Almost 12 years ago exactly I had business in Florida and brought Steph and baby Caden with me. We stopped by the Kennedy Space Center but given Caden’s age at the time and the high price of tickets we decided to wait until another visit to explore the facility completely. So here we are 12 years and 2 additional kids later. Back at the beginning of our adventure we did some space stuff as we gazed out into the heavens at a star party at McDonald Observatory near Fort Davis Texas. And now we are going to do more space stuff here at Kennedy Space Center. Ha…I bet you thought I was going to write about how we need more space in our house!
I think I’ve watched every documentary on the early space program, many of them more than twice! I’ve read numerous books on the subject as well. Never do I tire of the stories. Even today, in our high tech world, I think its absolutely audacious to think that its a good idea to strap a person into a pod on top of a bomb and hurl it into space…but to even dream it up back in the 50s and 60s blows my mind. Don’t get me wrong though…give me the chance to strap into a pod on top of a bomb and be hurled into space and I won’t even hesitate.
We bought our tickets over the phone and showed up early which gave us front row parking and we were number 2 in line. We only stopped for a picnic lunch and were one of the last to leave the place. I could easily have spent 2 days here. If I lived in the area I’d have an annual pass for sure.
The Saturn V exhibit was really well done and walking out underneath the rocket and seeing those ginormous nozzles took my breath away. You walk and walk and walk under this bad boy and then at the very tip there is an itty bitty space craft…its unbelievable.
The Atlantis exhibit was really great as well. This was made even more special because a friend of ours from church, Joe Tanner, flew on this bird twice (also once on Endeavor and once on Discovery)! I had to keep reminding myself that this was the actual space shuttle….not a model. This thing carried a guy I know, a guy I’ve camped with, a guy I’ve climbed 14ers with, a guy I worship with, into space and brought him home again…TWICE!!
We missed out on the Meet an Astronaut event while at Kennedy Space Center, but we’ve enjoyed hearing Joe present 2 different times at our church. I’m sure it would be cool to hear some other astronaut stories, but we’re a bit partial to our buddy from Colorado!
The engineering that goes into space travel is pretty epic. To work on something that has one chance to work and to work correctly would be super stressful. To try to think of every possible way something could fail. Its not like you can easily test out a lunar orbit insertion maneuver to make sure it works. It hurts my head to think about.
And things are getting even more exciting with Musk’s SpaceX and Bezos’ Blue Origin. Space exploration maybe doesn’t get as much fan fare today as it did during the 1960’s, but its not for lack of excitement and adventure!
Wachs under a Saturn V
Wachs at Apollo 14
Apollo 14 CM
Touching moon rock
At the controls
Holding the meatball
Strike a pose