At first glance, the Johnson Space Center looks less like a hub for the nation's space program than a college campus in the summer. The green, geometric grounds are virtually deserted, NASA's brain trust of purposeful scientists and engineers hidden away in low-slung, sand-colored buildings distinguished from one another only by big block numbers. But even inside, there are not many signs of life. The engineers stare intently at the numbers on their computer screens and tinker officially with very expensive equipment. This is a place of rules and regulations, governing everything from which way visitors may exit the tram ("To the right only, please") to what NASA employees may talk about with the press. When you do notice something human, like a guy in Mission Control eating a sandwich at his desk, it seems... More >>>
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Photo courtesy of NASA
After: Twelve hours later, the full-blown, full-scale model is ready for astronauts.