The Dragon capsule

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 Рglad 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 Рbut 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 …

Atlantis at KSC

Our first trip back to the Kennedy Space Center since the Atlantis space shuttle was delivered to it’s permanent home, so we took lots of pictures …

 

We also took the Launch Center Tour, since soon it won’t be possible (once NASA starts re-equipping it in preparation for future launches) …

 

KSC March 2013

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: