Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Space Geek Does Florida

Greetings once again from sunny Florida! I still cannot get over how beautiful the weather is. While most of you in the northern hemisphere are various shades of freezing, I am experiencing weather that is perfect for walking along the beach eating ice cream cones, and have been taking advantage of it to do exactly that.

Or at least, that's the sort of thing I've been doing when I'm not busy getting my space geek on. Which I have been doing a lot. We spent the better part of two days at Kennedy Space Center, and if you ever have a chance to go, I recommend it. On Monday, we went to the visitor's center and did the free bus tour. The highlight for me was the museum in which they have an entire Saturn V rocket. This is the machine that launched the manned flights to the moon, and it is staggeringly, impressively huge. I swear, being in the same room with that thing may be as close as I come to a spiritual experience. They also have a lot of other exhibits and interesting stuff there, including regular talks by astronauts. The day we were there, the featured speaker was Jerry Carr, commander of one of the Skylab crews. Which pleased me, because Skylab is an interesting piece of US Space history, but it's one that's too often entirely forgotten (or if it's remembered at all, it's only for scattering bits of debris across Australia when the station re-entered the atmosphere and burned up at the end of its life).

And then today, a friend of my dad's who works up there gave us a tour. We drove around to see various launchpads, both currently active and historical. At one point we drove directly underneath the pad where the space shuttle used to launch. And I got to stand on the exact spot where Alan Shepard took off on his first flight, a fact about which I can communicate only by lapsing into incoherent fangirl mode, so: SQUUUUUUUUEEEEEE! *ahem* They have a full-sized replica of his Mercury-Redstone rocket there now, which was pretty spiffy. (At some point there will be pictures of this sort of thing, but not until I get home and get them off my camera.) We also visited the site of the Apollo 1 fire, which was more sobering, but, wow, of all the places I never imagined I'd be standing...

So, yes, Space Geek Girl was very satisfied. The only thing I regret is that I was here a few months too early to see the shuttle Atlantis in its new home. The orbiter is here, but it's not yet ready to meet its adoring public, as they're still getting it set up and getting the building that houses it finished. Of course, it would have been even nicer to be here to watch one of them launch. Ah, well. Eventually, there will spaceships taking off in New Mexico...

6 comments:

  1. Wow jealous so glad Dad was able to arrange that

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    1. That was his enticement to get me to finally get around to arranging a visit. :)

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  2. I'm jealous, too. I envy you this trip more than your Hawaii one! Look forward to seeing the pictures, and thanks for sharing. :)

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    1. You're welcome! By the way, did you know they have Wawa in Florida now?

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    1. I had a hoagie! Alas, the roll wasn't quite right, but otherwise, it was a Wawa hoagie. They had Herr's potato chips, too. And Tastycakes.

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