Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Blasting Off from Orlando

Back in high school my family and I took a trip to the Orlando, Florida area and visited Universal Studios, Disney World, and the Kennedy Space Center.  At that point I had chosen my major in college to be Aeronautical Engineering, so naturally Kennedy Space Center was a very exciting place for me to visit.

The Kennedy Space Center (KSC) visitor accesible parts are split up into a couple distinct areas from what I remember.  The first point of entry is the main visitor center itself, which houses exhibits on all sorts of space stuff and interactive things for kids to play with.  Outside of the visitor center is a rocket garden which houses many different types of rockets that have been used by NASA since their inception.  You are even able to sit in a couple of them which was neat.

From the visitor center there are a few optional tours that you can pay to go on.  The one we went on went past the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) which is where the Space Shuttle was attached to the giant fuel tank and solid boosters before being put on the crawler.  We also got to see the road that the crawler takes to the launch pad.  The tour dropped us off at a building which contained an original, but disassembled Saturn V rocket which was the model used for the Apollo missions to the Moon.  The rocket is massive and I think it would take a few minutes just to walk from one end of the building to the other.  Seeing this powerful piece of technology and history was an awesome experience that I haven’t forgotten.

There were also a couple of other interesting displays at KSC including the Apollo era mission control room which simulated a real launch sequence complete with all the flashing lights and stuff.  There was also a replica Space Shuttle that you could walk inside and look at the cargo bay.

Overall it was great to see all of the really cool space stuff.  Unfortunately there weren't any launches happening when we were there, but if you are planning a trip of your own, I would suggest going to KSC's launch schedule page to see if you might be there around the time of a launch.

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