Florida Day 4 – Part 2

Blogging is hard work. So Dad, Will, and I went to Kennedy Space Center. It was cool. We took a bus tour all around the grounds and saw the launch site and the giant building where they build things and the big crawler that takes all the giant stuff out to the launch pad. From the building where everything is built to the launch site, it is 3 miles. The crawler takes 6 hours to go that far. Yikes! And guess what kind of gas mileage it gets. Forty two. Pretty good right? Forty two FEET per gallon.

There are tons of things to see here. We touched a piece of a rock that came from the moon. We saw astronaut suits and replicas of the insides of spacecraft. One thing that was really neat was the launch simulator. They stick you in a box and tilt it up so that you’re laying back just like astronauts when the shuttle is pointed at the sky and ready for launch. Then they kind of explain what would happen in a real launch and they do a count down. Then the simulator makes a bunch of roaring noise like you would expect a rocket launch to make and they shake you. After a while, they tip you back down and you feel weightless for a moment. Finally, they open the top of the shuttle and you see a brightly lit earth above you. It was a little cheesy, but it was neat. Will says the jiggling cleared out his sinuses.

Will took way too many pictures. I’m dumping them here and he can edit and make comments later if he feels like it.

(Will here – sure, let’s have some comments on this suckers! This will be me from this point forward.)

The crawler is crazy. Seriously, if you have a minute, read the Wikipedia entry for it.

This is a random picture approaching the visitor’s center. You can barely make out the shuttle replica they have set up.

Approaching the ticket booth. Yes, I was a little excited. I took a picture of the ticket booth after all.

Entry right after the ticket booth but before going through the turnstiles.


I think this is called the rocket garden. It’s a few different rockets used over the years. There are also little capsules sitting around that you can hop in to see what the inside was like. We didn’t really explore this at all. Instead, we had some lunch at the cafe. Maybe next time.

A big part of the visitor’s center is taking the bus tour out to the main buildings. You don’t get to actually get off the bus until you hit the end exhibit building, but you at least get to see some of the main sites. There is a tour that lets you get off the bus at these places, but it’s pretty spendy. The next time I go back I’m going to do the fancy tour.

This is the vehicle assembly building where they assemble rockets for launch. Then the crawler moves them three miles to the launch pad.

Launch pad A, I believe.

Launch pad B. This is undergoing work to launch new stuff.

This is a heat resistant cement panel. These are what keeps the rocket exhaust from melting the launch pad. If you look closely, you can see that these have melted a bit from the launches.

Vehicle assembly building again.

Once we got out to the exhibit building, we were moved into a little theatre that had a video about the moon landing. That opened into an auditorium with the actual mission control stations set up on the floor. There was a little video that played back the actual moon landing. The consoles lit up and blinked when certain things happened. It was pretty neat. It really gave you a sense of what it must have been like to be alive and in that room during the real event.

Just the tail end of a Saturn V rocket, no biggie.

A van the astronauts took to the launch pad.

More Saturn V.

Treads from the crawler. I think each weighted 2000 pounds or something. They’re big.

Real, used landing capsule.

Some structures going to launch pad B. Click to enlarge. The grey thing to the right of the tower is the crawler.

After getting back from the bus tour, we headed to the Atlantis building. They started with a neat video too, then opened up to Atlantis:

Exterior view of the Atlantis building.

Tour bus and the Atlantis building with fuel tank replica.

Saturn V again. This was back at the exhibit building on the bus tour.

Touching a chunk of the Moon.

Moon lander… replica.

This is a view of the top of the bottom section of the Saturn V. The rocket has multiple stages that break off and fall back to Earth as it goes up.

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