January 1, 2014 (Wednesday)
Mike here, Edie gets another day off. She enjoyed it. I went solo to the Kennedy Space Center, (KSC). I must say, I get it and yes, it is worth the $50.00 a head to get inside. Having spent the day there, I’d say it was cheap at twice the price. So much history, so much accomplishment. It takes your breath away. And all day long it seemed like only about 10% spoke English. The rest were from around the world.
I digress, I must write the blog. I got up early, showered, shaved and snuck out, all while Edie slept. Since Lex has been using the car I found I had to gas up again. Then to Publix for a little breakfast, cash and a cup of coffee. Then to the KSC. Parking is $10.00. I parked and went to the self serve kiosk and bought a ticket, $53.00.
Today’s fill up.
$3.33 a gallon
Got some breakfast, cash and coffee.
I walked through the rocket garden, then went to the Atlantis building. It was really quiet there today, no lines or crowds. I walked up a long spiral ramp and got into a theater. Watched a film about the challenges of building a reusable craft. It had to be a rocket at take off; then it had to be a space craft in space; then it had to be a glider to come home. Really a huge engineering challenge. After that video I went into a bigger theater and watched a moving historical recap of the shuttle programs. At the end, the screen raised up like a garage door and there was the Atlantis, mounted to suggest it was in flight in space, bay doors open and an arm extended. The arms are proudly and expertly made in Canada. It is a wonderful display.
The rocket garden.
Two booster rockets and the external fuel tank.
One of the theaters leading to the Atlantis display.
Open bay doors.
The arms of the shuttles and the space station are manufactured in Canada!
The rocket end of the ship.
The underside with the critical heat shield tiles. 33 missions, they held. Atlantis was the last to fly.
Underneath looking from the rear to the front.
A mock space station, with folks crawling from one section to another.
Engineering challenge number one.
Engineering challenge number two.
Engineering challenge number three.
They would stay like this for a couple hours as final checks were made.
I thought the windows were generous on the shuttle mock up.
Looks a little bit complicated.
18 inch satellite that is as powerful as the old big ones.
Educational stuff everywhere.
The Canadian arm is used to tether and maneuver the astronauts as well as payloads.
Great tools that were used on a mission.
The arm is called the Canadarm.
Big, powerful and precise.
The shuttle Atlantis story is married to the Hubble rescue story and the museum properly displays both.
Front top view.
1/15th scale model.
Homage to the lost.
Homage to the lost.
Six in all.
Mock up of the Hubble Telescope.
Because the program ended, everything was up for grabs for the KSC collection.
I left and got on the bus tour. Nice big buses, we went out to launch pad 39, the famous one that all the shuttles flew from. Saw a crawler that transported the shuttle to the launch pad from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) and saw the gravel paths the crawler took. Gravel from Alabama or Tennessee, a gravel that does not produce sparks. They want no sparks because the rockets are full of fuel. Any spark would be bad.
The Vehicle Assembly Building. With the bay doors open all the way the Saturn rocket cleared it with 3 feet to spare.
One of two crawlers, capable of moving 38 million tons at 1 mph loaded and 2 mph empty.
A crawler road, the drive wheels on each side span the grass in the center.
Launch pad 39. The water tower to the right holds 386,000 gallons of water that is released 15 seconds before ignition. It flows underneath the shuttle rockets and diminishes the sound. It is almost completely turned to steam and only about a thousand gallons are left after the launch. On take off it is steam that we mostly see.
An artificial hill so there would be a reservoir for the water.
Crawler tracks road.
I ended up at the Saturn building. The Saturn Rocket is huge. I also got to touch a moon rock. Saw Alan Shepard’s space suit with moon dust still embedded in the material.
Actual Apollo mission control and they recreate a take off.
Newspapers from around the world.
Saturn rocket stage 1.
Different view of stage 2.
Apollo landing sites.
I want to say a mock up of a lunar lander, but I am not sure.
Model of the whole thing.
Touch the moon!
You can’t go there, they bring it to you. You snake your hand through the bottom window and then you can get a finger on it and rub it, which I did! Oh and yes, it is glued down really good.
I don’t know why I thought the tires would be rubber.
Another piece of the moon.
Custom gloves from plaster casts.
Alan Shepard’s suit with moon dust still on it.
KSC sits on the second largest preserve in Florida and has the second largest Eagle population, behind Alaska. This is an Eagle’s nest estimated to weigh about 700 pounds and approximately the size of a king size bed.
Took this in one of the theaters. This is a very isolated beach house that the astronauts get to use with their family before take off.
Rocket garden at night.
Bus line for the tours. Nice buses.
I caught another bus back to the KSC and watched two imax movies. One on the Hubble repair and one on the International Space Station. The day was drawing to an end and I went back to the Atlantis building and rode the simulator that tries to give you the sense of take off in a shuttle. It was good, shook like a washing machine gone seriously awry.
Called when I left the park and Edie wanted Wendy’s chili for dinner. I found and fetched it for her, Lex wanted a small chocolate frosty, as did Edie and I. For dinner I had blackeyed peas and collard greens. I made Edie and Lex eat a small serving for luck in 2014, in memory of my Mother. I am tired and struggling a little with today’s entry.
That was our day, hope yours was great. Wishing you a very wonderful 2014.