Day 14

Thursday 29th April 1999

Kissimmee

Awoke this morning to the sounds of sirens in the distance, they seem to be a regular feature in this part of Florida, probably because the 192 is the main road through Kissimmee.

Beeline Express

The weather looked promising today, so we set off east along the 528 Beeline Express towards Cape Canaveral. This road is one of many toll roads in the area, and before we’d even left Orlando we paid $3 at three different booths. Still the road was direct and you could drive at 70mph (this is the fastest speed I’ve seen so far in America). The space center is about fifty miles east of Orlando and took us about an hour to make the journey

Kennedy Space Center

The entrance fee cost us $95 which gave us a bus tour of three sites within the area and two IMAX shows. The KSC is set in a vast piece of land which co-exists with a wildlife sanctuary and we saw ‘Bald Eagles’, turtles and aligators (yes, live ones in the water).

One of the bus drivers said that they are unpaid security guards really.

Our first stop was the Apollo/Saturn V area, but not before driving past an enormous building which is used to prepare the space shuttle for launch.

On arrival at the Apollo building we were shown a short film about the early missions before the launch that took man to the moon.

We then watched the countdown of Apollo 11 using some of the original instrument panels and film footage.

We then moved into a vast hanger like building housing an actual Saturn V rocket, and it is not until you are up close you realise how big it is!

We watched another presentation showing Neil Armstrong’s landing and then had some lunch before re-boarding the bus to the next area.

LS39 was a platform approximately one and a half miles from the launch pads used for the Apollo missions and now the space shuttle.

There was actually a space shuttle on one of the pads ready for launch on the 20th May 1999.

We then took the bus to the third area detailing the work on the ‘International Space Station’, and saw various mock up modules from different nations.

We rode back to the visitors center and then went in the space shuttle that is permanently on display, before watching an IMAX film showing the work of the space shuttle.

This film certainly brought home how small we all are compared to the earth, and how lucky the few astronauts are to have flown in space.

Kissimmee

We drove back to Kissimmee, had a dinner at the Ponderosa restaurant and then took another short walk around the ‘Old Town’. Abby spotted someone putting hair wraps in and asked to have one, and threw a right strop when told no!. Looks like tomorrow we’ll have to find somewhere that does them to keep her happy. It never ends.