Calling on Canaveral

Trip Start Feb 15, 2010
Trip End Feb 14, 2011

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Unless I stay somewhere OTHER than my car...I'm going to stop wasting time on this part.

Flag of United States  , Florida
Friday, March 12, 2010

Due to the time I spent doing laundry and working on things on the computer last night, I ended up going to bed much later than usual.  As a result, I didn't wake up until fairly late in the morning.

I only had a couple of intended destinations today: Kennedy Space Center and Daytona Beach.  Seeing as how it was raining again today with no change in the forecast, I figured I could cross the beach off the list.  Five days in Florida and the only times there were sun were the days I was away from the coasts. 

I had a good visit to the space center, though, and saw everything I could in the time I had.  Since I still had a little ways to drive after getting up this morning, I didn't arrive until around 1pm and they closed at 6.  Five hours seems like a long time, but a lot of it is spent in lines or waiting for scheduled events.  I managed to fit in a visit to their launch simulator ride, a walk through a display of an Explorer shuttle, and a bus tour.  The simulator was pretty interesting and the methods they used to simulate g-forces were pretty fun.  I noticed the back of the seat would sort of cave in (think reverse lumbar) to make it feel like I was being pushed back into it.  After leaving the simulator they have a large spiral walkway that descends down with small plaques displaying information and a couple photos for each shuttle mission ever launched.  The end of the walkway was sort of sad because there are only spaces for the last four plaques.  There are only four remaining shuttle missions.  Unfortunately, the next launch isn't until April 5th; I can't stick around to see it. 

The bus tours visited three areas around the facility.  They first stopped at a building near NASA's Vehicle Assembly Building.  This first building covered how the shuttles and engines are configured and assembled before and between each mission.  The next stop was a much larger building that housed both the entire launch control deck from the Apollo missions and a Saturn V Rocket that was suspended and separated into it's different stages.  Looking up at the size of that rocket certainly puts things into perspective when thinking about the comparatively tiny men it is built to carry.  The last stop is at the International Space Station Center where a short video teaches a little about the station before allowing visitors into a gallery set up with examples of different modules that are on board the station.  The modules are set up along a path around the room so they can be walked through.  After taking a look at them, I climbed a couple flights of stairs and crossed a walking bridge to a viewing deck in another building with windows that look down on a large working area.  This is the building where NASA Technicians test and prepare all of the new equipment and modules that are going up to the ISS.  After the last four missions are completed to complete the space station's construction, this facility will also be shut down.

It seems that a lot of chapters are coming to their end for NASA.  They didn't seem to present very much information on their future plans for Luna or Mars, but I'm sure whatever they're cooking up for the future will be making headlines in due time.

Once I left Cape Canaveral, I drove (mostly through rain) for a little over three hours to the Flying J in Brunswick, GA.  Tomorrow I plan on continuing the drive up to Savannah, Georgia to see what I can find there.
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Wendy on

Did you miss Jacksonville and watch the oysters grow?

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