I can't access my Flickr pics at the moment, so the fourth and final installment of our NASM tour awaits while I blog a bit and hit reload every few minutes...
So. Only 4 more days to go!
On Saturday next, I will have moved 5 times since July 2007. But this time, it feels like I am going home. No more nomadic ways. In fact, I am so full of anticipation that I feel dizzy at times. Whereas my move from London was full of relief and desperation, this move has a completely different anticipation, almost like a ... well I don't know. A first kiss?
Both my mother and I have been running from unhappiness, searching for a new home and looking for peace that hasn't materialized. But I told my new landlady that this feels good. Both my parents feel good about it too.
So we are returning to the starting position: Mum is fed up of London (ooh surprise) and wants to return to Texas, and I am going where I have wanted to go for nearly a decade.
Apparently, I have already inspired two or three people to make their own changes, formulate new plans, or at least become restless with their own situations. Amongst fellow bloggers, Glo is one seeking a lifestyle change. Sure my move back to the US was important, but there is something even more significant about this move to Washington, and it's what other people have said about it that has made me aware of this...
Let life begin.
And onwards to the end of our tour:
Grumman X-29, which never actually went into production and looks like something you'd throw at a dartboard.
A collection of rockets which carried numerous missions into space. Did you know that a rocket is just a rocket, and that the first were merely modified military missiles with the command module/payload bay/capsule where the warhead would have been? Anyone can correct me if I'm wrong because I don't remember when or where I picked this up but it's stuck.
Turning from the rockets, I stepped into the backup Skylab Orbital Workshop. Two were built: one went into space and the other was transferred into the museum in 1975 after the Skylab program was cancelled, owing to NASA's refocus on developing the space shuttle.
It was too big to capture in a photograph, so here's a little of the interior:
A collapsible shower. The entire living area is small, but you'd better not have claustrophobia and then get into this thing.
The Skylab mess and kitchen for the three man crew.
Please don't laugh at the 70s-era mannequin.
The Skylab personal hygiene pod - tubes for waste, little lockers for items, a waste disposal airlock in the floor.
Skylab 4 command module - note the re-entry burns. Downstairs you could get right up close to the Mercury "Friendship 7" in which John Glenn orbited the earth. Though it is encased in a close-fitting acrylic shell, my eyes were mere inches away from the heat shield at the base of the capsule, looking at the charring on the surface!
The F-1 engine, powerplant for the Saturn V rocket that powered the Apollo Project.
This was a clever configuration in that there are only 1.5 nozzles present, but the mirror setup shows the eye all 5. A modern trompe l'oeil.
Space suit from the Apollo 11 Moon landing. Too many tourists in the way, I couldn't see more.
Guess whose flight manual this is?
Some of the food from the maiden flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1981.
Freeze dried bananas, no wonder nobody ate them.
A model of Sputnik I
The entrance lobby of Union Station.
A sweeping staircase that led up to a pleasantly situated oyster bar, like a bird's nest in the vaulted ceiling.