Go inside a space shuttle
Houston's new $14-million complex
Space Center Houston opened its new $14-million complex on January 23. Independence Plaza features the 80-tonne shuttle replica Independence mounted on top of the original 159-tonne Boeing 747 shuttle carrier aircraft (SCA), and visitors can tour the interiors of both via a six-storey tower. The first stop is the Independence’s flight deck where visitors can see how astronauts piloted the orbiter through missions. One floor down is the mid-deck and its cramped living quarters as well as the payload bay where guests can see an artifact from STS-49, the satellite rescue mission that marked the first time that three people from the same spacecraft walked in space at the same time. The retrofitted Boeing 747 called Nasa 905 features exhibits about designing the shuttle and about how outside-the-box thinkers like John Kiker convinced his bosses that a shuttle mounted on an aircraft would work. Adults US$24.95; kids four to 11 US$19.95. spacecenter.org/independence.
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