Florida - 12 to 17 October 2008

OK. Florida was very warm compared to Ohio.. Chris and Tina met me at the Orlando Airport (2825'50.75"N, 8118'28.81"W). That day, I got into so much trouble by Tina, I thought I would be sent home! We went grocery shopping. At the checkout, Tina remembered that she had forgotten something. So while she was away procuring the item, I paid for all the groceries. Hey! I wasn't going to stay for free!!  When Tina came back and saw me waiting patiently next to the trolleys, her face, well, let's just say that if I ever see a look like that again, it'll be too soon!

On the 13th, Tina took me to a beach that has the fence line for NASA on it. This is as far as the public can go down this beach (2838'37.87"N, 8037'26.26"W) (for those who do not know, NASA is on the east coast of Florida right along the beach). Here I was able to get this photo of Space Shuttle Atlantis on pad 39B, though not that clear as the day was not the best..

The next day, this geek went to NASA!

At NASA, there is a bus tour which takes you to 3 sites. The first one is the LC39 Observation Gantry.

On the way there though, we drove past the huge Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) I was right here (2834'53.74"N, 8039'9.86"W) when I took the following photo.

The Space Shuttles are transported to the launch pads along a huge track which is visible from orbit. Approx (2835'13.76"N, 8038'37.75"W)

At the LC39 Observation Gantry  (2835'44.73"N, 8037'3.59"W),

There is a Space Shuttle Main Engine which was used on Challenger's maiden flight. It was also used on Shuttle Discovery to launch the Hubble Space Telescope, Gamma Ray Observatory and 13 satellites missions. It had a busy life. Now, it is lifeless, but a great exhibit to the public.

I got this picture of Space Shuttle Endeavour at launch pad 39A.

The next stop on our tour was the Apollo/Saturn V Center. (2836'19.64"N, 8040'10.40"W). Here, there is a real Saturn V rocket which has been restored and put on public display. The size of the rocket is staggering.

And this gives you a better perspective. Each of the 5 engines on the Saturn V dwarf even someone as big as I am.

The Apollo mission most people remember is Apollo 11. This is the mission where Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon in July 1969.

Tina and I had lunch in the restaurant under a mock Lunar Lander.

Tina and I.

Yeah well... We had to! OK, so, get over it!

IN the centre, there is a piece of real moon rock for the public to touch. Though one wonders if you are touching the rock, or a million fingerprints?

Next stop was the International Space Station Assembley building. Here, you can watch the technicians building parts of the Space Station which will actually be going up into orbit as part of the station. The tour guide did request no flash photos be taken in the viewing area where they build the components. But in the public display area, no problems.

A few days later, we returned to the Kennedy Space Center to complete our tour. How I would LOVE a model of the Space Shuttle like this one :)

The Astronaut Memorial is dedicated to those astronauts who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the American Space Program.

The dedication stone.

And plaque.

The Kennedy Space Centre has an Astrological Ball. This ball weighs in at maybe 3 tons, yet, it floats on water and can be turned, stopped, rolled.. It is quite an exhibit.

After all the nerdy stuff for me was over, I had a day off where Chris took me for a tour of his workplace. A power station. (2829'34.57"N, 8046'48.46"W). It was interesting to have a look around here, we all take power for granted. The amount of work to just keep one of these places going..

On my last full day in Florida, Tina and I went on a "Airboat" ride. (2842'57.85"N, 81 2'7.49"W) These are the ones with the huge fan on the back and goes over everything. You know the ones..  We were lookin for "Gators"

Tina was just enjoying the sun I think!

Here we are, back safe and sound.

 

Then on the 17th, I headed back to Ohio. MANY thanks to Chris

Tina

Owen

and Hanna

for a great week.

The only disappointment I had was that Rick was working and I did not get a chance to meet a good friend.

However, I am planning another trip.. More on that later..

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