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Cape Canaveral

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Fly me to the moon… and beyond!

June 11, 2012

Friday morning, the hubby decides to surprise the kids with a trip to Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral. It’s only a three hour car ride for us and something we had been wanting to do. The kids had already been home for a week and a half at that point and still had a few more days before camp starts.

So, after making sure the dogs were taken care of (thanks to our fantastic dog sitter) and the house was in decent shape, (I don’t like to leave for a trip unless everything is straightened up and in its place.) we headed up the coast to Melbourne for the night to get a nice early start the next day.

1)

This was the view from our hotel. Glorious. Even if the weather wasn’t at it’s finest. We want to head back there for a little beach vacation at some point.

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Saturday morning, (not so) bright and early we headed to Cape Canaveral and on the way drove by Patrick Air Force Base. To my husband’s delight a Boeing E-4 plane was on the base and readily visible from the road. We had to make a U-turn so I could snap some pictures. This plane is an Advanced Airborne Command Post  modified to be used as survivable command post by the National Command Authority; the President for one, if the US were under attack. (Click on the link above for more information!)

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Once we got to KSC (Kennedy Space Center), the first order of business was the Rocket Garden, were the historic rockets tell the story of man’s quest for the stars, or in our case, hubby who is well-versed in all things NASA.

I was amazed by the sheer size of the rockets, see Middle daughter in the picture on the bottom right… can you imagine? The top picture is a Saturn I-B rocket, not even the full size and it’s huge.

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After the Rocket Garden we decided to head out on the bus tour and visit the LC-39 Observation Gandry (LC stands for launch complex) and the Apollo/ Saturn V Center. On the way we passed the Vehicle Assembly Building, the largest building by volume at the time it was built. The bus driver told us when they pulled the Saturn V rocket out, there were only 6 feet of clearance on the top. Which was nothing compared to the size of this humongous building.

The picture on the top left is of launch pad 39 A. This was one of the pads used for the shuttles.

Top, right is the VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building)

Bottom, left is LC-41 used for Atlas rockets, it’s still active.

Bottom, right is LC-39 B which according to hubby was modified for the now defunct Constellation project.

5)

This is the Apollo/Saturn V Center which houses a Saturn V rocket that once was America’s lunar transportation. 27 brave men were secured atop this 363-foot rocket in the Apollo command modules to journey to the moon and back.

I was and still am absolutely awed by the massive (there is no other word for it) size of this rocket. These pictures don’t do it justice at all and to really get the full effect you have to see it for yourselves. I can’t fathom that this beast was needed to get the small, by comparison, command and service module into space and lunar orbit.

The pictures in the middle are from left to right: Service and command module, command module and IU (instrument unit).

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This is Apollo launch control, not a mock-up, but the real deal. From these seats the Apollo space craft were launched into space. It was really interesting as they take you through a lift-off sequence and the windows atop rattle and shake and it’s so noisy… really gives you a feeling of what it was like.

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This is Apollo 14! Can you see the parachute on the top? And the burn marks? And how tiny it is inside? Can you imagine this command module made it to the moon and back? Isn’t it just so cool? I think so. 🙂

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Like Apollo 14, these space suits were in the Vault Room inside the Apollo/Saturn V Center. I believe the last suit was worn by astronaut Alan Shepard Commander of Apollo 14.  Not all of them were used, some were working models to find out what would and wouldn’t work.

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Here now, a few pictures with the family. Top, left: Hubby and kids on the observation gantry with LC-39 A in the background. Top, right: Hubby and the kids in front of Apollo 14. Bottom, right: Hubby and I in front of Apollo 14. And above us the kids trying to move the floating 9-ton Constellation Sphere!

I hope, you enjoyed this trip to Kennedy Space Center, truly a treasure in my mind, along-side my family.

I know, I want to go back, as soon as space shuttle Atlantis is there, and the new 65,000 sq.ft. exhibit about NASA’s shuttle program opens next summer.

This post is a little on the long side, but I took so many pictures and couldn’t decide, so I made collages and a list and now I can join Stasha for Monday Listicles!!! 🙂

P.S. I’d like to thank my darling hubby for his expert knowledge and letting me interrupt his day with the ten million questions I had, regarding this post!!! Thank you!!!