Monday, March 18, 2019

TItusville (yes, still!)

Rocket history, right when you arrive
While we're kinda stuck here for the next few days (gonna be over a week when it's all done and over with), we have found fun ways to occupy our time. Yesterday was "space day!" Since we saw a launch we thought it was a good time to go visit the Kennedy Space Center, of KSC. Not to be confused with KFC. Totally different.

When you arrive it's clear they took some notes from Disney on how to run a theme park. Lots of ways to heighten the senses, heighten the drama, and heighten the price. $10 for parking alone, in a massive lot in Florida. Excessive, but hey. It's for space!

The first thing we did was the bus tour. It's a 40 minute ride that takes you around all the launch pads, complete with video explanations and a perky driver who points out non-spacey things, like the bald eaglets that hatched last winter sitting in that tree, or the alligator hanging out in that bog.
Bald eaglets. That nest is the size of a king mattress.
All quite fascinating. We got to see the crawler, which is how they transport rockets to their pads. In some cases, they are the pad. If moves along a special track at a whopping 1 MPH. Makes my boat seem zippy. They typically only use them at night, so there's little traffic or looky-loos.

The crawler
Launchpad 39A is most famous since it's the place that launched every moon mission. It's currently leased to Space X, and is where they launch their rockets, including the famed Tesla Roadster. Launchpad 39B is going to be the place where their going to launch the next generation of moon rockets as well as those destined for Mars. The plan, they say, is a station on the moon.

Launchpad 39A. Space X made it black.
Launchpad 39B. Note the 3 towers around it.
Those are for lightning.

The bus drops you off at a facility where you can watch a video, eat some food, and catch another bus back to the theme park. Inside it are a number of articles, booths, and hands-on things, but above it? A lunar rocket. All three stages, and the capsule.

How big was the stage 1 rocket?
That's me in the bottom of the screen.
After the bus tour we wanted to see the space shuttle, Atlantis. First you have to watch a little movie about how it took 12 years to go from idea to takeoff in 1981. Then you get to walk around the shuttle itself. It is impressive to see up close and personal, but you really get the sense that, yeah, it was time to end that era. It has a worn and used look about it.

Too big to get in one shot
Big payload area. Bigger than you think.

Note the mixed colors on the heat tiles.
Yep, it's heyday is behind it.

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