January 3, 2012

Frozen in Space

Who would believe that one of the colder days of our trip so far would be in sunny Florida? Temperatures in the 40s, with a wind chill factor in the 30s!  It was a beautiful sunny day, but we weren’t exactly dressed for the low temperatures on our visit to Kennedy Space Center.  At least we weren’t in shorts!

Floating Above the Ticket Line
Although we arrived early, we waited in an incredibly slow-moving line for forty-five minutes.  The line really wasn’t very long, but everyone seemed to spend at least three to five minutes at the ticket window.  There was almost a riot when two families were at the window for at least ten minutes.  The winds were whipping through the area, and everyone was more than impatient to get inside.  We finally made it to the front of the line.  Once inside, we cooled our tempers and warmed our bodies before boarding a bus for the tour.

Our bus tour took us first to the LC-39 Observation Gantry which gave us a panoramic view of the space shuttle launch pads.  This was as close as we could get to the two launch pads without taking a specialized tour.  It was a clear day, and we could clearly see the various structures that were built specially to launch the shuttle.  

Launch Complex 39 - Pad A
Vehicle Assembly Building
My favorite stop was the Apollo/Saturn V Center, which told the story of the Apollo program and NASAs mission to land a man on the moon.  The interpretation here was very effective and included a program in the actual control room where Apollo 11 was launched into space.  Videos told the story of the Apollo program while the control room’s crucial role in the actual launch was simulated.  Very cool!

3:00 Minutes to Liftoff
Launch Sequence Monitor
We then came face-to-face with a real Saturn V rocket, America’s lunar transportation and the largest rocket ever made.  It was amazing to look up at it and imagine what it must have been like to blast into space in such a vehicle.  Other exhibits included the moon buggy that was used and all of the gear that an astronaut must wear.  We were even able to touch an actual moon rock.  It was a great museum.

Saturn V
Service and Command Modules
Lunar Lander
Moon Buggy
Our biggest complaint about having to wait so long to purchase tickets was that we had no time to watch the IMAX films or participate in the shuttle launch experience.  We simply ran out of time.  I guess it’s a good reason to come back.  By then, one of the three space shuttles will be on display.  Wouldn’t that be cool to see?

Rocket Garden


  1. What fun! I especially like the Rocket Garden. What a great idea. Sorry old man winter got so far south. It's 6 degrees here this morning...
    that should make you feel warmer! ha ha LV

  2. LV, The space center was a lot of fun, and we did survive old man winter. Wow, I'm glad we visited you when we did! Six degrees doesn't sound like fun! Stay warm. Sarah