Sunday 15th November 2009
I had a disturbed sleep, waking on the hour until I eventually gave up at 3am and updated my diary. Texted Tina at 4.30am. Bored by 5am so got up and had a shower before my alarm going off at 5.40am.
Woke Matt up soon after the alarm went off and he quickly got dressed then we set off. The sat nav said we would arrive at 10.20am and progress was good. We started on the US1 heading up passed Homestead and Miami using the Florida Turnpike, which was a toll road. We stopped after two hours for some breakfast; Matt had a couple of donuts and I had a packet if crisps and coffee. We continued along the Turnpike feeding the tolls to the tune of $11 until we reached the 95. This was another great road, dual carriageway and good speed limits.
Shortly before getting off the 95 we stopped for a ‘restroom’ comfort break before heading towards the Kennedy Space Centre. Just before I drove back on the main road I was distracted and shot a red light at a junction; luckily the car coming across stopped in time. There was a good screech of my brakes though.
We found KSC easily and parked in the large car park. The centre was obviously busy as it was the day before launch, with many people there as VIP’s.
We boarded the bus to take us to LC-39 Observation Gantry, which was the closest point we could get to the shuttle launch pad. On the way we passed the large Vehicle Assembly Building where the shuttle is prepared for takeoff. This is also where the crawler transporter starts it’s journey at 1mph to the launch pad.
We climbed the tower and viewed the launch pad and although the shuttle was obscured by the tower you could just see the top of the booster rocket. We then watched a short video about the shuttle before hopping on another bus to the Apollo / Saturn V centre.
On arrival at the centre we were shown another video about the moon missions then a mock up of the Apollo 8 launch from the launch control. Moving into the main hall we came across the Saturn V rocket, with it’s five massive engines tapering down to the top where the command capsule was.
The International Space Station Centre is where they prepare the parts and spares for building the station, and although you can see people actually working on the modules it was all quiet today. There was also a full sized unit that you could walk through. We boarded the bus back to the Welcome Centre where we went on the Shuttle Launch Simulator. This was a ride which replicates what it is like on takeoff in a shuttle. The experience was really well done, I especially liked the feeling of weighlessnesscthey managed to recreate once in orbit. I also liked the way out which showed a plaque for every space shuttle including the two that blew up.
After getting a drink we viewed the space shuttle Explorer from inside before visiting around the Astronaut Memorial area. It was this part that Matt remembered, not because of the large mirror with names of those that perished in the search of discovery but because of the bridge where there were turtles and alligators!
We bought a few bits in the gift shop which meant we were entitled to a free gift of salt and pepper pots then we left for the hotel, stopping off to get some fuel first.
The Days Inn was easy to find and we checked in OK. Looks like I will be able to have breakfast tomorrow as they provide cereals along with juice and coffee.
We decided to go for dinner early again; we both fancied Mexican and managed to find acrestaurant about 10 miles from the hotel. We both had nachos and the fajitas. We stopped off at a supermarket to pick up some bits for lunch tomorrow before going back to the hotel.