Kennedy Space Center Experience

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Kennedy Space Center Experience

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center … That´s the dream of many kids who want to be an astronaut one day … I was one of them a long time ago. That feeling followed me for some time until I was in college when I chose a different career – definitely something easier and less technical 🙂 . But still, I was always fascinated by stories of space crafts, astronauts and NASA. I watched movies, read books and tried to get as much information as possible to quench my thirst for aeronautics and aerospace knowledge.

 

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That time has passed but every now and then I still like learning something new on the subject. As we were in Florida I couldn´t miss the opportunity to visit the Kennedy Space Center and learn a bit more about NASA and its fascinating history, and boy – what a day!!

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I took my family in the hope that they would enjoy it just as much as me, especially Noah as our little guy said that he also wanted to see space ships.

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Family Travel Secret
This is advance warning about something you probably know when you come to visit some attractions in Orlando and its surroundings … Come early!!! If possible, come 15 minutes before the Kennedy Space Center opens its doors, not just because of the queues, which may be a reality during the summer, but also because you are going to need time. There are many things to do at the center and you want to make sure that you and your family enjoy each and every one of them.

 

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We arrived a bit late at nearly 11, no excuses, we just couldn´t imagine that we would need more time than that. Just before we entered, our contact at the Kennedy Space Center who was kind enough to provide tickets for us gave us some tips for squeezing the most out of our day.

 

The first thing we did was take the shuttle to the Apollo/Saturn V Centre.

 

Family Travel Secret
The shuttle, departing every 15 minutes, is included in the general admission price and gives you a nice view of many of the facilities at the Kennedy Space Centre. You can however enhance your visit by purchasing extra activities in Cape Canaveral, such as the “KSC Up-close Cape Canaveral Then & Now Tour”, which relives the launch of America’s first satellite and shows the launch bunkers from the Mercury and Gemini missions. If time was on our side, I would certainly have purchased this extra activity.

 

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We got to see some of the launch areas at the Kennedy Space Centre, some machines that are used as support for missions such as launch pads, and the place on which the future of NASA is based: the Orion Space Capsule, part of NASA’s new Space Launch System (SLS).

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This small tour was even more pleasant due to the driver’s ability to hold our attention. He was our guide and was explaining in detail and in an understandable way about all the facilities that we saw on the tour. He even cheekily did some quizzes to test the knowledge of the people who were on the bus. Noah was a little bit bored staying on the bus, but he started enjoying himself when we talked about space flights in a way that a kid would enjoy. Thankfully there was air conditioning inside the bus, because the heat was unbearable. After about to 30-40 minutes we reached the Apollo/Saturn V Center.

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Visiting the Apollo/Saturn V complex at Kennedy Space Center

The Apollo/Saturn V Center is great. Straight away at the entrance you can see the gigantic spaceship with all the partitions of the Apollo Project. The turbines are huge and you wonder about the heat expelled by that monster. Noah was amazed to see that equipment.

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The facility has a lot of information about all the Apollo space flights with pictures, samples and interesting facts. Inside the theater we got to see some real objects used by the astronauts like notebooks and even a sample of a rock from the Moon. I probably spent a bit more time in that area than I should have, but Noah was also in the mood and started “showing us” all the objects. He liked every bit of the center, and was also amazed by the huge Apollo module.

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The Atlantis Space Shuttle facilities at Kennedy Space Center

After that we took the bus back to the main area and stopped in front of the Atlantis Space Shuttle center.

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Family Travel Secret
As you arrive at the Atlantis Space Shuttle center there is a short video showing what the beginning of the Atlantis project was like. The grand finale of the video is when … 🙂 To avoid spoilers we will keep this information to ourselves so you can find out during your visit.

 

 

The space flight was very close to us and we could see that enormous piece of machinery and all the damage due to its missions in outer space. The shuttle really holds the attention of anyone entering the room.

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Walking around the complex everyone gets entertained. There are simulators for both children and adults to play with (Noah certainly liked those), pictures, and a very nice area honoring the crew members of the Challenger and Columbia expeditions, two of the missions that ended with tragic explosions that killed the crew members.

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Family Travel Secret
Certainly the nicest experience at the whole Kennedy Space Center is the Shuttle Launch Experience – a simulator that even astronauts confirmed is very close to reality. The pressure, speed, movement … it feels like a real experience. There you go – the closest thing to being an astronaut like my childhood wish 🙂

 

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A lot more to do at the Kennedy Space Center

A lot, a lot … The center offers visitors a full day of activities and learning. It’d have been great to “Meet an Astronaut” and be told a bit about what it is like to be in outer space, or even have lunch with him. But this will wait for the next opportunity.

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The place that Noah enjoyed the most was definitely the “Children’s Play Dome”, a playground for little ones if they want more action during the day.

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I was particularly interested in the Journey to Space presentation at the 3D IMAX® Theater. Ruth and Noah were at the Dome, as it was a 45-minute film in which NASA presents a bit about the history of space missions and the Orion Space Capsule, part of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS).

 

Family Travel Secret
Keep a spot during the day for the IMAX film called “Journey to Space” during your visit to the Kennedy Space Center. It is very interesting if you want to learn a bit more about NASA’s future mission, the Orion capsule and the SLS, which intends to send man to Mars.

 

 

Another very cool place to visit is The Rocket Garden, where real rockets such as Mercury, Gemini and Apollo, some of the early NASA projects, are displayed.

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Family Travel Secret
At the end of 2016, the Kennedy Space Center will complete the construction of the center called “Heroes and Legends”, which will display the breathtaking stories of the first men to travel to outer space and their missions, and will pay tribute to the space program’s astronauts via a Hall of Fame.

 

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Alan Shepard, Jim Lovell, Gordon Cooper, Gus Grisom, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin … it was nice to learn a bit more about you guys and to take my family for an entertaining day at the Kennedy Space Center.

Thanks Michelle for having us and for the great tips for the tour.

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Next stop, Animal Kingdom!

 

Family Travel Secrets was invited to Kennedy Space Center as guests. All opinions and the oodles of pictures remain our own.

fpkaram

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