Overnight Experiences

Military Family Campout

Space Center Houston
Operations Order 2020-05
Military Family Campout
(OPORD 2020-05)

I. Situation

Earn your wings at Space Center Houston’s Military Campout Memorial Day weekend. Active military, veterans and Gold Star families can camp next to artifacts that have furthered human space exploration and join in hands-on, team-building activities.

Hear from an astronaut with a military background, build model rockets, explore robotics and train for spaceflight. Activities cover an array of difficulty levels to excite visitors of all ages.

Construct a robotic hand and program and operate a rover in our Robotics Challenge Arena. Build your own rocket and then see how high you can launch it.

Train like an astronaut and learn about spacewalks, solving problems and crew assembly. Tour Starship Gallery, home to multiple flown spacecraft, astronaut training models, one-of-a-kind artifacts and more.

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Preparing for a rocket launch.

Astronaut training

Did you know 216 out of 375 astronauts have served their country through military service? Get an inside look at how military astronauts train for space exploration missions at NASA Johnson Space Center.

Astronaut helping campers build model rocket

Family building a rocket together during one of our military camp-outs. A family works together to create a small rocket during a military camp-out.

Friendly forces

  • Active duty, veteran service members and their families
  • Space Center Houston and NASA experts
  • Astronaut guest speaker
  • Veteran nonprofit organizations
  • Honored guests for recognition
  • Family members to have fun

II. Mission

Mission Statement

Strengthen your family ties, meet other military families and return home with memories that will last a lifetime!

Concept of operations

Military veterans and their families will enjoy an evening of STEM and space exploration related activities with Space Center Houston and NASA experts, sleep among real flown spacecraft and wake up to enjoy a private tram tour of Johnson Space Center, the home of astronaut training and a working NASA facility.*

Pricing and registration

  • Cost: $69.95 per participant.*
  • Dates: May 25, 2019; May 23, 2020

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*Second-day general admission ticket to Space Center Houston included, which offers private tram tour of NASA Johnson Space Center. Buffet dinner and breakfast included in price.

Families work together to put together small rockets.

III. Execution


4:30-5:15 p.m. Check-in at Space Center Houston entrance (Please note: Outdoor campers must bring in luggage during check-in) 5:30-6:15 p.m. Buffet dinner served in Zero-G Diner 6:30-7:15 p.m. Welcome show and astronaut speaker 7:30 – 8:15 p.m. Rocket build 8:15-10 p.m. Activities throughout Space Center Houston 10 p.m. Rocket launch in front of Space Center Houston *Rocket launch subject to change due to weather 10:15 p.m. Indoor campers bring in luggage 11 p.m. Lights out
6:50 a.m. Wake up, pack up, load gear in vehicles 7:30 a.m. Buffet breakfast served in Zero-G Diner 8:15 a.m. Large-screen film in Space Center Theater 9 a.m. Two options:

Option 1 (Requires use of second-day ticket)

  • Tram tour of NASA Johnson Space Center
  • Return at 10:30 a.m. to explore Space Center Houston

Option 2 (Allows second-day ticket to be used another day)

  • Shopping time in SpaceTrader gift shop
  • Depart for home

Please note that the above schedule is subject to change without notice. During days of high visitation for the center, the large-screen film may be canceled to allow the NASA Tram Tour to depart at 8:15 a.m. Length of tram tour and locations visited vary depending on the season.
Rocket Park

IV. Service support

Materials and services

  • Guests must bring their own sleeping bags and toiletries (see helpful tips below)
  • For special accommodations, please contact campins@spacecenter.org.


  • Buffet dinner included on first day
  • Buffet breakfast included on second day

*Menu in helpful tips and information below

Helpful tips and information

  • Backpacks, duffle bags or small roller suitcases (carry-on size is ideal)
  • Sleeping bag and sleeping pad (Sleeping pads go under sleeping bags and are highly recommended as air mattresses are not allowed. The floor is carpeted, but is still hard.)
  • Pillows and extra blankets because the center gets cold, even in summer
  • Basic toiletries such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant and hair brushes (wet wipes are a great way to freshen up since we do not have showers)
  • Pajamas
  • Comfortable clothing and walking shoes
  • Jacket or sweater no matter what time of year you are visiting
  • Charging banks (There are some outlets available in the sleeping area and around the center, but an outlet near a sleeping location is not guaranteed.)
  • Money for souvenirs
  • Food and snacks if you have food allergies or are unable to partake in the provided meals (NO food or drinks can be consumed in sleeping areas)
  • Medical and media forms for every child and adult (parent/guardian must have the required forms readily available at the campout)

Please keep in mind that you will be sleeping with other families and should show the same courtesy and respect to them that you would like shown to you. These few rules will provide for a safe and enjoyable experience.

  • Air mattresses and cots (The only exception to this rule is if you or someone in your party has a medical condition. If you did not already request to bring an air mattress or cot in the comments section of your registration, please email Reservations or the program coordinator.)
  • Glow sticks (Flashlights and phone lights are acceptable.)
  • Electrical hair appliances such as blow dryers, straighteners, curling irons, etc.

If you need to add more family members to your reservation, please call Reservations at +1 281-283-4755.
If you have a medical condition that does not allow sleeping on the floor, and you need to bring an air mattress or cot, please let us know as soon as possible before the camp so we can accommodate you.

Tell us if you need to bring a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine so that we can place you near an outlet.

If you have any food allergies, you can view the current menu and list of ingredients that will be offered during the campout on our website at any time. If you need to bring your own food, you may do so.

Our instructors and campout staff will not administer medication. If a child is bringing prescription medicine that needs to be taken during the camp, then his/her parent/guardian must administer it.

We have a first aid kit with basic supplies for minor injuries or illnesses. The Security department also has a fully equipped first aid kit. Each parent/guardian needs to have all of the medical and media forms for every child and to be readily available in case of an emergency.
Cancellations to your reservations may be made until six weeks before the date of your campout. Refunds will be given up only until six weeks before the date of your campout.

If your camp is less than six weeks away, and you are not able to attend, you can reschedule individuals or your entire group and apply your ticket(s) to another campout. If Space Center Houston cancels your camp due to bad weather or other unforeseen circumstances, you can receive a refund or apply your tickets to another campout date.

Rescheduling your campout date can be done by calling Reservations at +1 281-283-4755. Please note that all dates are subject to availability.

Space Center Houston is located at 1601 NASA Parkway, Houston, TX 77058. Traffic can be an issue, even on a Saturday, so make sure to allot plenty of time to travel.

  • If you are crossing through downtown Houston, it is generally better to take the 610 Loop instead of Interstate 45 through that area.
  • If your family is traveling in separate vehicles, make sure all drivers have a way to contact each other. All family members must be present in order to check in.
  • Always check current weather and road conditions on official state websites.
  • Sam Houston Tollway charges tolls but is quicker.
  • In case of bad weather and road closures on major freeways, there are several alternate routes in the area to choose from.
  • Remember to search for Space Center Houston and not NASA or Johnson Space Center on your GPS. Our address is 1601 NASA Parkway, Houston, TX 77058. We are located across the street from NASA Johnson Space Center.

Campouts are not cancelled for bad weather unless all of Space Center Houston is closed. This only occurs in extreme, severe weather conditions. No refunds will be given as long as the campout has not been canceled. You will be notified if the campout is canceled.

  • Tell the Space Center Houston employee at the parking toll booth that you are here for the campout. Parking is free for you and anyone else who is staying for the campout or dropping off and picking up.
  • Check-in is at the special events building near the shuttle carrier aircraft and shuttle replica. Look for our green flags.
  • You will receive a welcome packet with wrist bands for everyone in your group as well as the itinerary for the evening, coupons for the gift shop, badge requirements met and a few other goodies.
  • The gate will open early in the morning for anyone joining you on the second day.

  • Taco bar (ground beef and chicken fajita)
  • Lettuce and pico de gallo
  • Flour tortilla (three per guest)
  • Sour cream and cheese
  • Churros
  • Soda machine, water, coffee, and tea


  • Scrambled eggs
  • French toast sticks
  • Sausage patty
  • Fresh fruit
  • Orange juice, apple juice, coffee, and tea

*Please note menus are subject to change. Check back the week of your campout for any changes.

Frequently asked questions

This event is designed specifically for active military and veteran families. We offer general public campout events throughout the year.
Yes, safety is Space Center Houston’s number one concern. Security personnel are at each campout round-the-clock, as well as patrolling the outside area.
Space Center Houston has a first aid station available during the day. Each group is responsible for a first aid responder being present. Space Center Houston camp staff have access to a basic first aid kit for your use.
Air mattresses and cots are not allowed except for those with medical conditions that prevent sleeping on the floor. You must notify us prior to arrival so that we can ensure we can accommodate.
There is not enough room to accommodate all campers if everyone brought an air mattress so that is reserved for people with medical conditions.
There are restrooms inside the building and in the outdoor camping area. There are no showers.
Attendees with dietary restrictions may bring their own food. Absolutely NO cooking will be allowed. Small snacks are acceptable but not in the sleeping area.
After lights-out, the facility will be locked down and monitored by Security. If campers need to access vehicles during the night, they should notify the Security team.
Yes, there will be a full staff of Security guards monitoring the building and grounds as well as two campout staff members.
No, the center must clear its daytime visitors from the building before allowing teams and their materials inside.
The program ends at 8:45 a.m., and you will be given the following options:

  • Option #1 Private tram tour of NASA Johnson Space Center and general admission to Space Center Houston for the remainder of the day.
  • Option #2 Depart for home after breakfast and receive a general admission ticket to use on another day.

Kids assemble model rockets.

V. Command & signal

Registration can be completed online or through our Reservations Department by calling +1 281-283-4755 or email reservations@spacecenter.org.

To learn more about the program please contact our education program coordinator at +1 281-244-2131 or email campins@spacecenter.org.

Military astronauts in action

NASA and the military have a long history of collaboration and partnership. Explore the gallery below highlighting military astronauts, pilots, divers and others training and working in the field to further space exploration.
Astronaut military experience infographic

The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

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