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April 22nd 2023
Published: May 1st 2023
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Gerald D. Hines Waterwall ParkGerald D. Hines Waterwall ParkGerald D. Hines Waterwall Park

We really enjoyed the Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park in the Uptown District of Houston. To stand in the Waterwall's mist and be enveloped by the gentle roar of cascading water is a memorable experiences. The Water Wall is surrounded by a 2.77-acre park featuring 186 live oak trees.
Another 5 hours of driving today to get us to Houston. We took a quick jaunt to Uptown Houston to see a man-made waterfall. The next day we visited Johnson Space Center, the Training base and home for our nation’s astronauts and the site of Mission Control. At Space Center Houston, we walked around inside and saw exhibits on space suits, displays for Apollo, Mercury, Gemini and Artemis programs, the mission to Mars, and the International Space Station. Outside we took an open-air tram tour of the George W.S. Abbey Rocket Park which housed a Saturn V rocket, and then walked over to Independence plaza to explore a space shuttle and a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.


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Waterfall InsideWaterfall Inside
Waterfall Inside

This dramatic 64-foot U-shaped fountain has water rushing down its inside and outside walls. It pumps nearly 400 gallons of recycled water every every minute.
Waterfall OutsideWaterfall Outside
Waterfall Outside

This is the outside wall of the structure.
Artemis-NASA's current Moon programArtemis-NASA's current Moon program
Artemis-NASA's current Moon program

It has been over 50 years since astronauts first explored the Moon with the Apollo program. The hope it the program will help NASA scientists learn more and be able to help humans goes father in space, like to Mars.
Space Shuttle DiscoverySpace Shuttle Discovery
Space Shuttle Discovery

First launched in 1984 and flew a total of 38 missions, traveling over 138 million miles and taking 252 crew members to space. Discovery flew to the International Space Station (ISS) 13 times. Discovery is on public display at the Smithsonian Institutions' National Air and Space Museum.
Lunar ModuleLunar Module
Lunar Module

This is a training replica of the lunar module that landed on the moon. You can see an astronaut standing in the opening on the upper right.
Little Joe II Escape RocketLittle Joe II Escape Rocket
Little Joe II Escape Rocket

This is a rocket used to test the escape rocket mechanism mounted on top.
Mercury RedstoneMercury Redstone
Mercury Redstone

The Mercury-Redstone Launch Vehicle was the first American manned space booster. It was used for six sub-orbital Mercury flights from 1960–61, culminating with the launch of Al Shepard, the first, and 11 weeks later, Gus Grissom, the second American in space.
Houston Saturn VHouston Saturn V
Houston Saturn V

This was the largest rocket ever built (30 stories tall). This type of rocket took us to the moon many times. The "V" in the name indicates it has five engines on the first of three stages. It is one of only three remaining actual Saturn V rockets.
Houston Saturn V CapsuleHouston Saturn V Capsule
Houston Saturn V Capsule

Here is a view of the "small" capsule on the top end of the rocket. It took everything below it to lift it into space.
Independence Space ShuttleIndependence Space Shuttle
Independence Space Shuttle

This is the shuttle replica Independence, mounted on top of the historic and original NASA 905 shuttle carrier aircraft. The inventerof this idea was told he was crazy, but it worked. The airplane is gutted on the inside to reuce weight and bulkhead stiffeners were added to avoid squashing it.
Independence ShuttleIndependence Shuttle
Independence Shuttle

At the front end of the cargo bay was the mid-deck.
Houston Space ShuttleHouston Space Shuttle
Houston Space Shuttle

The lower deck cargo hold of the shuttle is huge! This is an actual satellite that was grabbed by the articulated Orbiter Access Arm you can see mounted on the right side.
Independence ShuttleIndependence Shuttle
Independence Shuttle

This is the cockpitof the shuttle on the upper-deck. So many buttons and switches!
Skylab 1-G TrainerSkylab 1-G Trainer
Skylab 1-G Trainer

The actual trainer used by astronauts to prepare for life aboard Skylab was so large that Space Center Houston had to be built around the trainer. It is big as a boxcar and weighed 100 tons.
Apollo Telescope Mount (ATM)Apollo Telescope Mount (ATM)
Apollo Telescope Mount (ATM)

This was a solar observatory and also a moutning point for solar panels (not shown) for SkyLab.
SpaceX Falcon 9SpaceX Falcon 9
SpaceX Falcon 9

This is a flown SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the stored landing fins shown. Its nine engines Merlin 1D help it lift payloads into space and land the core safely on the ground.
Rayford Crossing RV ParkRayford Crossing RV Park
Rayford Crossing RV Park

We stayed at an RV Park North of Houston. There were a number of amenities, including this screened hot tub near the pool.
Rayford Crossing RV Park PoolRayford Crossing RV Park Pool
Rayford Crossing RV Park Pool

The pool was nice, but we never took a swim. We did however play some shuffle board, the courts were next to the pool. Mike was the victor, both games!


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