Well, just more than 5 weeks, actually. In late April 2003, when I postponed (later, cancelled) my China trip, my company said, “Great! Max is tired in Houston, and wants to come home. You go.” So, I did.
We’re connected with the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB), and—naturally—the investigation was organized around the Johnson Space Center (JSC) at NASA headquarters in Houston. Technically, it’s in Houston, but it’s some 20 miles south, and I think some 30 miles north of Galveston.
It’s a very suburban area, heavily concentrated on the I-45 space. By the time you got off I-45 and went down Bay Area Blvd to where many of us were staying (across from the U of Houston Clear Lake campus), you were pretty much in strictly residential territory. I saw much evidence of housing occupied by NASA folks and, of course, by the many contractors employed in that effort. Someone at work just read a statistic claiming that NASA employs some 20,000 contractors. There was a significant Boeing presence, as well as Lockheed and the—I’m told—jointly-created computer services company United Services Alliance.
I carried my new camera (bought for the China trip) nearly everywhere, and managed to photographically document a great deal of my experience. Looking over these photographs after my return, I see that the following categories make some sense: