Now on to yesterday. We spent the day at the Kennedy Space Center, also known as KSC by the people who work there. Lots to see at the Space Center and I think we saw it all.
I thought this sign was pretty clever.
As Dan looked out one of the windows, he said, "That's a Bomarc out there." Of course, we had to go look at it. Just like the Link Trainer story, I've heard stories of his time at The Cape working on the Bomarc, but never knew what a Bomarc missile looked like. But I soon found out. Sixty-seven Bomarcs were launched from Cape Canaveral between September 10, 1952 and April 16, 1960. Dan worked on the refrigeration portion of this missile.
Our guide pointed out this mural of Alan Shephard on the side of the blockhouse. He was the first American in Space, May 5, 1961. Check out the expression on his face and his eyes. This picture was taken after he had been in the capsule for four hours prior to launch. I can't even imagine what he must have been thinking.
Our tour of Cape Canaveral ended at Launch Complex 34 where Astronauts, Virgil "Gus" Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee lost their lives on January 27, 1967 as they were doing a test run on the pad for Apollo 1. From the time the fire broke out until they died, was 17 seconds. 100% oxygen is pumped into the capsule, so when the fire started they didn't have a chance to get out.
Our guide talked about the many rocket and missile launches from the Cape which never made it off the ground and the years of research and training that go into each launch. And the changes that are made based on each previous experience. Dan has also spoken of the various missile launches that were attempted and never made it off the ground, but until you've stood where these men died, you don't really appreciate what has gone into our space program.
On a lighter note, this lighthouse has been on Cape Canaveral since the 1800's. Dan remembers comments from the servicemen wondering if the lighthouse had been launched. But it was still there. Our guide also commented that people still ask when the lighthouse will be launched. :)
And an explanation of Cape Canaveral and Cape Kennedy, in case you wondered. The Kennedy Space Center is owned and operated by NASA. Cape Canaveral Air Force Station was renamed Cape Kennedy after President Kennedy's death. The name change caused such confusion that the Air Force Station name was changed back to Cape Canaveral about 10 years later in the early 70's. People still ask to see Cape Kennedy. :)
We're beginning to get "hitch-itch" so we'll probably be moving on in a couple of days. We'll be starting back toward Illinois, but will take 2-3 weeks to get there, so hopefully the ice and snow will be gone. Stay tuned for where we land next.
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