This morning I was so excited to go, I woke up my kids by my typical dad 'squish'. I was kinder and gentler to my wife, but we were up and on the road by 8:20, which is a full two hours later than yesterday.
The drive took an hour to get there, but the whole thing was so relaxing. The whole center has a very relaxed feel to it. The rocket garden doesn't have an 'order' to it, and the area isn't in arranged to funnel you from one attraction to another.
We started out with the Future of space travel building. My sweetest moment was when Anna was viewing the next generation crew vehicle and said: "I'm gonna take that to Mars". She has it all planned out. when they start selecting astronaut candidates, she will be just the right age. That building was interesting but, not as cool as the rest of the day.
From there we visited the rocket garden where we all sat inside a mockup of an apollo capsule, and we saw each of the different rocket types that we strapped somebody on top of and launched down range. (the gemini rockets had ejection seats!).
From there we tried the Shuttle launch simulator, which was pretty cool. Especially how they simulate the G's on your body, by changing the 'squishyness' of your seat behind you.
From there we went to the early day's history building for lunch with Winston Scott. He flew two missions on the shuttle, both as a mission specialist. He got to do 3 EVA's and had some really exciting moments in space. Winston Scott was a real treat to meet and get to know. We did a photo op later, and I shook his hand. I didn't make it to the giftshop for an autographed copy of his book, but that's OK.
After lunch we finished the early years building, and then went on the bus tour, where we got to see Atlantis from about 30 feet away, while inside the vehicle assembly building. The Vehicle Assembly Building is HUGE. The statistics are staggering. It covers 8 acres, and is 528 feet tall. You can see it clearly from five miles away, and you think its only a mile or so. (Florida is that flat).
I also got to meet Terry White, (the white guy on the left). Terry was extremely interesting, as he was in charge of all 3 orbiters that were being reprocessed at a time during the 80's and 90's. I cannot tell you how much I would love to have him come over for dinner and tell stories, and share his experiences.
From there we went around the two launch pads (up to the fences), and then they dropped us off at the Saturn V facility. We went through a launch room that has the same hardware as the first saturn V launch facilities, with a simulated launch that even shook the windows behind us. Inside there is an unflown Saturn V rocket on its side. it was amazing to see how long the rocket really is. it just kept going and going and going.
We ate dinner next to the rocket, and underneath an actual lunar lander that would have flown, if they hadn't decided to redesign it to include the rover.
I could have stayed all day, but my kids were REALLY tired, as was Katie, and I didn't want anyone to get crabby at the end of such a nice day. The tickets were worth every penny we spent.
I need to sleep now, but this was a *good* day.