March 20

Village Marina, Cocoa, Florida.

Causeway bridge
Under the causeway bridge

Nice smaller marina, with nice town 2 blocks up. No grocery stores for 2 miles though, so we either rent a car or do without until the next stop. I have enough milk for tomorrow’s cereal, some crackers and cheese, lettuce, and eggs. We’re forced to eat out…dang.

Approaching the marina

Had delicious Corned Beef and Cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day at Ryan’s rooftop dining overlooking the harbor. Great fun.

Ryan’s roof top dining for St. Patty’s
Roof top dining

Roof top dining looking back at Panacea in the marina

Much strong wind has rocked the boat, throwing us off our feet. It gets old.

Don’s daughter, Sarah K. and her family came for a visit, taking us to the Kennedy Space Center; the only spot in the United States from which humans have been hurled into space. It was amazing. Our hearts jumped into our throats during the many patriotic presentations.

The  Vehicle Assembly Building is one of the largest buildings in the world.  There are 4 High Bay doors. Each opening is 456 ft.  high and  each panel in those accordion type vertical bay doors weighs 38 tons.The Statue of Liberty can be housed in ONE of the bays with over 100 feet of free space above her. The VAB is 525 ft. high, the Statue of Liberty is 305 ft. The magnitude and scope of size is beyond description. In our excitement we took way too many photos; pictures cannot capture the immensity of this place. It is truly astonishing.

Vehicle Assembly Building
Rocket on Crawler
Rocket on Crawler at the VAB
Shuttle in VAB

 

From the start of space exploration to current and ongoing missions, we had an up-close, hands-on feel for the story of humans in space. We stood in awe of an American icon at the permanent home of the actual space shuttle Atlantis on display.

Actual Atlantis split open for our view

Behind Joan is the rocket booster that carries the Shuttles.

A shuttle bus took us on a 40 minute drive around the entire complex where we saw the launch site and the equipment developed to carry the rocket to the launch sites, the arms that hold them in vertical position, and the enormous buildings where the rockets are built. I’m at a loss to describe the scale of all this equipment. For instance the “Crawler-Trasnporter” machine that carries the rockets to the launch pad burns 38 gallons every 2 feet. It travels slowly on rock strips made from Tennessee River Rock that do not spark!  Good plan. It straddles a grass strip with its tracks and crawls to the launch pad. It weighs 6 million pounds, is 131 ft. wide and 114 ft. long.

The Crawler-Transporter
The Crawler Road

Rocket Garden, which is an awe-inspiring collection of engine replicas, full-size Titan rockets, spacecraft and scale models, and the 363 ft. Apollo Saturn 1B rocket.

After dark back at our marina, we witnessed a SpaceX launch across the harbor. Spectacular!!! We monitored the launch from their website right up liftoff…5, 4, 3, 2, 1…there was a magnificent glow on the horizon and then a visual of the actual rocket climbing into the sky toward us and then it was overhead followed by a thunderous ROAR as it drove deeper into space followed by flaming fire underneath. Ohhhhhhhh, we will never forget it. Impossible to film without proper equipment, we simply enjoyed every second. This successful launch will connect with the International Space Station for reprovisioning; you may remember a previous launch of this kind failed.

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s