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Our Top 10 Stops for a Space Program Road Trip


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Udvar-Hazy Center, Chantilly, Va.
Discovery, seen here at the pad in February 2011, will find a home at Udvar-Hazy.
Discovery, seen here at the pad in February 2011, will find a home at Udvar-Hazy.
Photo courtesy NASA/Kim Shiflett

Yet another branch of the National Air and Space Museum is next, and this one will immerse you in space nostalgia, too. Here, you'll see the objects you pictured as a kid when you imagined space exploration. In a hangar, you'll come nose to nose with America's first space shuttle, Enterprise, so dubbed because the American public rallied the White House to name it after the beloved fictional starship from "Star Trek" [source: NASA]. While Enterprise never flew in space, the museum eventually will get the retired space shuttle, Discovery [source: The New York Times].

Don't forget the clothing rack at Udvar-Hazy. You'll see the space suit used to make the first untethered spacewalk, with its gaseous nitrogen jet pack. Also check out an amazing piece of space history, the silver trailer where the first Americans on the moon were quarantined until doctors were sure they hadn't brought germs back to Earth. Prototype landers and rovers also populate this museum.

This stop is light on the wallet, since admission is free, but you will pay for parking ($15). Frolic around, no matter your age. Relics like these make everyone a little giddy.

Get ready to meet a Viking at your next stop in southern Virginia. It's just a few hours away.


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