Tuesday, 17 November 2009

I went to NASA…

I visited Kennedy Space Center last week. Unfortunately the Space Shuttle launch (STS 129) was delayed till this week, so I did not get a chance to attend, but I did go on the tour of the center and it was pretty impressive.

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The above ball is the 9 ton granite Constellation Sphere that floats on a film of water. It is surprisingly easy to move such a heavy object.

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That is the Space Shuttle Atlantis, sitting on its launch pad, ready for Mission STS 129. It is hard to get a feel for the scale of the launch pad, but if you look carefully, you will see a red blob that is actually a 4x4 pickup truck!

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The picture above is of the Crawler Transporter used to move the Space Shuttle from the large building in the background (Vehicle Assembly Building), to the launch pad, and moves at a speed of 1 mile per hour. It can take up to 5 hours to get the Space Shuttle from the VAB to the launch pad!!

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Many people don’t realise this, but the island (Merritt Island) on which Kennedy Space Center is located, is actually a wildlife refuge. Only 10% of the island is actually used for NASA / USAF, the rest is managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Along with alligators, one can find wild boar, buzzards, sea turtles, manatees and hundreds of other species.

This was my second time visiting NASA and for me it is a must see when I am in the area. It is a great day out for all the family and is not just for nerds and geeks!

I booked my trip through Gator Tours and was impressed with the service, in particular with the passion and knowledge for NASA that the coach driver displayed.

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