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March 2, 2009

Kennedy Space Center

Filed under: Travel — anotherheader @ 12:47 am

Saturn IB in the Rocket Garden

Saturn IB in the Rocket Garden

Tourist visits to Florida does not rank high on my “must do” list.  Perhaps my view has been stilted as I have traveled frequently to the Orlando area, initially to visit my parents and then later help relocate my mother’s household to Washington State.  That the long

A space walker in low orbit over Florida

A space walker in low orbit over Florida

flight from California is typically packed with restless and eager kids who have the impossible task for sitting patiently on their way to visit Mickey Mouse has not helped to ease the journey.

On the latest trip, with the end of our frequent visits in sight, we made an effort to get out for a day to do something touristy.  We opted to go to Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral.

The Space Center is about an hour out of Orlando.  We headed there early, too early in fact, after dropping my sister and brother-in-law at the Orlando Airport for an early flight.  After a wait, a small cluster of visitors collected at the entrance for the Center, which was set to open promptly at 9 am.  An outside contractor manages the Space Center and it shares much the same organizational style of large amusements parks and it is clearly configured to handle crowds.  Fortunately, during out visit, things were relatively quiet with a smattering of visitors looping through the exhibits.

Rockets sprouting in the Rocket Garden

Rockets sprouting in the Rocket Garden

Visitors have three main tour options.  The basic admission includes a tour that overlaps significantly with the expanded tour options.  We took the NASA Up-Close tour that gets the visitor closer to the launch facilities and provides a more information from the tour guide.  Another tour option is Cape Canaveral, Then and Now Tour, which we did not do.  The NASA Up-Close Tour is  $21 (February 2009) more than the basic admission/tour ($38).  This is priced close to the added value so don’t worry about missing too much if you only want to pay for the basic admission.

http://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/ksc-tours.aspx

Massive Saturn V housed inside at Kennedy Space Center (HDR)

Massive Saturn V housed inside at Kennedy Space Center (HDR)

The highlights of the tour for us included:

–The rocket garden, a collection of space craft from the early days of the Space Program on to the Apollo IB.  There was a personal element for this visit as my father, who was technically at rocket scientist, worked on propulsion components for some of the craft on display.

Vehicle Assemby Building capable of housing a Saturn V in the upright position

Vehicle Assemby Building capable of housing a Saturn V in the upright position

–The closer view of the launch pads including seeing a Space Shuttle being readied for launch in the distance.  It was not as if we could inspect the wing nuts, but the tour came close enough to provide a sense of scale.

–Unexpected for us was the frequent wildlife sightings that included frequent lounging alligators, a slowly ambling tortoise, bald eagles and their massive nests, and colorful tropical birds that don’t venture too far north.  The diversity of life illustrated the impact of the Space Center being a nature preserve.

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As I suspected, Becky is, in fact, a Space Cadet

In the end it was clear that I had waited too long to visit Kennedy Space Center.  It was well worth the visit.  With only a few more trips needed to take care of Mom’s house, I’ll have to make sure that I squeeze in a few more of Florida’s sights.  Maybe then, my final view of traveling to Florida will end up being positive.

Main link to the Space Center:

http://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/

More pictures:

http://picasaweb.google.com/AnotherHeader/KennedySpaceCenter#

Second Stage Rocket Motors for the Saturn V

Second Stage Rocket Motors for the Saturn V

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1 Comment »

  1. […] are.  What can you mentally compare them to?  A giant monarch sequoia is about the size of a Saturn V rocket. The rocket is taller.  The largest tree, the General Sherman, is about twice the weight of the […]

    Pingback by National Parks: Sequoia and Kings Canyon « Another Header — November 19, 2010 @ 6:36 pm


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