Space exploration is once again becoming a hot topic. Many Americans can remember the days of the space race when the burgeoning space programs in the US and USSR rapidly accelerated and begun to push the limits of what we could achieve as a species. The space race inspired a whole generation to begin their own journeys of scientific curiosity and now that companies like SpaceX are making privatized space travel a reality, a new generation of space enthusiasts are being created.
Whether you yourself are passionate about space exploration, or you have children who are showing an interest in the subject, you might be wondering how to best fan the flames. These summer vacation ideas are the perfect ways to indulge that passion, to learn something new, and to take in some new sights and scenery.
Go See a Rocket Launch
There are few experiences quite as awe-inspiring as witnessing a rocket launch. The sights and sound of a rocket blasting off, rising into the air, and climbing through the clouds are quite unlike anything else in the world. The United States is one of the best countries in the world for watching rocket launches. There are three locations that NASA uses to launch their rockets. These are Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral in Florida, Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
Of course, you will need to plan ahead in order to make sure that you are there at the right time to witness a rocket launch. You should also be aware that if the weather conditions are poor then rocket launches are often delayed. There is also always the potential for things to go wrong. Many people still remember watching the Challenger disaster unfold on their television sets. The Council Chronicle has an article about the Challenger disaster for those who are interested.
Go to Space Camp
Space camp is the ultimate summer vacation choice for space lovers. Space Camp is located in Huntsville, Alabama and has provided an unparalleled environment for learning about space and for discovering exactly what the astronaut experience is like. It is a camp that is open to both adults and children and gives them the opportunity to experience and learn about many of the challenges that face real-world astronauts.
The camp offers different programs that are geared towards different ages and interests. Older campers can try out the Underwater Astronaut Trainer, a pool which simulates the feeling of weightlessness.
See a Space Shuttle
The space shuttle was NASA’s primary launch vehicle for decades. It is one of the most iconic machines in the world and today there are four of them on display around the United States. New York hosts the first space shuttle, Enterprise, the space shuttle Discovery is, meanwhile, located in Chantilly, Virginia Atlantis is in Florida, and Endeavour can be seen in Los Angeles.
Whether you are looking for ideas for yourself or for younger children, any of the trips on this list make for an unbeatable experience for any space enthusiast.