Journey of a Lifetime


Monday, May 10, 2010

Day 15 - Mission: Kennedy Space Center

This morning, we were off to the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
We took the Bus Tour there which takes you out to three locations:
Stop #1: Launch Complex 39. A drive by the VAB or Vehicle Assembly Building (where the shuttle is prepared & attached to the rocket boosters) & then out to 2 of the launchpads.
This is the VAB. One of the world’s largest buildings by volume - it is 525 feet tall, 716 feet long, and 518 feet wide. The doors are massive - the assembled shuttle with its booster rockets has to fit through them. (The picture doesn't do it justice. To put it better in perspective - each of the stars on the American flag on the side of the building are 6 feet tall - just shy of Colby's height. Big huh?)
This is launchpad 39A. There is a launch set for mid May, so you can see the Shuttle on the pad going through its month long preparations. It travels on a giant machine called a crawler for over 3 miles from the VAB to pad 39A - it only travels about 1 mile per hour, but it can take up to 5 hours to make the journey. This machine with the assembled shuttle on it weigh so much that the river rock it travels on which is 7 feet deep is crushed from the weight and has to be replaced with fresh rock. This is launchpad 39B - which has not been used recently but is being converted for future space exploration missions when the shuttle program ends.

Stop #2: The Saturn V exhibit. This place has a bit of added interest for us - because my Uncle Bob worked for NASA during the Apollo missions with the Saturn V rocket (more specifically on STAGE 3 of Saturn V).
This is STAGE 3.

Stop #3: The current International Space Station Center.
The components that make up the space station are assembled, processed & prepared here for the trip to orbit.

We also rode the Launch Simulator ride which produces incredible G-Forces (Glad they don't take pictures during the ride - Think you have double chin? How about triple chin?)
The Rocket Garden - display of rockets used in past space exploration.
A Saturn Rocket. This one is "THIS BIG" - yeah right!
Colby in a Lunar Rover.

A good day at KSC!

Afterward - it was off to dinner with my Grandpa, Uncle, Aunt & Cousin at Dixie Crossroads, known for their rock shrimp. Colby and I shared a huge platter of rock shrimp, bay scallops, crab legs and a whole maine lobster. WOW - It looked so good, we dug in and forgot to take a picture! Disappoint it did not.

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