Tuesday we got up early to go to Kennedy Space Center. But first we went out to see the sunrise over the beach.
I’ve pretty much hit rocket saturation, we have been to so many NASA sights and seen so many. We’ve now seen all three Saturn V rockets in existence (they all look alike) but seeing the space shuttle was just incredible. When NASA ended the shuttle program leaving our astronauts to the mercy of the Russians to not only get them to the space station but safely home again (I still don’t think this is a very good idea) the shuttles were sent to various sites around the country and Kennedy got Atlantis. I don’t know why I thought they’d just stick that expensive shuttle out in the rocket park. They built a building for it and had all types of information, videos and interactive displays. Katy did a virtual space walk.
For lunch we did the Lunch with an Astronaut and the astronaut of the week was Jerry Ross who is the frequent flier of astronauts — seven missions, 1,393 hours in space and 58 hours, 18 minutes on spacewalks. He also witnessed the longest football pass — three seconds and since the space station travels five miles per second it was a 15-mile pass!
Atlantis astronaut Bob Springer lives in the area and was also at the lunch so afterward we went over to meet him, too.
After lunch we took a bus tour. We got to see the VAB — Vehicle Assembly Building — that Heath really wanted to see. It used to be the biggest building in the world by volume but now it’s number 6. However, it is still the world’s tallest one-story building. There really just is no way to describe just how big it is. Like the Grand Canyon, you have to see it for yourself.
And we saw the launch pads where the shuttles were launched. Also indescribably big.
Then we were dropped off at the Apollo/Saturn V center. One neat thing they had was a display of newspaper front papers from all over the world reporting on the first landing.
That morning the New Horizons spacecraft finally flew close to Pluto and started sending back photos. We stopped by a display about that that was really interesting. We also got to see a 3D printer.
We visited the gift shop and got Jerry Ross’s autograph on the souvenir photo we bought and in a book he’s written that sounded really good. Then it was off to watch a 3D movie about space flight, including Orion and the hoped-for mission to Mars. Afterward we talked to Katy about it and told her they’ll be gone 2 1/2 years and there’s a possibility they won’t make it there or back. She said “I know”. She’s still pretty serious about this, even after seeing in the movie that they spend two weeks training in a lab at the bottom of the ocean. I think she should go for the second mission, myself.
We got to the space center before they opened at 9 and left after 6. It was long day. And we didn’t see or do nearly everything. If you’re going, I recommend two days to see everything and if you want to do all of the different bus tours, you need three days. Luckily yearly passes are less than two daily passes.
A few random photos: