Posted in Florida 2016

19th December 2016 (Day 2)-Kennedy Space Center (with Video)

Off to the Kennedy Space Center today.  We got up at a decent time, although we were a bit tired from all the travelling, and had breakfast in the hotel.  Decent selection and quiet because it was relatively early.

Mickey Waffles
Mickey Waffles

Rosemary dressed up for NASA in her pink t-shirt we bought for her our last trip (at the shop at the airport as we didn’t visit KSC last time).

Dressed for NASA
Dressed for NASA

We had an uneventful and relatively boring drive down to the coast.  And managed to make payment at all the toll booths.

We got our tickets on arrival (only thing we hadn’t pre-booked) and headed in. Pre-booking everything worked well for us, because it was done at an exchange rate of about $1.45 to the £, but by the time we went it was around $1.20.  So saved ourselves a fair bit of cash this way.

Kennedy Space Centre
Kennedy Space Centre

We headed straight for the coach to go out to the Apollo exhibition.  On the way we got a great tour of the facilities and all the changes that are happening around the launch pads to allow commercial companies like Space X to be involved.

Vehicle Assembly Building
Vehicle Assembly Building
Launch Pad 39A
Launch Pad 39A
Space X Facility
Space X Falcon Facility

When you arrive you first have a recreation of the Apollo 8 launch from the firing room which was used at the time.  Great little show, with the windows rattling as the launch “happens” outside.

Apollo 8 Launch
Apollo 8 Launch

Once we were in the main hall we were getting hungry, and although it was early it was at least mid-afternoon as far as we were concerned.  So we grabbed some food at the Moon Rock Cafe and ate it literally right underneath the Lunar Lander.

Lunch at the Moon Rock Cafe
Lunch at the Moon Rock Cafe
Lunar Lander
Lunar Lander

After some much needed food we looked around at the Saturn V.  Always shocked by how big it is, even though we’ve seen it a few times now.

Saturn V
Saturn V

And how small the command module is for those 3 astronauts.  Don’t think I’d be able to cope with the claustrophobia.

Command Module
Command Module

We had a good look around the exhibits and the spacesuits.  Some of them look like the could have come from a 1950’s sci-fi movie.

Spacesuits
Spacesuits

And we had to go and touch the moon rock.

Moon Rock
Moon Rock

We couldn’t leave without trying on the space helmets though.

Trying on stuff
Trying on stuff

We headed back to the main complex after that on the bus.  It was certainly hot, and can’t say we were quite used to it yet.  That warm in December just doesn’t seem quite right somehow.  So we got Rosemary a bowl of Space Dots.  Look pretty to start with, but by the time the colours melt into each other you have a bowl of brown goop.

Dipping Dots
Space Dots

And after that we went into see the Space Shuttle.  Rosemary was getting tired by this point so we were taking it relatively easy.  Think we were all feeling a bit of jet lag.  After sitting through the pre-show we went through to the main exhibition hall.  The very nice guy who was guiding people in offered to take a photo of us all.

Atlantis
Atlantis

We had a nice slow look around and Rosemary played on the simulator.  It’s a great thing for kids as there are hundreds of switches and levers to play with.

Shuttle Simulator
Shuttle Simulator

Rosemary was very brave (braver than me) and crawled through the ISS exhibit which has a clear tube which is about 3 stories from the ground.

Vertigo!
Vertigo!

She also had a number of goes down the slide they have there, which is super steep and meant to give you a moment of zero-g.

Super Slide
Super Slide

After this we went to the Mars exhibit, although didn’t stay too long there as there were some presentations going on and they were well underway.

Mars Rover
Mars Rover

At the end of the exhibit were some computers where you could send a postcard home from space.  The one of Rosemary came out great and you get a free souvenir of your visit as well.

Postcard from Space
Postcard from Space

We then went through the Rocket Garden to the Heroes and Legends exhibit.  This is new since our last visit and is about the Mercury astronauts.  It started off with a 3D show where you stand in a large room and the projections are all round you.  Unfortunately the show broke down during the performance and we were ushered out into the exhibit itself.  We would have gone round and watched it again but it was getting late and there was only 1 more show I think that day in any case.

There was a mock up of the Mercury capsule mounted ontop of a Redstone booster. Sorry about the slight distortion, it was shot as a panorama to get it all in shot.

Mercury Redstone
Mercury Redstone

They also have the control room set up with recording playing of conversations.

Mercury Control Room
Mercury Control Room

Was definitely getting late by this point but I wanted to take a walk around the Rocket Garden.

Rocket Garden
Rocket Garden

And it was a good opportunity for Rosemary to have a nice play.  There were some fountains that children could play in that came on and went off.  She got soaked through, but we popped her into a t-shirt we’d just bought in the shop and she was more than happy to sit in the car and dry off.

Fountains
Fountains
Rocket Garden
Rocket Garden

We had a great day at the Space Center and headed back to Orlando for dinner.

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Posted in Florida 2013

4th December 2013 (Day 3): Kennedy Space Center

So first day oksc_logout on our trip and something that was for me as much as Rosemary, with a trip to the Kennedy Space Center.Was really looking forwards to this as we’ve not visited since the Space Shuttle exhibit opened and having missed out on seeing a launch (it is STS-125 which was the Hubble service mission, which got scrubbed at the time we were there and ended up happening months later) I was looking forward to seeing Atlantis.

Anyway, we headed out on the road for ~1hour drive to the Atlantic coast at Titusville.

Kennedy Space Centre
Kennedy Space Centre

There were quite a few Christmas decorations about including a giant NASA bauble.

Christmas Baubles
Christmas Baubles

Our first part of the day was to head out on the bus tour which takes you past the launch pads and onto the Saturn V hall.  As you leave they take some green-screen photos which we’ve never even bothered to look at before.  But this one of Rosemary was so cute we couldn’t pass it up.

Rosemary
Rosemary

A lot of work was going on around the pads as NASA closes down the Shuttle programme and sets up as a commercial launch facility with companies like Space-X.  One of the Shuttle pads had completely gone and was being replaced with the equipment needed for other rockets etc.

Launch Pad
Launch Pad

I suspect though that I may have been the only one who was finding that interesting though. But we did see some wild manatees in the rivers and streams around the Space Center. There were at least 3 and possibly 5.

Manatees
Manatees

After watching the recreation of the Apollo 8 launch in the firing room we went through into the main hall.  Rosemary was instantly pretty blown away by the size of the Saturn V.  It is after all the size of a skyscraper.

Saturn V
Saturn V
Saturn V
Saturn V
Saturn V
Saturn V

After looking around for a little while we stopped to have sum lunch at the Lunch Pad underneath the Lunar Lander. We carried on looking around afterwards seeing some thing which probably didn’t mean as much to Rosemary, including Jim Lovell’s flightsuit and the Apollo 14 command capsule.

Jim Lovell's Flightsuit
Jim Lovell’s Flightsuit
Apollo 14
Apollo 14

We did get to touch the moonrock that is on display.

Moonrock
Moonrock

We got the first, of what turned out to be many, pressed pennies. She could spot these machines from miles off and every quarter and shiny penny we got in change ended up being saved back for them.

Pressed Penny
Pressed Penny

And finally before leaving we “excited through the giftshop”.

Major Tom to Ground Control
Major Tom to Ground Control

After leaving the Saturn V exhibit hall we got the bus back to the main complex and went to visit the Space Shuttle exhibit. They have Atlantis on display here (the others are at other museums now) in an orbit position in a large hall.

Atlantis
Atlantis
Atlantis
Atlantis
Atlantis
Atlantis

As part of the exhibit they have a mock up of the cockpit which you can play in.  Unfortunately the controls don’t actually do anything, which would have been a nice touch.

Flying the shuttle
Flying the shuttle

There are also some tunnels which you can crawl through which are part of the International Space Station exhibit in the hall.  I crawled in with Rosemary but we both freaked a bit when the tubes became clear and decided to head back the way we came. A bit of camera trickery made it look more impressive than it was.

Weightless
Weightless

After this there wasn’t a specific thing we wanted to see but we noticed that you could meet Santa. Expecting a huge queue we decided to take a look and were a bit surprised that there was absolutely no one there.  We spent about 10 minutes with Santa and Mrs Claus and he got us to take all sorts of photos with him, which was a lot of fun.

Santa
Santa

It was getting a bit late and we were hot so we stopped for ice cream, with Space Dots (frozen strawberry balls).

Ice cream
Ice cream

We just about had time to look around the Rocket Garden and try out the various capsules.  How they got into these with all their gear I don’t know.  Must have been hugely claustrophobic.

Mercury Capsule
Mercury Capsule
Gemini Capsule
Gemini Capsule
Apollo Capsule
Apollo Capsule

A final look around the Rocket Garden and then we drove back to Orlando.

Rocket Garden
Rocket Garden