Monday, April 04, 2011

Space Coast: The Final Frontier

On Saturday I took my family to the Kennedy Space Center to check out the space guys doing space guy things.

One of the major features of the Cape Canaveral landscape is the Vehicle Assembly Building. The VAB is where the Apollo rockets, and now the Space Shuttle is assembled.  

 This is the largest single storey building in the world.  The Saturn 5 rocket, the rocket that sent astronauts to the moon, stood upright in this building (think 2 Statue Of Liberties stacked on top of each other).  The flag on the side of the building is the largest US flag in the world, and I can fit my house in that space over 9 times.  It is larger than The Empire State Building by volume.  The building can be seen for miles.

The Space Shuttle Endeavour was on the launchpad, being prepped for its launch on April 19th from launchpad 39A. It is really awesome seeing something that will literally go into space sitting around waiting for its journey. 

The shuttle is encased in a protective cover that will be removed 3 days before launch.  At that time the final preparations will be made, and the shuttle will launch into orbit.  There have been 133 shuttle missions so far, and sadly only a few more left. 

The Kennedy Space Center has a huge amount of American space history, including many rockets in the Rocket Garden.  There is also a full scale Saturn 5 rocket, the largest rocket and most complex vehicle ever made by man.  The size of this rocket is absolutely huge: 363ft long, 33ft wide.

Strangely one of the more remarkable things at the Kennedy Space Center is a full scale replica of the Mars Rovers made out of Lego.  The detail on this model is impressive and puts my model to shame.

It was truly amazing to spend some time exploring the Kennedy Space Center.  Man was meant to be explorers, and the history that has occurred is the very definition of putting human destiny into action.  One small step for man may have happened on the moon, but it started here.  NASA has not been the only group to send people into space, but they have definitely been a centerpiece of our efforts to spread our wings and reach for the stars.