I quickly disembarked the ship for my journey to the Kennedy Space Center. While I am not a space junkie I was excited to go to the Kennedy Space Center or KSC as it has been 50 years since I was last there. KSC hours are 9-7 with admission fees of $50 to $60, (children, seniors, and military discounts, and brochure has a $2.5 coupon), plus $10 parking. It is well worth the cost.
Since they were having a special function at Atlantis that evening with early closure I was told by the gal at the booth to start there. The line was short and introductory movie quick but I stayed in this complex for well over 2 hours. There is much to see and do. Make sure you take the simulation ride and slide down the slide which replicates free falling.
The Atlantis shuttle was enormous and I particularly enjoyed seeing the sleep compartment, kitchen, and toilet.
Don’t miss the videos of those who work behind the scenes as it is fascinating. One weekend a woodpecker mistook the ship for a tree and pecked away damage to the tune of 3 million dollars. Great stories.
Then on to the bus for an interesting ride through the center grounds. Viewing the crawler that carries the rockets was particularly interesting. It goes at a speed of 1 mile per hour and weighs 6 million pounds. Cost for this baby was $14 million and there are two however it will last through several decades. As a taxpayer that was good to know. Also good to know how many private industries are involved in the program which frees up government cost for the program.
As I walked around I hadn’t heard this many foreign tongues since my days in NYC then I realized/recalled how many countries are involved in the program. Gosh, if we can do a space program with all these folks why can’t we get along on Earth?
After seeing pads 39A and 39B we made it to the building where it all began. Here we saw young President Kennedy giving a speech about going to the moon, then the doors opened to an antiquated control room with pictures of all white men in white shirts and skinny ties. As I viewed the new films of those currently working at the KSC I was pleased to see all sexes, colors and nationalities speaking of their jobs and how they love working here. I particularly enjoyed hearing the story of an Alabama man from a family of 13 who works at KSC. Diversity works and there are possibilities for all! Also, the films and exhibits encouraged young folks to consider a career in space. It takes a village of 40,000 to get these astronauts into space.
The Mars exhibit was thrilling. By 2030 we are going to Mars. It takes 6 months to get there and the gig is a sign on for 3 years. Astronauts are already training for this and the lunar vehicles displayed were fascinating. They reminded me of those seen in the movie Martian with Matt Damon. I had just seen that vehicle outside the King Hussein Car Museum in Jordan as the movie folks donated it to them. Well, back to the USA.
The Garden of Rockets was another interesting spot where you could really get a feel for sitting in the cramped quarters of a rocket. Initially, I had thought this was a garden and it was a garden of large rockets. They have a docent give information on each rocket. A must see, check the times for this.
So, pack up the kids and take them to KSC. It was a fascinating experience for even Earth bound me and piqued my interest in space travel. Enjoy.