Visiting the Space City

Programs for this blog post

Aerospace Engineering

Authored By:

Kyle Rader

For anyone who loves space exploration, visiting the Cité de l'Espace should be on your bucket list! We spent a full day there yesterday, and were able to see and experience a ton of different things, all related to space, space exploration, and the applications of aerospace engineering. This amazing collection of artifacts and models spans both an indoor museum and an outdoor rocket garden.

Our visit began with a guided tour of a few key parts of the museum. Our guide talked about the history of space exploration, and we saw a full scale replica of the Sputnik satellite. We then learned about manned spaceflight, and then ventured outside. Walking over to the full scale model of the Ariane rocket, I was amazed at how tall it was! The rocket really dominated the landscape, and hit home the scale of rockets needed to launch comparatively small payloads. The tour concluded with learning about space stations, as well as life in space. Although the views might be spectacular, the actual living conditions sound like they have a bit to be desired - perhaps a trip to outer space isn't in my future!

After saying farewell to our tour guide, the group stepped aboard the Mir Space Station. At the museum, there was a full scale, perfect replica of the space station that was used for training the cosmonauts during the time of Mir. I was amazed by the scale of everything. Even with a couple of the modules missing, there was quite a bit of space inside. I always had the impression that Mir was rather old, outdated, and cramped, but I definitely was mistaken. Okay, so maybe living in it for months on end might change my mind, but there was quite a surprising amount of room for experimentation and scientific research.

After lunch, the group had a visit to the planetarium, where we watched a show about the solar system on a spherical screen that seemed to envelop the audience. Upon conclusion of the show, everyone had some free time to explore the rest of the museum. Consisting of both indoor and outdoor exhibits, there was something for everyone! Outside, there were a number of models of different rockets and satellites, from the Chinese moon landing rover to an x-ray observation satellite. Inside, there were many exhibits that explained all about space exploration and many practical applications. I loved being able to see so many genuine artifacts - even a moon rock!

Finally, we concluded our day by viewing an IMAX movie about asteroids. This 3D film highlighted asteroids and their potential impact to Earth, as well as potential solutions for an Earth-bound asteroid.

Our visit to Cité de l'Espace was amazing! We learned so much about space exploration, and were able to connect all of that to the countless models, replicas, and artifacts we saw. Being a lifelong fan of space, I couldn't think of a more fun way to spend a day!