The Goddard Space Flight Center just outside Washington DC is one of NASA’s primary research laboratories and served as the agency’s first space center. While much of the campus is off-limits to guests, the campus does have a visitor’s center – and behind it, a “Rocket Garden” that is filled with decommissioned rockets and accompanying plaques.
You’ll find some pretty amazing rockets there, including an Apollo capsule that was used for training purposes, sounding rockets that carried scientific instruments into orbit and collected data, and even a Thor Delta-B rocket.
Goddard doesn’t handle the more glamorous manned expeditions, but they still provide support for unmanned projects, including the Hubble Space Telescope. They’ll also be in charge of its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, which is set to launch in the spring of 2019.
The visitor’s center also contains exhibits on the work that has been done – and is still being done – since the center opened in May of 1959, including models of the Hubble and the International Space Station and an actual moon rock.
Sounds like a pretty cool way to spend an afternoon, if you ask me!
h/t: Atlas Obscura