walk through the space station mock-up area, where full-scale models of the various station parts are on display.