Another vacation, another rocket!

Tuesday we got up early to go to Kennedy Space Center. But first we went out to see the sunrise over the beach.

Sunrise from behind the trees
Sunrise from behind the trees
Heath got this shot a little closer.
Heath got this shot a little closer.

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.

The top of the shuttle with the cargo bay open.
The top of the shuttle with the cargo bay open.
For my Canadian friends
For my Canadian friends
From the bottom
From the bottom

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!

Heath and Katy with Jerry Ross
Heath and Katy with Jerry Ross

Atlantis astronaut Bob Springer lives in the area and was also at the lunch so afterward we went over to meet him, too.

Katy and Bob Springer.
Katy and Bob Springer.

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.

VAB from a distance.
VAB from a distance.

And we saw the launch pads where the shuttles were launched. Also indescribably big.

One of the launch pads
One of the launch pads
And the other, which is being leased to Space X right now.
And the other, which is being leased to Space X right now.

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.

Wall of newspapers.
Wall of newspapers.
Heath liked the Malaysian paper.
Heath liked the Malaysian paper.

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.

New Horizons
New Horizons
3D printer with models
3D printer with models
The guy operating the printer showed us where he tried something and it didn't quite work out.
The guy operating the printer showed us where he tried something and it didn’t quite work out.

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:

A Russian Soyuz capsule. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". They were built in the '60s.
A Russian Soyuz capsule. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. They were built in the ’60s.
Waiting for lunch
Waiting for lunch
At the entrance
At the entrance

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s