Sunday, October 15, 2017

Calling All Junior Birdmen...

The Main Hall of the VASC
I'm like a little kid again whenever Lucy and I visit the Virginia Air and Space Center (VASC), and yesterday's tour was no exception to the rule. This Hampton museum doubles as the visitor's center for NASA Langley, so there is always something interesting going on...

"Yankee Clipper" and the Mercury and Gemini 'test items'
My favorite display, as usual, is the Apollo 12 Command Module, "Yankee Clipper", which orbited the Moon while Lunar Module "Intrepid" made the second manned landing on the lunar surface. (I noticed that they've expanded the "do not touch" perimeter of the display--but I would NEVER try to touch such an artifact. Take it home, maybe...)
Mercury Ascendant

Mercury and Gemini "Test Items" are on-display nearby--these are the capsule mock-ups used for parachute and drop-tests. The "Gemini" has a dozen little parachutes painted on it's side--I'm guessing that the upside-down 'chutes represent less-than-successful deployments!
"Open the Pod Bay Door, HAB..."
Along with a couple of new missiles, there were three major additions to the Center since our last visit a year back; a working demo of an inflatable "HAB" module similar to the one currently being tested on the ISS, an "astronaut training" area complete with simulators for practicing your orbital rendezvous technique or rover driving (I tried that one out and discovered an aptitude for NOT driving off cliffs into Valles Marineris!), and--WOW!--the "Solarium", a theater displaying dramatic imagery of solar activity, up-close and personal! THIS was both Lucy's and my own favorite new display--the ever-changing wide-screen vista is mesmerizing!
Yes, the Moon Rocks. A sample from the Apollo 17 Mission.
Overall, I can't think of a better way to spend a rainy afternoon than doing the VASC--if you haven't checked it out yet, it comes highly recommended.

For grown-ups AND born-again kids!

Lucy inspects a mock-up of NASA's "ORION" Crew Module
Hanging in the HAB...

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