Visiting Johnson Space Center

Last week I was fortunate to have the opportunity to visit Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston Texas as part of my Soyuz Adventure. Being able to visit the training facilities of Luca Parmitano and Karen Nyberg and all astronauts who have been or will live at the International Space Station was so inspiring. I can definitely see myself training at JSC in the future and I am working hard to make that a reality!

Here are some photos with descriptions so you can see some of what I saw:

I visited the Sonny Carter Training Facility Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory where astronauts train for ISS maintenance and spacewalks. This pool has 6.3 million gallons of water in it and a huge full-size ‪‎ISS‬ mockup for training! It is the largest pool in the world. Named after Astronaut Manny Lanier “Sonny” Carter (August 15, 1947 – April 5, 1991). Sonny Carter who was an American physical, professional soccer player, United States Navy Officer as well as an astronaut who flew on STS-133. Sonny died in a commercial airline crash on his way to NASA. The training center was named after him as he was a huge advocate for Neutral Buoyancy Training and had developed training techniques associated with Neutral Buoyancy.

Sonny Carter Training Facility – Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory at JSC

Sonny Carter Training Facility - Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory at JSC

Sonny Carter Training Facility – Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory at JSC

Here I am right in front of the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory pool at the Johnson Space Center!

Here I am right in front of the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory pool at the Johnson Space Center!

Here I am at beginning of my Johnson Space Center tour…yes this is the real entrance to Mission Control! This is the Christopher C. Kraft, Jr  Mission Control Center. I thought the silver doors and the sign with the name was pretty much the coolest thing ever!

The JSC tour begins!

The JSC tour begins!

The real International Space Station Flight Control Center – Mission Control – where they are talking to Luca and other Astros on the ‪‎ISS‬… so cool!

Mission Control Center at JSC.

Mission Control Center at JSC.

I was lucky enough to get to visit the International Space Station Flight Control Center – Mission Control and hang out on the floor! I talked to a cap com and a few flight control people – it was cool…here is a picture from the floor!

Inside the Mission Control Room at JSC.

Inside the Mission Control Room at JSC.

Here’s a photo of my mom and me in front if the big screen at Mission control…just to prove I was really there!!!

My mom and me inside the International Space Station Flight Control Center - Mission Control!

My mom and me inside the International Space Station Flight Control Center – Mission Control!

Next I visited the Apollo Era Mission Operations Control room which was used from 1960’s to early 1990’s – I even got to press buttons and play with the communications systems. So much fun!

Mission Control Center from the 60s - 90s at JSC.

Mission Control Center from the 60s – 90s at JSC.

The ‪‎Space Vehicle Mockup Center is the training area the Johnson Space Center where all the ISS modules except Russian modules are located and astronauts train for their missions to the ISS. Astronauts train for emergencies, maintenance and other necessary things for living in space in this one building.

ISS training module at JSC.

ISS training modules at JSC.

Model of the Cupola, where Luca Parmitano takes all his great photos. Cupola is Italian for dome!

Model of Cupola where Luca Parmitano takes all his great photos.

Model of Cupola where Luca Parmitano takes all his great photos.

As if the visit to the floor of Mission Control was not cool enough, I got to see the robotic training facility at JSC …in this picture I’m inside a life size ‪‎Cupola training module with all the same equipment as the one on the ISS. I am docking a space craft using the Canadarm. I got to do an easy and medium module and had no problem with the catch on the difficult module…well let’s say I need a little practice!

robotic training

Inside a life size ‪‎Cupola‬ module at JSC.

Here I am with the robotics instructor inside of the Cupola module. She’s telling me about all the controls and how the operation of the Canadarm works. I am so thankful for my flight control friend who made this possible – thanks RA!!!

With robotics instructor inside the Cupola model.

With robotics instructor inside the Cupola model.

This is a brief overview. Check back for more pictures and information about my visit. You can sign up here to receive my blog in your inbox every Friday so you don’t miss a thing. Thanks for reading!

Comments

  1. Penny J Pettigrew says

    Now you really do know what it feels like to be a PAYCOM! We go to JSC for training in all those cool places you visited as well. 🙂

  2. Saeid Amiri says

    Dear Abigail,

    Thanks for your informative post. Actually, I’d like to visit the Mission Control room too and I have a couple of questions to ask about. First, are all visitors allowed to visit the Mission control room floor? I want to find the ticket price for Mission control room, however their website just gives the general admission value.

    Thanks,
    Saeid

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