Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Day 3 - Kennedy Space Center

A late start to this day. I let Delaney sleep in as he was feeling sick, and actually I slept in a bit as well. Tired after the travel and running around.

We got up and moving, heading to the KSC to see something before our second tour. There was an IMAX on flying to space, which was really neat. They looked at some of the things we'd need to do to get to Mars and it's eye opening. I hadn't expected some of those items.

Our tour was neat. Less time on the bus, and more in the LCC, Launch Control Center. That was pretty neat. We go to go into the LCC, where we were bracketed the entire time by two guards. They take the security seriously and I'm sure that plenty of people aren't thrilled that public tours go in there.

There's some history there, with original Apollo era consoles on display.

We went up to Firing room 4, which is usually a spare. It was next to #3, which was manned. Apparently as more commercial companies use the facility, they'll use #4.

It's kind of a bare bones room, with plaques dedicated to shuttle launches that have occurred there.

 The guide took a pic of Delaney and I in front of the launch director console.

Delaney saw that the clock was active. In fact, this is 5 hour ahead of the scheduled Falcon 9 launch for that night.

In the lobby are plaques with all the missions, from Apollo, to Skylab, to shuttles. The two lost shuttles have launch dates, but no landing dates.

We were right next to the VAB. Pictures don't it justice, and even in person the scale is off. That flag is 21 stories tall, 220+ ft.

At night, we had fingers crossed. Delaney and I ate dinner, then grabbed jackets and headed back to the Port Canaveral causeway where we parked by the side of the road. You can see our location here as we waited 30 minutes for the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch.

 The lights in the background, and dozens of cars parked near us. Everyone waiting and watching.

It was pretty cool. The video I shot doesn't do this justice. The launch was NE of us, about 5-6 miles away, and it was a good 20-30s before we heard sound.

We watched the light receed into the distance, then saw separation and the second stage burn. As we watched, we could see the second stage get smaller and dimmer. The first stage, eventually started back and we saw the initial burn.  I recorded some of that, but it's not much to see.  However I did record the landing.

Afterwards we headed back quickly, somewhat amazed. Delaney was very excited, and I understand why. It was an amazing event to witness. Historic, and also, I think, inspirational for Delaney.

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