This summer I was invited to tour the NASA Langley Research Center at Hampton, VA.
I'd looked forward to this for sometime. As a kid I grew up during the great Space Race. My father was an accountant for General Electric's Missile and Space Division. Mercury, Gemini, Apollo... all of these were part of my upbringing.
Langley, as the name states, is a research facility. If you go there you will most likely not see finished spacecraft. Instead you see building after building of laboratories ranging from wind tunnels to lasers. All of this to seek out what we don't know about space travel and how best to make it safe for our astronauts and space craft.
Even driving past it, you will see miles of pipeline, huge storage tanks and miles of industrial equipment.
Inside the buildings, they are often crowded with more pipes, heavy metal test stands and bracing, cables running everywhere.
It is an engineer's ultimate playground.