17 August 2012

Back to Kennedy Space Center

I promised some more about our holiday, well one of my highlights was another visit to the Kennedy Space Center. We were there last year, but I forgot to film some things so we decided to go back and also do another tour. When we finally arrived I realized though that I forgot my camera! How stupid is that? It was an 1,5 drive so too far to go back for it and we had a tour planned that left right when we got there. Fortunately we had an Iphone 4S with us that has quite a good camera so we used that, but I was quite upset when we arrived. Well that was the only negative thing so let's go on. Here is a picture of me standing in the rocket garden. A really nice place where you can see some real size models of the Gemini and Mercury rockets.

Another reason I wanted to go back is that they had a new tour that was only available for a limited time. We could visit the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) that NASA used to assemble the Saturn V rockets during the Apollo program and also all the Space Shuttles. We had seen the building from far away a couple of times but never up close. It is not difficult to spot it by the way since it is 160 meters high. The whole Saturn V rocket could stand in it straight up on its mobile launch pad with the crawler vehicle beneath it. So we booked this tour and went on our way.

The size of the VAB is amazing. You can't even take a picture of it up close. I tried it, but couldn't get far enough away. The picture you see above was taken from the bus. Around the VAB is also a lot of nice stuff. One of the crawlers was out there and also the mobile launch platform and parts of the tower. But the nicest part of this tour was that we could not only watch on the outside, but we could also go INSIDE! That was very special for me. There was a lot of security, but we understood later why. There were already parts in there from the new Orion rocket NASA is developing. In 5 years this rocket must be ready and will be about the size of the Saturn V. It will take us back to the Moon and it will go to Mars (hopefully).

Inside the VAB was another big surprise. The actual Atlantis Space Shuttle that made the last flight when we were in Florida last year was there! We saw it land and now we could see it up close and inside the VAB :) A sight not many people will ever see again I guess. The Atlantis Space Shuttle will stay at Kennedy Space Center and will be on display in the future in a special building that are creating now, but for the time being it will be here. Also the van that they have used since the Apollo program to transport the astronauts to the launch pad was in there.

After the VAB visit we went on to the famous Launch Pads 39A and 39B where all the Apollo and Space Shuttle missions launched from. The whole Space Shuttle tower was still there from the last mission. We were really close there, but I chose this picture because I liked it with the train tracks in front of it. All in all it was a great tour. Last night when we were home we watched the movie Apollo 13 again with the kids so that they could put it all in perspective. Well I also have enough film material now to make a nice video from our two visits. So keep your eye our on YouTube.


Anonymous said...

And did you left your CD behind there?


Synth.nl said...

I tried that last year, but they didn´t show any interest whatsoever,