Sunday, February 5, 2017

Kennedy Space Center - My Favorite Place

Kennedy Space Center is on Merritt Island between the main land and Cape Canaveral. The Indian River is on the west side and the Banana River is on the east side. Bridges cross over to the island and to Cape Canaveral. The Cape and Kennedy are actually two different areas. The Cape is an Air Force base and Kennedy is operated by NASA. The City of Cape Canaveral is nearby and a favorite place to board several large cruise ships.

There are plenty of books available that tell the story of the original Cape Canaveral site and how it was constructed. Also, plenty of books about everything at the Cape and Kennedy Space Center. Google the Kennedy Space Center, Space Shuttles, and Cape Canaveral. You will find plenty of online reading material.

Kennedy Space Center is something you must see. If you are in Florida or if you make a special trip just to see it, you will probably stay for at least two days. Also visit Huntsville where the Space Camp is located. We were there three years ago and it is also a great place to see. I always want to stay longer at Kennedy so we have annual passes so we will visit several times while we are here for the winter. We were there two years ago for our first visit. 

After taking tours of the old launch sites and seeing what they created in the early 1960's, I realized that I should have worked there. Lot's of tube type electronics back in the 1960's and I still remember how to work on tube equipment. I wish I had known more about it after high school because I may have ended up there. The equipment they built 58 years ago is amazing. It is the most interesting place I have every visited. 

Here are a few of the many photos from our visit on January 28th, the day after the Grissom Memorial. My next post will be from January 29th and Space Shuttle Atlantis. 



Vertical Assembly Building (VAB). It really is not leaning, just my camera lens. You can't tour this building now but the shuttles with the huge fuel tank and booster rockets were completely assembled in vertical position in this building, now used to assemble other rockets.
Another view of the assembly building, the tallest single floor building in the USA.
This is Launch Control next to the assembly building. After the rocket launches, Houston takes over during the mission. This building is three miles from the launch pad to provide a safe distance from the launch pad in case the launch vehicle should explode on take off.
Launch tower for the Mars missions, an Atlas V-541 rocket. There has been an unmanned test launch. No matches allowed around that fuel tank!
This was a launch platform for the Shuttle. It is being modified for other rockets.
This is one half of the huge Crawler vehicle that delivered the Space Shuttles and now other rockets from the Vertical Assemble Building to the launch pads.
This is the long pathway that the Crawler uses to deliver rockets to launch pad 39. You have probably seen this on TV prior to launches. The Crawler is parked on the left and the Assembly building is in the center. The crawlerway is a two sided roadway like an interstate highway. The crawler weighs 6,000,000 pounds so the crawlerway is a special roadway to hold that weight.
SpaceX now leases launch pad 39A.
The crawlerway leading up to launch pad 39A.
The rocket end of the Saturn V rocket on display at the Apollo/Saturn  Center at Kennedy. This is a separate building near the launch pad 39 complex. The entire rocket is suspended from the ceiling so you can walk under it, quite a sight. The Saturn V sent astronauts to the Moon. You have to stand under this to realize how huge this is. A NASA bus takes you out to the building. There is another Saturn V at Huntsville, Alabama. 
Another view of the first stage of the Saturn V rocket.
The people look small compared to the rocket.
This is the second stage, basically a fuel tank.
The Moon Lander
The third stage with a single rocket engine to send it out of orbit and toward the Moon.
This is the Lunar module that landed on the Moon
Here is an Apollo command module attached to the Lunar Module under it.
A command Module hatch from the inside.
The real Apollo 14 command module.
Our friends Barry & Donna from French Lick, Indiana, with us at Apollo 14.  We have known them for thirty five years. We stayed with them two days at Orlando and traveled to Kennedy for the Gus Grissom memorial plus two more days at Kennedy.