Sunday, 12 May 2013

161 Kennedy Space Center

Saturday 11th May 2013
Miles Today 179  Total  3317

Today was a busy old day.  We had to be out of our hotel by 10am, no problems there, except my lovely husband got into chatty mode with some locals and we finally left St Augustine at about 11am. We took the interstate as we had a couple of things in mind, first being Daytona race course.  On arrival there we checked out when we could get me a drive around with a professional, and obviously the price.  It looks like we will be doing it on Friday next, but I could not believe how big the place is.  Obviously we didn't stay too long there today, so we will fill in the blanks at a later date, after our visit.

From there we high tailed it down to the Kennedy Space Center.

The Hall's hit NASA with another flattering photo!!!!

"Houston we have a problem"   one of our rockets is facing the wrong way.  


         I had not been overly enthusiastic about visiting here, I thought it would be a tad too technical for me, but it was fantastic.

We think his name was Robbie from Lost in Space. Old age is a wonderful excuse!

There was obviously the lighter side and then it got a bit more serious. We then had to catch a bus to the next part of the tour.
We were talked, and shown through, the space program and the next photo is apparently of the actual control room used for the rocket launches.

You can just see it on the top left hand side, the large TV, this showed film from the day when it was all live in this control room..

We were played the film of the actual take off of Apollo 8, the first successful mission into space by the Americans.  I was totally gobsmacked.  Both of us were.  I actually came back to reality to realize that my chin had dropped by three inches and I had a tear in my eye, like I was watching it for the very first time.  Ray wasn't much better.  We left that bit of the tour in total silence.
The next part was the hanger holding all actual sized parts of the rocket.  It is totally awesome, I have no idea how some people, sat in a room and worked and invented this all out, it is completely beyond my comprehension.
The rocket thrusters for the first bit of the rocket to be disengaged.

The last bit to be dis engaged.
We then went into another theater for the actual landing on the moon by Apollo 11.  I was living in Berlin in Germany at the time, (my Dad was in the Army) and we had mainly American TV, although this was on every channel world wide, and I was lucky enough to be taken to see the actual capsule that landed in the Pacific Ocean as it toured around the World,   but I had no idea, as a child what I was witnessing or the problems that the astronauts went through, or their bravery. Ray remembers being in Cornwall on holiday.

The moon buggy (Lunar Excursion Module) flown by Neil Armstrong and landed on the moon, after one or two problems with the calculations.  He had only practiced in the desert before and a simplified one of those, he had to eject before the buggy crashed and burned, 
EDIT - (Ray). To get this in perspective, firstly his computers failed so it was all to manual. Neil Armstrong was flying a vertical landing machine that had never been tested, mainly due to gravity on Earth being 5 times greater. The LEM came in too early and had to be hovered a lot longer than planned to allow it to clear a field of rocks. On landing he only had about 30 seconds of fuel remaining. This man gave new meaning to the word 'Cool'.

The Lunar buggy in the display and telling of the problems during the landing on the moon

Mock up of Armstrong on the moon, again this was accompanied by actual footage on a tv screen.

It was a very moving and interesting experience, and all inside a massive hanger.
On our return to the present day, we got in the queue for the bus back to the main center and were greeted by another massive thunderstorm.  The bus driver could hardly see the road and the thunder and lightning was all around.  They don't do things in halves round here.  Unfortunately, we had left all our motor cycle jackets and helmets attached to the bike, Ray had a puddle in his helmet and because all our vents on the jackets were open, we had very soggy jackets. Luckily it was tropical heat and we dried up pretty swiftly.
We hadn't fully decided what our next move was, we have booked a hotel in Orlando for tomorrow for a week, so we took our chances on them letting us in a day early.
As we were driving away for The Space Center, there are waterways at the side of the road.  Having watched the video on the bus, I said to Ray, do you think there are alligators in there, to which he replied, Yes look, there's one.

He then made me get off the bike to get it's photo.  I didn't get as close as he did, when he finally joined me.

 We rode the next 60 odd miles into Orlando, and the hotel have changed our booking.  We are now armed with tickets for several attractions, and after this week we will probably need the next 2 off to recover.

Ray announced our arrival the the Ramada Gateway in style.  All the limo's had to pull up behind Wallace!!!!!!!

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