Kennedy Space Center – January 2012

The cruise ship stopped for one day in Port Canaveral, Florida. I wish it had stayed for three or four days, because there were so many options in terms of major tourist attracts. Disney World, MGM Studios, the Seaworld, the Kennedy Space Center. I had no solid plans, but found a crew member who didn’t have the right visa to leave the ship, and he sold me his tour ticket for the Kennedy Space Center.

And, being a total geek about space travel, and science fiction, visiting Cape Canaveral and seeing the NASA hardware up close is a life-long goal. I had a lot of fun, despite the jet lag, and learned a lot. Actually, I didn’t learn a whole lot of new stuff, but being there put everything I already knew into context in a way that reading and watching and listening about it can never match.

Kennedy Space Center

Kennedy Space Center: First feature: 3D IMAX movie about building the ISS. I love these goggles.

First feature: 3D IMAX movie about building the ISS. I love these goggles.

Kennedy Space Center: Next: a bus tour around the launch pads and Vehicle Assembly Building.

Next: a bus tour around the launch pads and Vehicle Assembly Building.

Kennedy Space Center: Fuel for rockets.

Fuel for rockets.

Kennedy Space Center: The launch pad for all the Apollo missions and half the Shuttle missions.

The launch pad for all the Apollo missions and half the Shuttle missions.

Kennedy Space Center: An old model of a Shuttle Orbiter, moved to make room for a real Orbiter in the Kennedy Space Center visitor center.

An old model of a Shuttle Orbiter, moved to make room for a real Orbiter in the Kennedy Space Center visitor center.

Kennedy Space Center: Alligators!

Alligators!

Kennedy Space Center: Saturn V rocket.

Saturn V rocket.

Kennedy Space Center: This thing is waaaaay bigger than I ever imagined.

This thing is waaaaay bigger than I ever imagined.

Kennedy Space Center: Big. Very big.

Big. Very big.

Kennedy Space Center: Self portrait at the Saturn V.

Self portrait at the Saturn V.

Kennedy Space Center: Space bus!

Space bus!

Kennedy Space Center: Apollo 8 rentry capsule.

Apollo 8 rentry capsule.

Kennedy Space Center: Introduction to the space race.

Introduction to the space race.

Kennedy Space Center: The real Apollo space launch command center, now transplanted to the Saturn V visitor center.

The real Apollo space launch command center, now transplanted to the Saturn V visitor center.

Kennedy Space Center: Our guide, Armand.

Our guide, Armand.

Kennedy Space Center: Saturn I computer controls.

Saturn I computer controls.

Kennedy Space Center: A controlled bush burn got out of control, so we had to take the long route back to the visitor center.

A controlled bush burn got out of control, so we had to take the long route back to the visitor center.

Kennedy Space Center: Another tour guide, Tom.

Another tour guide, Tom.

Kennedy Space Center: Shuttle Launch Simulator. This is pretty much a box that shakes you about a lot, but in a very clever way. This is an iPhone photo as you aren't allowed to take large objects like bags or cameras inside.

Shuttle Launch Simulator. This is pretty much a box that shakes you about a lot, but in a very clever way. This is an iPhone photo as you aren’t allowed to take large objects like bags or cameras inside.

Kennedy Space Center: Rocket garden.

Rocket garden.

Kennedy Space Center: Saturn V engine. Just one engine had more power than all three Shuttle engines. And the Saturn V had FIVE of them.

Saturn V engine. Just one engine had more power than all three Shuttle engines. And the Saturn V had FIVE of them.

Kennedy Space Center: Rocket garden.

Rocket garden.

Kennedy Space Center: The Murcury capsule and the Moon.

The Murcury capsule and the Moon.

Kennedy Space Center: The Moon and the Murcury capsule.

The Moon and the Murcury capsule.

Kennedy Space Center: Visitor center entrance with bush fire smoke behind.

Visitor center entrance with bush fire smoke behind.