STEM

CAPCOM Go! – The Apollo Story

April 9, 2019

On Saturday, we were invited along to the premiere of CAPCOM Go!, a new film showing in the planetarium at the National Space Centre. We had never been to the National Space Centre before so we were really looking forward to exploring all of the exhibits, as well as the new film – and we were not disappointed.

Dexter loves asking me about stars and planets and we often watch the International Space Station fly over when it’s visible so I knew this would be something he found fascinating.

CAPCOM Go!

CAPCOM Go! tells the story of the Space Race between America and Russia and the Apollo Missions – from the tragic Apollo 1 in which all three of its crew died in the prelaunch test due to a cabin fire all the way to Apollo 17. It celebrates the achievements of the Apollo missions, highlighting what it took to put the first humans on the Moon.

Picture shows the cabin of the Apollo 1 with char marks and a cordon set up around it
The burnt out Apollo 1 cabin in which Command Pilot Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Senior Pilot Ed White, and Pilot Roger Chaffee, lost their lives.

A brilliant informative video lasting roughly half an hour, CAPCOM Go! got it’s name from the abbreviation of ‘Capsule Communication’ – The liaison between mission control and the in-space crew. Before launch, there is a Go/No Go poll called out between the different departments responsible for launch. CAPCOM is the last on the run through list.

Not only had we never been to the National Space Centre before, none of us had ever been in a planetarium so we were awestruck by the way the film surrounded us. There were moments when I just didn’t know where to look!
I learnt so much about the Apollo missions, particularly Apollo 1, Apollo 11 and Apollo 13. it made me come home and research more about them all.

Picture shows a clip from the CAPCOM Go! movie being shown on a domed screen to an audience inside a planetarium
Viewing CAPCOM Go! in the planetarium at the National Space Centre

All 5 of us (well, perhaps not Bridget) learnt something from the showing and came away wanting to know more so it is certainly a show that intrigues and sparks questions ad I would highly recommend if you’re over that way.

The National Space Centre

The rest of our day was spent exploring the Space Centre. It’s very child orientated and completely geared towards making it fun for them to learn. That doesn’t mean its not interesting for adults, it really is fascinating but there are lots of things to engage the children and really not the place to go if you thinks kids should be seen and not heard.

There is so much for them to see and do and touch and explore. There are jigsaw puzzles of various space crafts. There are exhibits they can climb in. Fancy dress costumes dotted about for them to put on. There is even a Mars Rover they can control.

There was a wall to do wax rubbings, a space race rocket launcher where you can send either the American or Soviet rocket way up above your heads, and interactive mini planetarium and so much more. With so many buttons to press, switches to flick, things to see and do, The National Space Centre really is an informative and educational day out for all ages.

A quick look at our visit to the National Space Centre

Useful Information

There is a cafe on site, ample toilets and baby change facilities and it is very accessible to pushchairs. We didn’t try the cafe so I’ve no idea about prices or food quality but it looked busy, which I took to be a good sign. The car park cost us £3 for the day and is pay and display. There is also a brilliant gift shop which is definitely worth checking out.

The National Space Centre is located in Leicester – Exploration Drive, LE4 5NS and can be found on the following social media accounts.

Facebook: @nationalspacecentre

Twitter: @spacecentre

Instagram: @spacecentre

YouTube: NSpaceCentre

Pinterest: spacecentre





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