Saturday, April 13, 2013

Kennedy Space Center (KSC)

Melbourne, FL

Entrance to Visitor Complex
Over the past few days we had a chance to visit the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) on Merritt Island, FL.  We had toured there about 20 years ago and the tour and complex have changed quite a bit since then.  The basic ticket allows entrance to the Visitor Complex and a bus tour of certain areas of the space center. The Visitor Complex includes the Rocket Garden,
Rocket Garden
two IMAX theater presentations, the Astronaut Memorial, exhibits on Early Space Exploration, a Shuttle Launch Experience "ride", the Astronaut Encounter, and a trip to the nearby Astronaut Hall of Fame.  The Astronaut Hall of Fame may be visited on a separate day within 7 days of the ticket's first use.




 If all of this seems like a lot to do in one day you'd be correct.  The Visitor Complex is open currently from 9-5 each day and the Astronaut Hall of Fame from noon-5 each day.  We arrived shortly after 9 the first day and we were still unable to see everything in the Visitor Complex.  We came back on a second day to view the Astronaut Hall of Fame.

Part of the Visitor Complex tour includes a bus ride out to the Vehicle
Vehicle Assembly Building
Assembly Building.  The bus tour  is narrated, but the basic ticket does not include a stop at the VAB.  (I believe it did when we toured years ago.)  Much of this part of the tour includes a stop at the Apollo/Saturn V Center.  This was very interesting and chronicles the space program thru the years.  Whenever you choose to do so, you can re-board the bus for the ride back to the Visitor Complex.
Saturn V Rocket
Astronaut Transport Van
LC-39 Launch Pad

Upon arriving back at the Visitor Complex we attended a short Q&A seminar at the "Astronaut Encounter".
Past astronauts rotate speaking engagements here.  Our astronaut was Edward C. Gibson, part of the Skylab III mission.  This was the final Skylab mission and was the longest manned space flight at that time. Dr. Gibson was very interesting and his short talk was well worth attending.



The second day was spent at the Astronaut Hall of Fame.  Very interesting to learn about the early years of the space program up thru the space shuttles.  Emphasis at this complex is on the early years of the US space program.
We were somewhat disappointed to see a lack of more information on the space shuttle program and especially very little information on the loss of the Challenger (1986) and the Columbia (2003).



The complex is constantly changing and new exhibits being added.  This summer a huge addition will be the opening of an exhibit dedicated to the space shuttle Atlantis.  Atlantis was the last shuttle ever flown by NASA in July, 2011.  The space shuttle program was officially ended in August, 2011.
Future Mars
Astronaut?

We had a great visit to the Kennedy Space Center and would highly recommend it to anyone even remotely interested in the US space program and its' evolution thru the years.





Thanks for taking a look!

5 comments:

  1. We visited years ago and really enjoyed ourselves. Even nabbed some free tickets for a nighttime shuttle launch. It was disappointing when the launch got scrubbed at T- whatever the minute was.

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  2. It looks like a lot of interesting space things, and I think the future astronaut looks just like Karen.

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  3. We were there years ago and have always planned on going back. I'm sure it's changed a lot since then. Thanks for the tour.

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  4. I'm not sure but I think you might need a bigger fuel tank to drive your RV to Mars. ;c)

    I have to take my grandsons for the tour, they are fascinated by all things space and the Cape is just the place for them to learn.

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