Florida Guide > Miscellaneous
I remember when I was young, the USA started their space program, first of all unmanned space craft working up to putting a man on the moon, I dreamt of visiting, but it was out of my families reach, so on my first trip to Florida, one of the attractions that I definitely wanted to visit was NASA.
We pulled into the car park after an easy 50-minute trip and waited for the bus to arrive to take us on to the start of the tour, eventually the bus arrived and the driver started his narrative as we travelled on deeper into NASA. The size of the place really hits home when the driver tells you that in one of the stripes on the stars and stripes flag on the multi storey building, you could get 32 of the buses that we were on, end on end. On we went until we stopped outside of a building were the tour really starts, inside of the building is a mock up of mission control and the show starts. Radio controllers voices start the countdown, the engines of a Saturn rocket start up and the building shakes and windows rattle, as each station carries out it’s checks and commands, a spotlight lights over the place where they would sit and the rocket lifts off and as it does, the noise and vibration gradually disappear. Our host tells us that this is a mock up of what really used to happen in mission control, when the rocket was being launched several miles away.
We file out to the bus which takes us on to one of the observation towers, this one is right alongside the track which the vehicle that takes the shuttle out to it’s launch site travels at 3 miles per hour, and you stand on the observation tower and look onto the distant launch pad, imagining what is going through the astronauts mind as they wait to lift off, not knowing whether this will be the last time they see their friends, relatives and the earth again. It’s a sobering moment and most visitors stay their for a while, lost in their own private thoughts.
On you go to yet another building, you file inside with the rest of the people not knowing what is inside, through the doors to be astounded at what meets you, It’s a Saturn rocket, the size of it is absolutely amazing, the five engines, each as big as a house that power it from the earths gravitational pull, along the whole length to the tiny capsule that you wonder how they fit a man in. Carrying on around the room looking at the interesting facts and figures and touching the piece of moon rock on show and finally going outside to the memorial and remembering the astronauts who died doing their duty.
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