Whether you’re a space enthusiast or just curious about the universe, there is something for everyone at NASA’s incredible space centers. Dotted across the country, every space center offers a fascinating insight into the history and future of space exploration.
Are you looking for inspiration for your next vacation? Then join us on a space centers road trip across America’s southern states, where you’ll visit NASA’s Houston Space Center and Mission Control in Texas and the launch pads of Kennedy Space Center on Florida’s Space Coast.
If you’re a parent wanting to inspire the kids to learn about the stars and planets, or you love discovering the science between space travel and seeing the Saturn V rocket, then this space centers road trip is for you. If so, buckle up, and start counting down to an intergalactic road trip.
Where better to start our space centers road trip than the launch pads of Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center on Florida’s Space Coast? These two iconic sites are the historic home where many of NASA’s space missions blasted off, including the first-ever human-crewed mission to the moon.
Celebrated as the launch site that helped the evolution of space travel, Cape Canaveral witnessed the launch of NASA’s Project Mercury in 1958 and America’s first human spaceflight program. Then, a few miles away and just over a decade later, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins blasted off on Apollo 11 from the Kennedy Space Center on their pioneering journey to the moon.
Fun for the whole family, we suggest heading to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex for an interactive tour of these two historic launch sites and the story of space exploration. With over 700 exhibits, including the Saturn V rocket, you can also learn more about any upcoming space expeditions, and if you time your space centers road trip well, you can even witness a live rocket launch!
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Leaving Florida, our space center road trip tour sees us heading west for our second stop and the John C. Stennis Space Center. Also known as the SSC, the Stennis Space Center is one of the world’s largest rocket engine testing facilities and the perfect facility to learn more about the science and power NASA has harnessed to overcome gravity to leave earth’s orbit.
Located in Hancock Country, Mississippi, the Stennis Space Center provides a brilliant opportunity to see how NASA continues to develop its heavy-lift rocket technology for future space exploration. In addition, the nearby INFINITY Science Center offers interactive displays to experience and learn about the incredible science, technology, and engineering used to create a modern-day space rocket. Here the experts demonstrate how the science of space exploration is also being used to better understand our own planet for projects such as the Deep Ocean Explorer and the Hurricane Prediction Labs.
After an action-packed day of learning, relax nearby at the Best Western Seaway Inn in Gulfport, Mississippi.
The next stop on our space centers road trip is Mission Control in Houston, Texas, and the heartbeat of NASA’s pioneered human spaceflight, scientific research, and flight control development. Built in 1961, the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston has led the way in developing NASA’s astronaut corps and remains the location for astronaut training for spaceflight missions today.
A tour of Houston’s NASA Johnson Space Center provides a fantastic opportunity for visitors to relive some of NASA’s most significant space missions. Operations such as the Apollo missions to the moon and the International Space Station (ISS) program. Nowadays, the JSC is playing a vital role in the Artemis program, which aims to return humans to the moon by 2024.
A trip to the Johnson Space Center wouldn’t be complete without the chance to explore the insides of a space capsule and see how spacesuits have evolved throughout the decades of space travel. As part of the JSC tour, there’s even the chance to meet a real-life astronaut too!
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Leaving Houston, our final stop on our space centers road trip is the legendary city of Roswell, New Mexico. While not officially one of NASA’s own space centers, many believe it to be the crash site of the world’s most famous alien spacecraft accident in 1947.
Whether you believe the urban legend or not, Roswell has embraced this well-known folktale and celebrates it by welcoming visitors from around the world. To discover more about the “Roswell Incident” timeline and the key landmarks, be sure to take the Roswell UFO Tour while you’re in town.
For those interested in learning more about ‘unidentified flying objects,’ head over to the International UFO Museum and Research Center in the heart of downtown Roswell. It’s a great way to end a space centers road trip by spending the afternoon exploring the museum artifacts, UFO videos, and audio clips. Today, the International UFO Museum and Research Center have become a leading source of information about documented sightings and UFO events worldwide.
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