The upstairs rear balcony of our new home faces directly east towards the Kennedy Space Center, so when Space X launches from Florida – and if the sky is clear – we get a view. Today the sky was fabulously clear and we got a great view!
Yesterday we drove to the Kennedy Space Center; we wanted to see the Dragon capsule that Space X were exhibiting, and we hoped to see a Space X launch too! The Dragon capsule was the first to dock with the International Space Station, and quite impressive to see:
We did get to the launch viewing area, a few miles from the launch site – glad I had my high-zoom camera as the non-zoomed view offers little detail! We waited, and the sun set, making it even harder to view – but we saw the gantry retract (the gas you see is just venting oxygen fuel), and then with just minutes to go, the launch was canceled. Some problem with radar tracking equipment.
We then discovered the the launch viewing area is “logistically challenged”! Some miles from our car and only coach transport available – with thousands of other people, it took more than an hour to return to our car (and we were nowhere near the back of the queues) – then jammed roads gave us a long drive home, too.
I don’t think I’d recommend the viewing experience because of that – and because it seems about half the time the launch is canceled for one reason or another. Next time we’ll just watch from our house …
Today we visited the Kennedy Space Center visitor complex again, with Margaret’s sister Kate and their Mother. First to greet us was a new welcome “sculpture”, quite lovely.
Then we again did the “close up tour” out to launch pad 39A; for the first time, I noticed the “scouring” on the blast walls; you can see the sunlight lit diagonal scratches, presumably following the direction of the exhaust gases:
We also, of course, did the Apollo 8 launch simulation, Apollo 11 landing simulation, and viewed the Saturn V exhibit:
We spent today at the Kennedy Space Center, to attend the last ever journey of Space Shuttle Atlantis, to it’s future museum/exhibit home – we weren’t the only interested people!
We started our day on another tour bus – but this time we got closer than ever to the one-time Shuttle launchpad 39A:
Next stop was a VERY close-up with Atlantis, almost close enough to touch 🙂
But Atlantis was on a journey, and it continued as the day progressed. It’s destination:
And as we all lined up to watch, Atlantis slowly (very slowly!) approached …
And as we leave at the end of the day, Atlantis is close to being pushed in to the new museum/exhibit building …
Lots to see as well as that tour, such as an International Space Station mural, or try laying in a mock-up Apollo Command Module:
Time to head off on our tour, beginning a long way from the VAB but getting ever closer … and then, inside!
A huge building! It made the Space Shuttle stored inside look quite tiny!
Later the tour continued with a drive-by launch pad 39A where many Shuttles left Earth:
After stopping at the Atlantic Ocean and seeing Alligators we end at the Apollo Saturn V Center, enough of a stop on it’s own to use up a few hours!
Space Shuttle Atlantis launched, for perhaps the last time – we knew there was no way to get close viewing tickets at Cape Canaveral, but we still looked East at 2:20pm … and saw:
We initially saw it even more clearly, with an orange glow at the top of the vapour trail – but I didn’t realize what a great view we would have, so didn’t have my camera ready!