There is so much to learn, see and do – not only in space – but at this museum. Few examples: one exhibit was Wii-like, allowing visitors to complete tasks on a space station; there is a shuttle launch simulator, a Rocket Garden, where you can only imagine (in horror?) what it was like to sit atop one of these “flaming candles,” hurtling into the great
unknown; or the Astronaut Memorial, dedicated to those who gave the ultimate, in the name of space exploration. This brought me to tears, and finally knocked out the replaying theme song, I Dream of Jeannie (oh no, here it comes again!!!)
Scale is everything -massive.
And, if you’re building massive rockets or space shuttles, you need one massive rocket hangar:
And you need one mother of a transporter, or in space-speak, a crawler. Weighing in 5.5 million pounds and an efficient 32 feet/per gallon (if I heard the crackling speaker correctly on our tour) to move a rocket to the launch pad.
We were able to see, and touch the space shuttle Atlantis. With an impressive 26 years of active duty, a total of 33 missions, 207 astronauts and 307 days in space, including a Hubble Space Craft repair. A fantastic piece of our history that I could not fit on my camera frame.
But my favorite was reliving the 1969 Apollo Mission, and putting a man on the moon. Listening and watching their presentation – you still hold your breath, even though you know the outcome! Amusing to see the Launch Control (guess Mission Control is still in Houston) and the size of the computers, the use of slide rulers, and, of course, ashtrays.
On July 16, 1969, more than 30 stories above the launch pad of the huge Saturn V rocket, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin walked across this very service arm, stretching from the launch umbilical tower to the command module of Apollo 11. Their next stop: the moon’s Sea of Tranquility.
Well, we are now official, card carrying space cadets – a one year membership of the Kennedy Space Center. Buzz will be there next weekend as the official daily astronaut, and also there to sign his recent book release. But, our mission: to watch a space launch during our Florida stay.