Monday, July 5, 2010

To infinity and beyond

Despite the wilting heat of the previous days, our visitors were raring to go on this bright morning. In fact, this was the one adventure they had looked forward to most. Kennedy Space Center!
After a good ole' American breakfast cooked by my better half (who had managed a day off), we picked up our two older grandsons from their home and made our way north to the Space Center. Our son-in-law and the youngest grandson completed the group. The parking lot was already an oven by the time we arrived, although we were among the first guests that day. There was almost no waiting as we got our tickets and boarded one of the first tour buses.

Between the driver and the overhead video our tour was well narrated and we had plenty of time to see the various areas along the way. The VAB (vehicle assembly building) where the fuel tanks, the rockets and the space shuttle are assembled in a vertical position for roll out to the launch pad. This building is visible for many miles along the Space Coast and our proudest landmark.

We were able to explore the three-story launch complex known as LC 39 observation gantry which was once used for Apollo program.

As a side benefit, a nice breeze cooled us off while we looked out over the Indian River's Mosquito Lagoon area toward Port Canaveral where cruise ships await their passengers.

Getting a good idea of what it would be like to fly to the moon came when the men and boys tried out the Space Shuttle Launch Experience.

Shake, rattle and roll boys!

Maybe you can't reach the stars, but you can touch a moon rock when you visit the Apollo/Saturn center.

 The tour bus also stops at the International Space Station Center where you see workers preparing experiments and equipment to be taken to the ISS. You can walk through space lab experimental modules as the astronauts do and see how they live aboard the ISS.

Or be a star in the Star Trek show here... (now through Sept. 2010)

You can look inside a mock-up of the Space Shuttle.

Tour the Rocket Garden with its awe inspiring memorial to those who sacrificed their lives in the quest to further our knowledge of what lies beyond our planet's atmosphere.

And see what you'd look like in a space suit.          

We thought we would have time to visit the Astronaut Hall of Fame, since it is included in the ticket price, but our day came to an early end in the heat of summer.

In cooler weather we might have managed a longer day but it was pool time for sure by then.

"A wonderful day!" everyone exclaimed.

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