Kennedy Space Center
One of the highlights of this winter's stay in Flagler Beach was a side trip down to Cape Canaveral for a tour of the Kennedy Space Center and the 7 Feb 2008 launch of the shuttle Atlantis (STS-122). We can highly recommend the Space Center, and one should really allow at least two days to cover everything. Tickets do allow for a second day's visit within 7 days of your first visit.
A newer part of the Visitors Center is the Astronauts Hall of Fame, located just before the causeway out to Merritt Island and the main Visitors Center. Admission is included as part of the Kennedy Space Center Ticket.
|This is the Vertical Assembly Building. Over 500' tall, it is where the various components of a shuttle launch are mated before being being moved out to the launchpad.|
|A giant crawler carries the assembled shuttle from the VAB to the launch pad. Weighing 6 million tons and capable of carrying 12 million tons, the crawler takes 5 hours to make the 3.5 mile trip. The transporter is powered by two 2,750-horsepower diesel engines. The hydraulic system includes 16 jacking, equalizing and leveling cylinders, which keep the crawler's surface level at all times, even as it climbs the small hill to the pad. For more information on the crawler, click here.|
|The crawler travels along this double-laned gravel road. This is the junction where the road goes out to Launch Complex 39-A (to the right) and LC-39-B ahead in the distance. Now only LC 39-A is used for shuttle launches.|
|Shuttle Atlantis is sitting on launch pad 39-A, poised for a launch in 24 hours. Click here to see our pictures of the 7 Feb 2008 launch.|
|One of the stops on the tour is the Gemini/Apollo Museum. This is the actual control room used during the Apollo series of launches to the moon.|
|The business end of the Saturn V rocket, the foundation of the Apollo launch system. You can see how large those rockets are by comparing to the people below.|
|Here is the lunar lander.|
|A lunar rover.|
|The shuttle Explorer.|
|A great experience is the Shuttle Launch Simulation Facility, which takes visitors through a simulated shuttle launch.|
|This is the cargo bay of shuttle Explorer. The cargo is a Hughes communication satellite. The white tube on the right is the robotic arm.|