Kevin Lowey > Orlando Vacation > Kennedy Space Center

Kennedy Space Center

The Kennedy Space Center is where all the manned space missions are launched. Just south of it is an unmanned missle range where satellites are launched.

The Vehicle Assembly Building. This is where they used to stack together the stages for the Saturn V rockets, and where they now mate the space shuttle to the external tank and boosters. To put the building's size in perspective, one of the stripes on the US Flag is wide enough for the tour bus I was riding in to drive down.

Launch Complex 39, Pad A. This is the launch pad that Apollo 11 launched from. There are two launch pads (A and B) that they alternate between for shuttle launches. The small white globe to the left is where liquid oxygen is stored. The two gravel "roads" are actually one road for the huge crawler that takes the launch vehicle to the pad at 1 mph.

This is the actual launch control used for the Apollo missions. They disassembled it, and then reassembled it in the Apollo Saturn V exhibit. It simulates the last few minutes of coundown for an Apollo launch, complete with the sound of the launch, the windows shaking, etc.

These are the engines at the base of the Saturn V rocket. This particular rocket has been completely restored to Smithsonian Institution restoration standards. In theory, they could fill up the tanks and launch it.

This is a view of the Saturn V booster from the front. The whole thing is suspended from the ceiling, with all the stages separated so you can see inside. There's also a cut-away model that shows how the whole thing looks inside.

This is the Shuttle external tank and booster in the Shuttle exhibit at the main visitor complex. They decided to stop painting the external tank white. By not painting it, they saved 600 pounds of weight that could go into the payload. Apparantly the side boosers here are fake, but the external tank itself is a real one.

This is their mockup of the space shuttle, called "Explorer". On the other side you can walk into it on two levels to see the cargo bay, crew compartment, and flight deck.

This is outside the visitor complex. It shows all the different boosters used in the man spaced flight program before the shuttle.

Here's a map of the area, showing the visitor center, tour bus routes, etc.