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

California State Route 232

This past month I drove the entirety of California State Route 232 in Ventura County. CA 232 is an approximately 4 miles State Highway aligned on Vineland Avenye which begins near Saticoy at CA 118 and traverses southwest to US Route 101 in Oxnard.  The alignment of CA 232 was first adopted into the State Highway System in 1933 as Legislative Route Number 154 according to CAhighways.org. CAhighways.org on LRN 154 As originally defined LRN 154 was aligned from LRN 9 (future CA 118) southwest to LRN 2/US 101 in El Rio.  This configuration of LRN 154 between CA 118/LRN 9 and US 101/LRN 2 can be seen on the 1935 California Division of Highways Map of Ventura County. 1935 Ventura County Highway Map According to CAhighways.org the route of LRN 154 was extended west from US 101/LRN 2 to US 101A/LRN 60 in 1951.  Unfortunately State Highway Maps do not show this extension due to it being extremely small. During the 1964 State Highway Renumbering LRN 154 was assigned CA 232.  Of n

One Long Drive - Allegheny County's Orange Belt

When I trace my early interest in traveling and the hobby of roadgeeking, I always go back to where I grew up. Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, PA 48, and the Orange Belt. I grew up on Route 48 in Elizabeth Township on the Orange Belt. One of my family's favorite stories of me growing up is when I was around three years old - so 1980 - I told one of my aunts, "It's not that hard to get to our house - we live on the Orange Belt!"  The Allegheny County Belt System is one of the many things that are uniquely Pittsburgh. A series of existing roadways - minor and major - developed in post-World War II Allegheny County to navigate the region. Never intended to be a "beltway" in the modern sense - a full freeway encircling a city - the Allegheny County system is more like a wayfinding system connecting you throughout the county. It is uniquely Pittsburgh - it's been asked about , written about , and videoed .  On a recent visit home, I decided to drive the entire

Mosquito Road Bridge

The Mosquito Road Bridge is a wooden suspension span crossing the South Fork American River of El Dorado County.  The Mosquito Road Bridge incorporates elements in it's foundation which date back to 1867 making it likely the oldest highway bridge in California still is in service for it's original purpose.  The Mosquito Road Bridge can be found approximately 6.5 miles northeast of downtown Placerville.    Author's Note; Gribblenation's 2,000th published blog This blog serves as the 2,000th published entry on the Gribblenation blog site.  Ironically the the 2,000th blog entry closely aligns with the 20th anniversary of Gribblenation.  Adam and Doug recently discussed the history of Gribblenation on the Gribblenation 20th Anniversary Podcast: https://anchor.fm/gribblenation/episodes/Gribblenation-20th-Anniversary-Podcast-ep2nh8 For my own part I (Tom) have been part of Gribblenation since late 2016, it has been an honor to be part of one of the longest lived highway pages