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Space Center Houston

This iconic “mission control” was immortalized for its role in the first moon landing.

Space Center Houston is the official visitors’ center for NASA’s Johnson Space Center. This was Mission Control for many significant space flights since the 1960s, including the first moon landing. Today, visitors can take a tour of the grounds and learn about life in space. It’s the number one tourist destination in Houston.

The Johnson Space Center was originally called the Center for Human Spaceflight, and later known as Mission Control. It was built in 1961 as part of President John F. Kennedy’s goal to get a man on the moon by the end of the ’60s. NASA used it as a center for research and astronaut training. During flights, including the historic moon landing, the center also served as ground control. “Houston, the eagle has landed” were the first words spoken on the moon. The center still plays a central role for NASA as Mission Control and the training ground for the United States Astronaut Corps.

Visit Space Center Houston to experience first-hand what it’s like to travel through the outer atmosphere. There’s a space suit gallery, as well as authentic and recreated space shuttles and capsules. Take a seat in a flight simulator and experience lift off on a mock space mission. Experience what it’s like to watch a rocket launch at the Blast Off IMAX Theater, complete with sound, smoke machines, hot air and huge screens.

Daily demonstrations in the Living Space Module (a replica of inside a shuttle) show how astronauts live in space, down to showering and eating. Inspect real rockets, command modules and training machines for astronauts.

There are two behind-the-scenes tours that go through the Johnson Space Center. The Tram Tour takes visitors through Mission Control and the astronaut training facilities. The four-hour “Level 9 Tour” takes groups of 12 deeper inside the facility and includes lunch in the Astronaut Cafeteria. Call ahead to make reservations, as space on these tours is limited.

On your way out, stop by the gift shop and buy a freeze-dried ice cream sandwich, a snack astronauts eat in space.

The center is about a half-hour drive from downtown, and free parking is available. There’s an admission fee, and tours are extra.


Guide to Exploring around Space Center Houston


Best Lodging Options Near Space Center Houston

See all 281 Properties near Space Center Houston
Hilton Houston NASA Clear Lake
Hilton Houston NASA Clear Lake

Hilton Houston NASA Clear Lake

3000 Nasa Pkwy, Houston, TX
     
    3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Nassau Bay, this hotel is 1.3 mi (2.1 km) from Johnson Space Center - NASA and 1.6 mi (2.5 km) from Space Center Houston. University of Houston - Clear Lake and Armand Bayou Nature Center are also within 6 mi (10 km).

    Courtyard by Marriott Houston NASA/Clear Lake ¥8,539
    Courtyard by Marriott Houston NASA/Clear Lake

    Courtyard by Marriott Houston NASA/Clear Lake

    18100 Saturn Ln, Houston, TX
       
      3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Nassau Bay, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Johnson Space Center - NASA, Space Center Houston, and Clear Lake. Houston Methodist St. John Hospital and Howard L. Ward Park are also within 15 minutes.

      Extended Stay America Houston - NASA - Johnson Space Center ¥5,755
      Extended Stay America Houston - NASA - Johnson Space Center

      Extended Stay America Houston - NASA - Johnson Space Center

      1410 Nasa Rd. 1, Houston, TX
         
        2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Nassau Bay, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Space Center Houston and Johnson Space Center - NASA. Clear Lake is 1 mi (1.6 km) away.

        Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Houston ¥4,982
        Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Houston

        Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Houston

        1620 NASA Parkway, Houston, TX
           
          2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Nassau Bay, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Space Center Houston and Johnson Space Center - NASA. Clear Lake is 0.8 mi (1.4 km) away.

          Super 8 by Wyndham Houston/NASA/Webster Area ¥6,060
          Super 8 by Wyndham Houston/NASA/Webster Area

          Super 8 by Wyndham Houston/NASA/Webster Area

          18103 Kings Row, I-45 S exit 24, NASA Pkwy, Houston, TX
             
            2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Nassau Bay, this motel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Space Center Houston and Johnson Space Center - NASA. Clear Lake and University of Houston - Clear Lake are also within 6 mi (10 km).

            South Shore Harbour Resort & Conference Center ¥11,619
            South Shore Harbour Resort & Conference Center

            South Shore Harbour Resort & Conference Center

            2500 S Shore Blvd, League City, TX
               
              3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Situated in League City, this golf hotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Clear Lake, Nassau Bay Peninsula Wildlife Park, and Butler Longhorn Museum. Deep Hole Park and Dr. Ned & Fay Dudney Nature Center are also within 3 mi (5 km).

              Budgetel Inn NASA ¥5,863
              Budgetel Inn NASA

              Budgetel Inn NASA

              904 E NASA Parkway, Houston, TX
                 
                2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Nassau Bay, this motel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Space Center Houston, Johnson Space Center - NASA, and Clear Lake. Houston Physicians' Hospital and Houston Methodist St. John Hospital are also within 2 mi (3 km).

                Budgetel Inn Houston
                Budgetel Inn Houston

                Budgetel Inn Houston

                904 Nasa Rd 1, Houston, TX
                   
                  0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Nassau Bay, this hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Space Center Houston, Johnson Space Center - NASA, and Clear Lake. Houston Physicians' Hospital and Houston Methodist St. John Hospital are also within 2 mi (3 km).