Skip to main content

Kennedy Space Center

Just prior to Christmas, my family and I went to Kennedy Space Center for two days.  The first day the afternoon was wet and rainy and we spent much of the time indoors at the various exhibits.  


Once you enter the Visitor's Center, you immediately come upon the Rocket Garden.  The Rocket Garden is currently home to eight rockets from Juno 1 to the Saturn 1B.  There are also two space modules that you can crawl inside.


The height of the rockets are awe inspiring.  Though these rockets did not fly into space - NASA did not retrieve spent rockets in the early days of the program - they are just amazing to see up close an personal.



My oldest son's goal is to be one of the first astronauts on Mars.  So of course, we then went to the Journey to Mars exhibit.  And he totally loved it.   The Journey to Mars exhibit has live presentations, interactive exhibits, and more.  Outside of the exhibit is an example of a Mars Rover.

Outside of the Space Shuttle Atlantis Zone.  The size of the rockets - a familiar sight during the Space Shuttle days - is impressive.


Finally to conclude the first day, we went to the Space Shuttle Atlantis Zone.  Simply put, it was fantastic.   The first interactive feature is a film detailing the birth of the Space Shuttle program concluding with the April 12, 1981 launch of the Columbia.  Once the show is complete, you walk out to the Space Shuttle Atlantis.


It is truly an amazing and impressive sight.  Inside, there are a lot of various activities for children and adults.  The Space Shuttle Simulator is a must ride and is a lot of fun.  It is recommended to spend two and a half hours here, and we were there for about that long.  It easily could have been a lot more.


The next day the weather was much better and we took the well-recommended Kennedy Space Center Bus Tour.  It is a enjoyable and comfortable ride through the Space Center grounds to the Apollo/Saturn V Center.  On the tour, which is about 45 minutes long, we saw a number of well known sites.  Our specific bus tour lasted a little bit longer as we ended up behind a piece of equipment that was being transported to a new facility.

The new SLS launch tower inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB)
Launch Pad 39A which is now home to SpaceX.
Entering the Apollo/Saturn V Center you are taken back to December 1968 for the launch of Apollo 8.  Following the program is an impressive look back at the history of this iconic program.  Due to the time delay in getting to the Saturn V Center, we weren't able to see as much as we'd like.  We needed to head back to the main visitor's center for a great experience.  We had lunch with former Apollo 15 Command Module Pilot, Al Worden.


This additional experience includes a fully catered lunch - complete with Tang - and about a 45 minute to hour presentation and Q&A session with an astronaut.  The meal was excellent, and I probably haven't had Tang in 25 years! 
When was the last time you had Tang?

Mr. Worden was enjoyable and very engaged with audience.  He even interacted with Colton at the beginning.  One of the unique things we learned was an interesting backstory behind the Apollo 15 logo.  The astronauts were permitted to design their own patch for their missions.  However, NASA had just recently decided that the use of roman numerals - in this case XV - was no longer necessary.   The crew decided to still include the Roman Numeral XV in their design.  See if you can find it below.


After the lunch, we headed to our overall destination - Disney World.  However, this was a great kick off to our vacation.  More importantly, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor's Center is a great experience for everyone.  I came away with an awe and admiration for all of those who have journeyed into space and all of the support personnel - engineers and scientists - who are driven in a quest to explore the unknown.  There is a reason so many are fascinated with space, its exploration, and learning more about the universe.  A trip to the Kennedy Space Center will certainly capture that.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ghost Town Tuesday; Vineland, Florida; the town killed by Disney

Vineland is a small ghost town located in southwest Orange County, Florida near the junction of Florida State Road 535 and Interstate 4.  Vineland is somewhat unique due to it largely being squeezed out of existence by Lake Buena Vista which is the company town where Disney World is located. Vineland was founded in the late 1800s as Englewood.  The town name of Englewood changed to Orange Center in 1911 before finally assuming the name Vineland in 1924.  Much like the rest of Orange County the community of Vineland was centered around Citrus Grove.  In the case of Vineland said orange groves were centered around Ruby Lake. The end of Vineland came as the Disney Corporation began purchasing parcels of citrus grove land to build Lake Buena Vista.  Vineland fell into a sharp decline in the 1960s but the community managed to continue to exist to modern times.  Much of the street grid of Vineland still exists east of FL 535 but most of the original structures are either gone or falle

Old NY 10 and Goodman Mountain in the Adirondacks

  Old highway alignments come in all shapes and sizes, as well as taking some different forms after their lifespan of serving cars and trucks has ended. In the case of an old alignment of what was NY 10 south of Tupper Lake, New York, part of the old road was turned into part of a hiking trail to go up Goodman Mountain. At one time, the road passed by Goodman Mountain to the east, or Litchfield Mountain as it was known at the time. As the years passed, sometime around 1960, the part of NY 10 north of Speculator became part of NY 30, and remains that way today from Speculator, past Indian Lake and Tupper Lake and up to the Canadian Border. At one time, the highway was realigned to pass the Goodman Mountain to the west, leaving this stretch of road to be mostly forgotten and to be reclaimed by nature. During the summer of 2014, a 1.6 mile long hiking trail was approved the Adirondack Park Agency to be constructed to the summit of the 2,176 foot high Goodman Mountain. For the first 0.9 mi

Oregon State Highway 58

  Also known as the Willamette Highway No. 18, the route of Oregon State Highway 58 (OR 58) stretches some 86 miles between US 97 north of Chemult and I-5 just outside of Eugene, Oregon. A main route between the Willamette Valley region of Oregon with Central Oregon and Crater Lake National Park, the highway follows the Middle Fork Willamette River and Salt Creek for much of its route as it makes its way to and across the Cascades, cresting at 5,138 feet above sea level at Willamette Pass. That is a gain of over 4,500 in elevation from where the highway begins at I-5. The upper reaches of OR 58 are dominated by the principal pinnacle that can sometimes be seen from the highway, Diamond Peak, and three nearby lakes, Crescent, Odell and Waldo (Oregon's second largest lake). OR 58 is chock full of rivers, creeks, mountain views, hot springs and waterfalls within a short distance from the highway. OR 58 was numbered as such by the Oregon State Highway Department in 1940. OR 58 is a del