Thursday, November 11, 2010

Kennedy Space Center Day 1

Sunday morning we woke up bright and early and headed to Kennedy Space Center. Earlier in the week I had gotten reservations to take an extra tour that took us pretty close to the launch pad and the Vehicle Assembly Building and our tour left at 10 but we needed to be there by 9:15. We arrived in plenty of time and stood in line for awhile(behind a lady who had forgotten her tickets and was trying to figure out the name they were listed under since she bought them off ebay...what a mess) but finally we got our special pink stickers and made our way through the entrance. We had a little time to kill before we had to get on our tour bus so we went to see the rocket garden. Gabe and Ty loved all the different rockets and all the capsules they were able to climb in. They would have spent quite a long time there if we wouldn't have had to get on the tour bus. With a promise we would come back we made our way to our bus. Our wonderfully sweet, happy little girl the whole trip then decided to turn into a crabby, fussy, wiggly wreck...wonderful. I tried to passify her with her sippy and snack and that worked off and on but she was still very unhappy, hopefully she didn't annoy the other passengers too much, she was never obnoxiously loud but just not herself. On our tour they took us past the buildings where the astrounauts stay while they are at Kennedy and also where they work on many of the projects that will eventually go to space. They also took us by the crawlers that take the space shuttle from the Vehicle Assembly Building to the launch pad. They max out at 1 mph and are just huge. They actually have to bring in special river rock for their tracks to go on so they don't ruin the road and the tracks. The tour also took us out on the Nasa causeway where you can see the launch pad with the space shuttle, it is still a ways away. We then got to stop at a lookout between launch pad 39A and 39B(that they are actually dismantling now that the shuttle program is ending) where we could see the shuttle on the pad, unfortunately looking from that spot you see the back of the pad so basically the boosters and fuel tank and they also had the RSS(Rotating Service Structure-protects it from weather, etc) around it so we couldn't really see the orbiter itself but still a really awesome sight! Gabe loved it. After lots of picture opportunities we boarded the busses again and they stopped in front of the Vehicle Assembly Building(where they attach the orbiter to the fuel tanks and boosters) The size of the doors are amazing and to think the Saturn V's were even bigger then the space shuttles kind of boggles the mind. Our tour ended at the Saturn V/Apollo Center where we had to suffer through an 8 minute video with crabby Callie about the Apollo program, which on any other day would have been super interesting and then they did a simulation of what it was like in mission control during launch day which was really interesting. Then they let you into the main part of the building with a real Saturn V rocket. It was amazing! They had it split up so you could see each one of it's stages. You could walk all around it and underneath it and really get a good feeling for it's size(thinking Ty may have had to go to the bathroom in this picture:) They also had one of Alan Shepherds corvets and a piece of moon rock you could touch. We had brought our lunch into the space center with us and we ate outside with a beautiful view of launch pad in the distance. On our ride back to the main visitor center we were able to see an alligator and a wild pig. Once back at the visitor center we were able to visit the rocket garden again. This is one of the mock command modules you could try out, pretty close quarters and there is a 5 and 3 year old in there instead of 3 grown men!, this is the bridge used in one of the Apollo missions to get the astronauts into the command module. They also had a play ground for the kids and once they discovered that I'm pretty sure they would have been happy to stay there all day. We finally pulled them away from the play area and made our way over to the shuttle they that you can walk through, as well as a fuel tank and boosters. Gabe was just tall enough to be able to ride the Shuttle Launch Experience, a simulator that lets you experience lift off(kind of:) so he and Carl rode that while Ty, Callie and I got a drink and a snack. After that we were all tired and ready to relax so we headed back to our hotel after a great space filled day! Ty and Callie knocked out almost immediately but Gabe stayed awake and on our way to our hotel we pass Port Canavaral and several cruise ships were docked and we actually got to see one of them leave, we could hear their announcements over the loud speakers, Gabe thought that was great! When we got back we made some supper and everyone went to bed early!

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