Kennedy Space Center… a great day out!

 Launch Time

At the end of last week I was fortunate enough to take a day out of the office to visit Kennedy Space Center. It had been around 14 years since I last went and the memories of that visit were still pretty strong… as I walked away all those years ago I was struck by man’s awesome achievements and the sacrifices that some people had made in order for the world to become a better place to live in.

Today’s world bears no real resemblance to the world back in 1958 when Project Mercury, the first man in space program, began. Since then we have seen Project Gemini, Apollo-Soyuz and the Space Shuttle programs and all of them have helped bring about a world where man can communicate faster and easier than before.

 Of course, faster and better communication is just one of the benefits of our visits to space but there are others such as a better understanding of planet Earth and significant benefits in regard to health, education and science.

If you consider the space program gets approximately 1% of the US budget and that it returns $2 for every $1 then it’s also good value. One example of that value is the fuel cells that were developed to support the space program… these same cells are now being developed to be used in family cars… yes, the day will come when we run out of petroleum. 

There are some people who argue that the $17 billion spent on NASA is a waste of money but I can’t wear that argument. If you consider the hundreds of billions spent on national defence, health and social security etc then you get a better understanding of the situation. If I then said that there is more money spent on building brand new weapons than NASA gets then you really do see that the space program is a “no brainer”.

Consider then that space research led to all kinds of improvements for mankind in terms of the advances in computers, computer technology, satellite TV, medical technology, weather forecasts, global communication, knowledge of Earth’s resources, space research, etc… anyone now wondering why we haven’t spent more on this considering all that has been achieved so far? I know I am.

 Discovery being prepared

But I digress… back to my day out. Today’s Kennedy Space Center is completely different to the one I visited before. There are new buildings, new exhibits and it is a much better organised day out. In the past you had the choice of two bus tours but today there is just one but it takes you to see everything you ever wanted to see.

On the tour there are three stops; the observation deck where you can look out at launch pads LC 39A and LC 39B and if you are lucky, as I was, you may actually see a shuttle being prepped ready for launch… Discovery launches at 5.02 EDT on May 31. The next stop is at the International Space Center building where you can see modules being prepared as they are prepared for launch. The final stop is the Apollo / Saturn V Center and this is a huge building housing the biggest rocket ever made… the mighty Saturn V.

The tour is extremely interesting and on the way you will pass by the huge Vehicle Assembly Building, the landing site for the shuttles, the crawlers and the crawler path leading to the launch sites and of course, being Florida, you’ll get to see a lot of nature on the way… sightings of aligators, eagles and other birds are all part of the experience.

Once back at NASA Central you’ll then have the chance to enjoy 2 IMAX 3-D movies … if you can do both, they’re fantastic, to ride the shuttle launch experience… yes, you can live the experience of astronaut crews as they launch to space, to visit the space garden with the rockets of Mercury, Gemini and Apollo and to meet with a real astronaut at Astronaut Encounter.

On my day I was lucky enough to meet and share a few moments with Bob Springer. Bob has been on two shuttle missions… Discovery 1989 and Atlantis 1990.

Bob Spinger and Nigel Worrall

All in all, a really great day out but it wasn’t finished there as entry to the park also allows entry to the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame… click here for more

3 Responses to Kennedy Space Center… a great day out!

  1. Pingback: Leisure … more than a word, it’s a lifestyle » Space Shuttle Discovery visits Cumbrian Lakes again

  2. thans for the tip

    May 13, 2009 at 7:49 pm

  3. I read your blog in a regular manner, and your way of writing is just awesome.
    Please keep going, smile
    your sierra

    Sierra Skye
    May 16, 2009 at 1:30 am

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