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

The Smithtown Bull in Smithtown, New York

  Before I moved to Upstate New York as a young man, I grew up in the Long Island town of Smithtown during the 1980s and 1990s. The recognizable symbol of Smithtown is a bronze statue of a bull named Whisper, located at the junction of NY Route 25 and NY Route 25A near the bridge over the Nissequogue River. Why a bull, you may ask. The bull is a symbol of a legend related to the town's founding in 1665 by Richard "Bull" Smythe, with a modernized name of Richard Smith. It also so happens that there is a story behind the legend, one that involves ancient land right transfers and some modern day roads as well. So the story goes that Smythe made an agreement with a local Indian tribe where Smythe could keep whatever land he circled around in a day's time riding atop his trusty bull. Choosing the longest day of the year for his ride, he set out with his bull Whisper and went about riding around the borders of the Town of Smithtown. As legend has it, Smythe t

Niagara Falls

  Arguably the world's most famous waterfall, or rather a set of waterfalls, Niagara Falls may not need much of an introduction, as it is a very popular tourist attraction in both New York State and the Province of Ontario, a destination of plenty of honeymooning couples, vacationing families and college students out for a good time for a weekend. Niagara Falls is also the site of many daredevil activities over the years, such as tightrope walking and going over the falls in a barrel. It is always nice to have a bit of a refresher, of course. Niagara Falls is made up of two main waterfalls, American Falls (also known as Rainbow Falls), which is on the American side of the border and Horseshoe Falls (also known as Canadian Falls), where the border between the United States and Canada crosses. There is also a smaller waterfall on the New York side of the border, which is Bridal Veil Falls. The height of the waterfalls are impressive, with Horseshoe Falls measuring at

Erie Canal: Little Falls and Moss Island

  Little Falls, New York is a small city in the Mohawk Valley that has been shaped by the forces of water throughout its history. Nowhere in Little Falls is that more evident than at Moss Island. Representing the Industrial Age, this is home of Lock 17 the tallest lock along the Erie Canal, but there is also evidence of the Ice Age in the form of 40 foot deep glacial potholes from when there was an ancient waterfall that was even larger than Niagara Falls at this spot, once draining Glacial Lake Iroquois when other outlets (such as the St. Lawrence River) were blocked by retreating glaciers. While Little Falls does not have the amount of industry around the river and canal than it once had, checking out what Moss Island has to offer is a great way to see what the city has to offer. Visiting Moss Island allows you to experience the engineering marvel that is the Erie Canal plus the wonders of nature by taking a hike around the island and seeing the glacial potholes. A