On Feb. 26, NASA’s Johnson Space Center and the agency headed back to the
Texas Capitol for Space Day, an annual celebration highlighting the top
achievements in human space exploration throughout Texas.
The jam-packed day was filled with events and exhibits focusing on
exploration, astronauts and STEM education, with astronaut visits and
legislative proclamations adding gravity to the occasion. Mid-day, astronaut Tracy Caldwell-Dyson gave a presentation about living and working in space and signed autographs.
Some of the interactive exhibits included Johnson’s Office
of STEM Engagement High School Aerospace Scholars (HAS) program, the
International Space Station orbital laboratory, the Commercial Crew Program on
the cusp of sending astronauts back to space from American soil and the Orion
spacecraft in development for exploring deep space. There was also a virtual
reality experience showcasing the Boeing Starliner spacecraft, a future lunar
lander prototype from Intuitive Machines and more.
Here are 6 can’t-miss Space Day moments:
1. Ringing in 20 years of HAS, the educational program that offers Texas high school students a one-of-a-kind experience to explore the possibilities of a STEM major or career.
2. Johnson Deputy Director Vanessa Wyche received special recognition from Senator Borris L.
Miles for her outstanding leadership and service to the center and work to advance human space exploration.
3. Proclamations! In the morning, proclamations celebrating NASA’s 20th anniversary of the International Space Station, the 20th anniversary of HAS and the 50th anniversary of humanity’s first visit to the Moon were read in the Texas House and Senate chambers, respectively.
4. Explorers ... present astronauts and those in the wings, waiting for their inspiration to join the next astronaut class.
5. Exhibits and engagement. Interactive exhibits throughout the Capitol helped tell NASA's spaceflight story, from the iconic moments of Apollo to the exciting times on the horizon for the agency: fully utilizing the space station, roaring into deep space with Orion and working in tandem with commercial partners for access to low-Earth orbit and the Moon from American soil.
6. Anniversaries—lots of them. With 2019 comes 20 years for the International Space Station and HAS, and an even more impressive 50 years since humankind's first giant leap. Beyond 2019, there are many more leaps to come from the home of human spaceflight: Johnson.