As a kid I dreamed of being an Astronaut... Yesterday I got to see a shuttle in person... I didn't expect it to be such an emotional experience, but I had tears in my eyes. Visit the Udvar-Hazy Center in DC if you can!

  1. I went into that blind. Watched the sit down video. Then the wall opened into another room. Thought this is cool. Then the next room did it’s thing and I didn’t see the transition. Thought it was the Atlantis on screen. It was the real deal.

  2. That's epic. You watch the film, and they open the curtain and BANG! The nose of Atlantis is in your face.

  3. I've seen both! (As well as enterprise in new York). They are all impressive to see, but I think I like the ground level discovery display a but better.

  4. I cried at several points on my visit to KSC. The Atlantis reveal was one of them. Grew up a little NASA fanboy who could name all the astronauts and never got to visit until my late 30s.

  5. I was fortunate enough to attend a private event at KSC- I ate dinner under a Saturn V Rocket, and I’m fortunate that I live 15 minutes from Udvar Hazy Center.

  6. That place is incredible. The Blackbird, the Shuttle, the Concord. Spectacular place. So much better than the air and space museum near the National mall campus.

  7. Haven't been there, but I did happen to see Endevour at the California Science Center. Always a treat. I can't wait until they reconfigure it into the launch stack. They've got the last External Tank, and a couple of SRBs.

  8. It really is such a magical experience to be able to see the fastest and highest flying manned plane in world and the most active shuttle all in one place

  9. It's funny we ditched the shuttle with all the flying stuff and said fuck it, here's a little room that drops to the earth with a parachute.

  10. Did you ever watch that movie called “Space Camp”? That was the movie that got me obsessed with the Space Shuttle when I was young.

  11. Oh yeah! I remember that movie. That definitely contributed to my fascination with space, NASA, the space shuttle, and all the related things. I'm old enough to remember watching Challenger on TV. I think I remember watching this movie around the same time.

  12. I swear this was like one of the few good things about being born in AL. I went to space camp for like 4 years and then aviation challenge right next door for another 4 during the summer. As well as my mentor that was my piano and vocal coach also was one of the finalists to be in the challenger. She had old postcards saved from Christa asking her for her input on various experiments to do while up there…

  13. What an incredible machine, regardless of its downsides, with further innovation it could have been a beast in modern times. R I P

  14. Also there is the Atlantis at KFC which is very cool, it hangs from the ceiling at an angle with a second level platform so you can look in the open cargo bay, amazing views.

  15. The preshow just before the doors open is only a precursor to the next view you get of the orbiter. Awe inspiring is an under statement. Hanging her like they did gives you the sense that it's in space, where she belongs.

  16. The Museum of Flight near Seattle has the traing simulator. Not as exciting, but still interesting. They also have the original Air Force One. That was emotional seeing where LBJ took the oath of office after Kennedy was killed.

  17. I love Udvar-Hazy! During one visit not long before Discovery took Enterprise's spot, I was approaching the hanger and a girl, somewhere between 8-10 years old was just standing there in the hallway, awestruck, and she called out to her family which were several paces behind her:

  18. You should go see Atlantis at the KSC if you get a chance, to get in the room they walk you through an experience that explains the history and legacy of the shuttle, it's surreal.

  19. I dream of working for NASA. Hopefully someday still. I had tears welling up when I visited here and Kennedy.

  20. I love how used it looks. No model or computer simulation can ever really capture what a couple of decades of accumulated wear and tear looks like. Makes it seem real.

  21. I love how despite being and incredibly complex and advanced piece of machinery from the time it still looks like the top side of it’s made from papier-mâché lol. You expect it to be all smooth metal like an aircraft but it’s nothing like it.

  22. NASA was actually going to clean it up before sending it to them for display. The Smithsonian said no, they wanted it to look like it had just gotten back from space.

  23. They have lots of really cool stuff there. A SR-71, one of the first F-35, some things from the nuclear arms race like a Little John. Really cool place.

  24. The hanging shuttle at Cape Canaveral looks really dynamic. I was surprised at how small the shuttle is. But seeing it in a half roll with the bay doors open and the Canada arm deployed really help bring it to life.

  25. The one thing I think I'll always regret about the end of the space shuttle program is that none of the follow-up projects have ever really managed to capture the public imagination the way the shuttle did. Starship is cool, but everyone knew what the shuttle was and what it did. I don't have any data to prove it, but I'm pretty sure public enthusiasm for space took a major drop once the shuttle was retired.

  26. I saw this post earlier today and told my spouse. We now have a new stop planned for our trip to the east coast next week based solely on this - so thank you! We are both really excited.

  27. If you haven't been to the Kennedy Space Center, I highly recommend it. Nothing puts it all into perspective like standing underneath the Saturn V fuselage.

  28. I went many many times as a kid... it was part of every FL vacation we took. Haven't been back in probably 20years... that's a little sad now that I think of it...

  29. I got to attend 2 shuttle launches. I got to sit in the cockpit of Endeavor. I go to work at a NASA center everyday. It is awesome. I can totally understand your reaction.

  30. That's awesome! My daughter is touring colleges right now, looking for the best Astronautical Engineering program she can get into... I hope to live vicariously through her someday!

  31. What I was going to point out. It is very much not in D.C. It's a 40 mile drive between the branch in D.C. to this branch way out in the suburbs (though you'd be nuts to drive to the one downtown). I'm astonished that there's mass transit to take you between them, in only 1.5 to 2 hours.

  32. The New Space projects are much more sustainable. The Space Shuttle was an epic failure financially and technically. Yes, killing all passengers on two occasions is a technical failure.

  33. Every Time someone says Space Shuttle is a failure, they get downvoted. I can list 14 people who would disagree, if the Space Shuttle hadn't killed them. Well I too think rockets are cool. But affordable rockets that don't routinely fail are even cooler, in my opinion.

  34. We have the shuttle trainer here in Seattle, which you can arrange for a tour through the interior. After climbing my fifty year old frame through it, I have a new respect for the astronauts that spent a week or more inside. The toilet facilities alone effectively crushed my desire to ever go into space.

  35. Also very cool is the Endeavour in the California Science Center in Los Angeles, because it is lifted and you can walk beneath.

  36. I was extremely lucky and got to do some work at the California Science Center in LA where Endeavor is housed and got a personal tour of the shuttle before opening time. I never realized how big the shuttles were until I walked underneath one. Amazing that such a large vehicle was routinely sent to orbit.

  37. Emotional and also it's HUGE. It's hard to understand how big that thing is until you're standing next to it.

  38. I won tickets to Huntsville Alabama in 4th grade for a project and it was amazing. The sr-71 outside was the highlight of my visit along with a blue book about science and nasa that had guidelines for requesting information from the DOD about stuff. Lost it a long time ago but I wrote them a few times about different space stuff and they sent me huge packages of documents and cool nasa stuff.

  39. Last year I finally was able to visit the shuttle enterprise on the intrepid. The emotions I felt seeing it also brought tears to my eyes. I’m heading to dc this summer and was disappointed to find out the air and space museum is closed so I will definitely be heading here instead

  40. It's good you found out now! I was in DC back at the end of March when Air & Space on the mall was still open. Stood in line 45 mins outside only to get in and realize most of everything had been removed/moved to the Chantilly Hangar. I only had a couple hours so I couldn't make the trip out that time... so when I had the opportunity again this time, I jumped on it and was amazed!

  41. There's an orbiter at the Houston campus too. It was a trainer, not one of the ones actually flown, but it's on top of a plane. You can go in the orbiter, go in the plane: on the whole a really neat experience.

  42. I went to space camp when I was a kid and got to see the shuttle on the launch pad. We were supposed to see a launch but there was some kind of delay, but seeing it standing with the SRBs and the big main fuel tank was spectacular

  43. Acronyms, initialisms, abbreviations, contractions, and other phrases which expand to something larger, that I've seen in this thread:

  44. I was fortunate to get a behind the scenes tour at Cape Canaveral back when I was in the Coast Guard. It was AWESOME. We got to experience the Control Room launch scenario before it was opened to the public. I got goose bumps. I completely understand the tears.

  45. I'm so jealous of you :-) I would like to travel to the US sometime in the future and visit the museums where are the space shuttles. What a machines...

  46. I was the same way visiting Atlantis. The one shuttle I got to see launch live. Definitely want to go to DC and NYC to see their exhibits.

  47. Yes... I believe so... I went at the end of March and masks were optional but recommended. Just be aware the actual Air&Space museum on the National Mall near all the other Smithsonian museums is closed now for renovation. The Udvar-Hazy Center where the shuttle and SR-71 are, is located in Chantilly, VA about 30 miles west of DC.

  48. I live right down the street from there and like 15 years ago I got kicked out for being drunk. Great museum though! Space shuttle is huge in person.

  49. It's still possiible for you to fullfill that dream. Call NASA and ask what you need to do to achieve that dream!

  50. I had the same reaction...its surprisingly emotional isn't it? Kinda wondrous and spine-tingling.

  51. I remember I had a surreal moment when my girlfriend took me to see the captured U-505 German Submarine at the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago. Still my favorite museum. My girlfriend that took me is now, many years later, my fiancé. I can't wait to go back again. Thinking back to that, I can get a sense of what an emotional high seeing this was and I am so happy for you! ❤️

  52. I feel this. When I was in New York, I was out running and came across Dr Robert McNair park in Brooklyn. I had no idea it was there, and I got emotional because it's the closest I'd been to something related to the space program (I'm from the UK).

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