We got up this morning and decided to skip McDonalds and go directly to Kennedy Space Center.

The first stop was at the “Liberty Bell 7” exhibit. This is the Mercury capsule that was flown by Gus Grissom and was lost in the ocean for 38 years after it was not able to be retrieved upon splash down. It was recovered and is now on a Discovery Channel traveling display. This is the first ship that was flown in space that is not owned by NASA or the Smithsonian. The ownership has been transferred to the organization that restored it. It is no longer owned by NASA…












The following is a poster remembering all three lost space craft and their crews.


We then went over to the astronaut remembrance wall. This wall is constructed in such a way that the light from the sun will pass through the etched names and reflect the clouds so that it appears their names are floating among the clouds.



A full scale mock-up of the discovery shuttle is available for guests to walk into and allows viewing of the various compartments that the crew members work in.


There is a launch status building next to the shuttle mock-up where current shuttle and rocket launch information is available. There is a shuttle launch scheduled for August 28th and a rocket scheduled to launch on August 1st. We saw the rocket on the launch pad yesterday it is currently being fitted with rocket boosters.


We then went and had lunch with astronaut Charlie Walker. We had chicken, rice, salad, vegetable medley, mini corn dogs, mac-n-cheese, and desert (I had cheesecake, he had red velvet cake).



While we were eating, Mr. Walker spoke to all of us. There is a lot of information about him that we have, but one thing that stands out is that he was the first astronaut from the private sector. He worked for McDonall Douglas and has gone up in space as a mission specialist 3 times.



After lunch we took the “NASA up close” tour. One of the buildings we saw was the largest washer and dryer in the world. This building is used to wash and dry the parachute for the external rocket boosters and the space shuttle. They are then examined for any damages and repaired in this building if needed. After that they are laid out on a large table and refolded for the next launch.


This building is called the “Astronaut’s Holiday Inn.” According to the astronauts it is not much of a Holiday Inn. However, they stay here 3 days before the launch, and are brought back here after they return for medical check out. The red circle is where they come out and get into the Air-stream van (You may have seen this on TV) and take their 9 mile ride out to the launch pad. The blue square is a door that is on the second level with no stairs. This is where they are brought back from the shuttle on stretchers and are taken directly to the clinic. They are not allowed to sit-up until they are medically checked out and adjust to the earth’s gravity.


These are pictures of Launch Pad 39B. Between Launch Pad 39A and 39B there have been 115 shuttle launches and some Apollo launches, including Neil’s, went up from this launch pads as well. However, Launch Pad B was where the Challenger went up from on its final flight, John Glenn went up at age 77, and the last launch on July 4 of this year went up from.



This is a picture of Launch Pad 39A. This is where STS-107 (Columbia) launched and had its fatal foam problem during take-off.


This is a close-up of Launch Pad 39B.


This is the count-down clock and time elapsed clock that you see on TV.


This is a picture of the vehicle assembly building. You can see the damage it received during hurricanes in 2004.



These are the buildings that house the shuttles. Now that there are only 3 remaining they each have their own building. They used to switch off.


This is the control tower for Kennedy’s landing strip.


This is also where the shuttle lands, either after the launch or when it comes back on the 747.



We then went back to the International Space Station Center and Shawn brought the video camera so that we can take pictures to show the space station modules that are going up to ISS.

After we left Kennedy we hit a tremendous rain storm. We finally made it back to our room and ordered Domino’s Pizza. After the rain stopped we walked over to Ron Jon’s Surf Shop to do some shopping (Florida was a tax free purchase week).