Stuck at the Airport has been in Houston this week taking part in the citywide celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing and the first time humans walked on the Moon.
While here, we visited Space Center Houston, the science and space exploration center where the public gets a chance to see (and touch!) Moon rocks and learn first hand about what it takes to go into – and come back from – space.
There’s also a great gift shop. And for Souvenir Sunday, we’re sharing some of the fun gifts we’re taking home.
Thanks for joining us this week while we celebrated the anniversary of the Apollo 11 Lunar Mission.
Tomorrow marks 50 years since humans first walked on the Moon. Everyone seems to be talking about astronauts, the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar mission, where we’ve been in space and where we may go next.
Stuck at the Airport is in Houston – Space City – this week to be part of the festivities. We’re meeting with former astronauts, visting the labs that train and prepare food for astronauts and getting a first look at the restored Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
If all this space talk has got you thinking about becoming an astronaut, consider taking this Astronaut Apitude quiz filled with questions based on the official NASA Astronaut Candidate requirements and real-life psychological tests. Let us know how you score.
The Watergate package includes a one-night stay on the Top of
the Gate rooftop bar in a Glamping Globe outfitted by Terra Glamping, a
nightcap with Tang cocktails, s’mores and a house-made moon pie; a moonlit yoga
class; the opportunity to name a star; sunrise breakfast, souvenir map of the
constellations on July 20, 1969; and access to a top-floor suite. (To book,
call: (855) 290-6832)
In Seattle, the NASA Apollo 11 command module, Columbia, and other artifacts from the Smithsonian’s Institution’s Destination Moon exhibit are on view through September 2 at the Museum of Flight. To celebrate, guests at the five-star Four Seasons Hotel Seattle will receive space-themed amenities, key cards and Moon-themed space toys, while guests at the Hyatt Regency Seattle will be greeted by a 20-foot-tall inflatable astronaut in the lobby. Both hotels have Apollo-11 themed cocktails as well.
Space Coast check-in
Along Florida’s Space Coast there are a
long list of special exhibits and events at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor
Complex at Merritt Island; an Astronaut Walking Pub Crawl on July 12 in
Cocoa Village and, on July 13, an Astronaut Parade in Cocoa Beach and a free
concert at Riverside Park at Cocoa Village. To celebrate, guests booking the 50th
Anniversary of the Moon Landing package at the Quality Inn & Suites
Cocoa Beach July 11-14 will receive commemorative t-shirts.
The most over the top is being offered by the Post Oak Hotel
at Uptown Houston. The two-night, three-day package costs $10,000 and includes
a round-trip private helicopter ride between the hotel and Ellington Field; a
private lunch and guided tour of the Johnson Space Center with an astronaut; $300
food and beverage credit at the hotel and Grounding Ritual treatments at the
You to the Moon & Back” package at the Hotel Derek, includes a
moon-inspired welcome cocktail, specially created moon chocolates, personalized
horoscope, breakfast in bed and complimentary valet parking (Available July
1-31, Rates start at $189 on weekends, $259 midweek).
During July, Houston’s Hotel Alessandra is offering a weekend package that includes an
overnight stay, freeze dried ice cream, a NASA Archives coffee table book plus
$50 food and beverage credit in the space-shuttle inspired Lucienne restaurant
or chic Bardot lounge. (Rates start at $434).
At the space-themed Marriott Marquis Houston, July’s Mission
to the Moon package includes a Moon Melt Massage and a $50 resort credit, which
you might use towards one of the special “Over the Moon” cocktails. (Rates
start at $454).
The Visit Houston website lists lots
more Space City Month events and hotel
packages as well tips finding cosmic cocktails like the Space City Sour at the
Bayou & Bottle bar the Four Seasons Hotel – Houston that features a far out
image of a man on the moon
etched on the surface of the cocktail.
already underway to mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon
landing and the first steps taken by humans on the moon.
July 20 is the official anniversary day, but United Airlines and Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport are among the groups that have a planned more than a month’s worth of activities to mark the lunar milestone.
Win a seat on a
special United Airlines celebration flight
Top among the events
is a special flight from Newark to Houston on July 17, the anniversary of the day astronauts Neil
Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin Buzz Aldrin made their first TV
transmission from Earth to space.
On that day, United Flight 355 from Newark Liberty International Airport to Houston will be a celebratory flight with space-themed entertainment, inflight gifts and special guests who have been to space.
Want to go along? United is hosting a social media contest on Twitter with a prize that includes seats on board the Apollo 11 celebration flight as well as a behind the scenes tour of NASA facilities in Houston. Deadline to enter is June 22, 2019 at 10:29 a.m. CT.
Beginning July 1, members of United’s Mileage Plus mileage program can bid miles on space-themed experiences such as VIP access to Space Center Houston’s Apollo 11 50thAnniversary Celebration featuring the band Walk the Moon. More information on that here.
No contest entry needed
for these Apollo 11 activities:
There’s more: Starting
July 1, seatback and personal device entertainment on United flights will
include a channel with dedicated space-related program from NASA, including
action cam footage of astronaut spacewalks.
In United’s Terminal C and E at George Bush
Intercontinental Airport (IAH), there are lots of activities planned as well:
In Terminal C, gate lounges will display digital photographs from the Apollo 11 mission on the monitors.
From July 9-11 Space Center Houston will provide Apollo 11-themed pop-up science labs in the terminals. In the United Clubs, customers will have a chance to meet and take photos with retired Astronaut Ken Cameron.
During July, travelers
will also have a chance to eat like an astronaut at In United Airlines’ at two restaurants at
IAH, one in Terminal C and one in Terminal E.
What did the astronauts eat?
Between liftoff and touchdown
back on earth, astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins were running
experiments, taking pictures, gathering samples and making history.
The press kit lists the day-by-day,
meal-by-meal menu for each crewman and explains how some of the meals were
“After water has been injected into a food bag, it is kneaded for about three minutes. The bag neck is then cut off and the food squeezed into the crewman ‘s mouth,” the release explains.
Freeze-dried ice-cream isn’t
on the list, but powdered fruit-drinks (not Tang; NASA doesn’t use brand
names), along with bacon cubes, shrimp cocktail, beef stew, frankfurters, fruit
cocktail, tuna salad and many other familiar foods are.
“Familiar foods, or even just fresh
foods, are often hugely satisfying in space for the memories they trigger and
warm feelings they generate,” said Jennifer Levasseur,
Museum Curator, Department of Space
History at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, which has 13 packets
of food the Apollo 11 astronauts didn’t eat.
Like modern day travelers, food is one of the few
things astronauts can control during a journey far from home. “Food must have
had a very important role on Apollo 11 because they were doing things that had
never been done before,” said Vickie Kloeris, NASA Food Scientist Emeritus.
Dine like an astronaut
Many of the foods found
on those original Apollo 11 menus are featured during July on a special menu at
OTG’s Ember Tavern and Tanglewood Grille in United Airlines’ Terminal C and E
To ensure authenticity, OTG’s culinary team visited NASA’s Space Food
Systems Laboratory in Houston to learn about and taste food prepared by NASA’s
“We wanted to understand what food meant to astronauts having that
experience and what it means now,” said Dan O’Donnell, OTG’s Head of Culinary, “We
wanted to know the science and philosophy behind space food; where they were
then and where it is now.”
The biggest take-away, said O’Donnell was that
the astronauts could choose a lot of the foods they wanted to eat. “It wasn’t
just about sustenance. Much of it was food that reminded the astronauts of home;
like beef and potatoes, tuna salad and sugar cookies. Our menu is a play on
Travelers who order from
the Apollo 11-inspired IAH menu won’t be served meals that need to be
reconstituted and squeezed into their mouths from bags. Nor will they find 1969
Instead they’ll find modern-day
versions of many menu items from the Apollo 11 mission.
“For instance, our take
on the Tuna Salad uses seared ahi instead of regular tuna, but we prepared it
in the same way with walnuts, grapes, celery, apple and some fresh yogurt,”
said O’Donnell, “The Beef & Potatoes is made with grilled ribeye, scalloped
potatoes and parsley pesto.
Although there was no alcohol on Apollo 11, there’s are cocktails on the IAH Apollo 11 anniversary menu.
“The original menus said, ‘orange drink,’ ‘grapefruit drink’ or ‘citrus drink.’ They were very flavor focused and on the sweeter side, because people taste things differently in space,” said Allison Kafalas, OTG Beverage Director, “I took those flavors and translated them to cocktails that are a bit more relevant and modern for today’s eater, including a peach bellini, a martini using an orange vodka from Texas and a pineapple margarita.”