A day of wonder

Titusville Travel Blog

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Ajja, "Sam and Mira" at entrance to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Area

Today was filled with wonder.  We toured the Kennedy Space Center.  It more than lived up to my expectations.  We took the NASA Up Close Tour.  It was supposed to be a two-hour visit to the outer areas of Cape Canaveral.  We were allowed to remain as long as we wished in two areas: the Apollo/Saturn V rocket display building and the International Space Station Center.  Speaking of NASA, check out their website.  There is a lot of information.

 

Frankly, I am and always have been in awe of the space program.  I have followed it ever since the Soviet Union launched Sputnik.

"Sam & Mira" on the moon!!
  I was enthralled by the seven original astronauts and absolutely in love with the late Alan Shepherd.  He had the most infectious personality of all of those seven amazing men.  Yes, John Glenn got all of the adulation, but Shepherd made me laugh (especially when he hit the golf balls on the moon!).

 

Our day started early.  Breakfast offered by the motel was blech!  They had Sunny D instead of real orange juice, white bread for toast with peanut butter and jelly, and Fruit Loops and Frosted Flakes cereals.  Tomorrow we will get their coffee, but eat our own cereal. 

 

We left for the Space Center early and spent the whole day there.  Our tour guide, Livia, was a delight.

Shuttle "Discovery" on launch pad LC-39A
  She was very knowledgeable and had obviously done her homework.  She did not just recite facts.  She clearly enjoyed relating details of flight operations.  She made the entire process come alive.  We were really blown away by the sheer size of the buildings.  We knew they were big, but wowsers!  The Vehicle Assembly Building, where the shuttles are put together, is massive.  We were not allowed inside, but that was fine. The shuttles are at the launch pads now and there is nothing being worked on in the VAB.  The American flag painted on the outside of this building is 20 stories tall • the stars on that flag are six feet tall each!  When we saw the Saturn V rocket that propelled the Apollo spacecraft, we were rendered speechless.  It is hard to describe anything so massive.  It was also very educational in that they have displayed it in all its parts.  Also in this huge building are the logos from all of the Apollo flights • those prior to landing on the moon included.
Vehicle Assembly Building
  In addition there is a recreation of the lunar landing module as well as a thin slice from a moon rock available for touching.

 

We had a light lunch in the Saturn V building and sat next to a gentleman who had worked for NASA from the get-go.  He so enjoyed reliving his working life at The Cape and told us many inside details.  I understood his feelings • mine are the same regarding working for all those marvelous years in Grand Canyon.  We both felt we were not only fortunate, but also somehow privileged to have done work we loved in special places.  He has been retired for 11 years and obviously misses being part of the space program.

 

Upon our return to the main visitor area, we went over to the new exhibit: the Shuttle Launch Experience.  I was concerned about it because I was afraid they would simulate some of the G-forces that are experienced by the astronauts.

Engines on Stage 2 of the Saturn V Rocket
  I should not have worried.  It was so much fun and so inspiring, I was brought to tears.  When the program ended, I mentioned to the attendant that I would not mind doing it again.  She said I would be the only one, but that it would be just fine!!!!  Jag joined me and we sat through the entire experience a second time … just the two of us.  As I was speaking to this very kind young woman, I was literally brought to tears.  This day had been so emotional for me that I just could not contain my feelings. 

 

The Space Center was closing for the day as we were visiting the memorial to the astronauts who lost their lives in the program.  The memorial was too large to photograph!  We settled for a picture of the bronze plaque opposite the main structure, then returned to our car.

 

Our entrance fee permits a second visit during a 7-day period.

Plaque honoring fallen astronaut heroes
  We missed so much we have decided to go back tomorrow morning to try to take in the IMAX film and see the Astronaut’s Hall of Fame before going on the Miami. 

 

There is so much more about this wondrous day, especially seeing some of the birds native to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Preserve: egrets, herons, a glossy ibis, bald eagles, an anhinga drying his wings after fishing and, I think, an alligator.  What an incredible area. 

 

Dinner was at a very popular seafood restaurant, Dixie Crossroads.

Two of the Apollo flight emblems
  It was quite good, although not great.  Jag ordered some rock shrimp as an appetizer and they were the highlight of the meal.  They are small, but filled with good flavor.  My crab cakes were okay.  They did not compare to what I had eaten in Charleston.  Still, I can recommend this place.  It can be very noisy and the wait can be long.

 

Since we are staying with friends in Miami, I may not have a chance to post to this blog for the next few days.  I will try, however it might be really late at night.

 

the4bubbas says:
What's so wonderful about this trip (and this blog) is not only that you're seeing these amazing places, but that you appreciate and enjoy them so much. It is so great to get to share it with you. Sam and Mira on the moon! Priceless!
Posted on: Oct 06, 2008
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Ajja, Sam and Mira at entrance t…
Ajja, "Sam and Mira" at entrance …
Sam & Mira on the moon!!
"Sam & Mira" on the moon!!
Shuttle Discovery on launch pad …
Shuttle "Discovery" on launch pad…
Vehicle Assembly Building
Vehicle Assembly Building
Engines on Stage 2 of the Saturn V…
Engines on Stage 2 of the Saturn …
Plaque honoring fallen astronaut h…
Plaque honoring fallen astronaut …
Two of the Apollo flight emblems
Two of the Apollo flight emblems
Lunar Landing Module
Lunar Landing Module
Sam & Mira with Ajja in front of…
"Sam & Mira" with Ajja in front o…
Sam & Mira with Bubbie in front …
"Sam & Mira" with Bubbie in front…
The Rocket Garden at Kennedy Space…
The Rocket Garden at Kennedy Spac…
Saturn I rocket in the Rocket Gard…
Saturn I rocket in the Rocket Gar…
Sam & Mira sit in a rocket engine
"Sam & Mira" sit in a rocket engine
Sam & Mira with Bubbie in front …
"Sam & Mira" with Bubbie in front…
Back-up shuttle Endeavor on laun…
Back-up shuttle "Endeavor" on lau…
Huge rocket engines on massive Sat…
Huge rocket engines on massive Sa…
Sam & Mira with Bubbie in front …
"Sam & Mira" with Bubbie in front…
Sign explaining the Saturn V Rocket
Sign explaining the Saturn V Rocket
Lunar Rover
Lunar Rover
Japanese part of the International…
Japanese part of the Internationa…
Roz inside one of the Internationa…
Roz inside one of the Internation…
Full view of the Space Shuttle
Full view of the Space Shuttle
Main Shuttle booster & solid fuel …
Main Shuttle booster & solid fuel…
Titusville
photo by: portia