One of the things I wanted to make sure we saw at Kennedy Space Center was the Space Mirror Memorial. We saw a lot of memorials in various places this summer, but this one is particularly striking to me. I’m sure it’s partly because of my long interest in the space program, but I also think it’s because the design is just so well thought out and perfect. The angle of the memorial makes it so that the all that is reflected on the surface of the mirror is the sky and the American flag, and the names of our lost astronauts are a stark white that stands out even against reflected clouds.
I hope they never need to add another name to this memorial.
The last big event of our vacation was something I had wanted to do for years…visit Kennedy Space Center!
You can’t turn around without tripping over a reference to President Kennedy!
One of the things I was most excited about seeing was right inside the front gate…the Rocket Garden:
We got to take a bus tour past historic launch sites, before going around the Vehicle Assembly Building. It doesn’t have a bad side! It was really cool to see it in person, because you just can’t grasp how big it is from pictures or even videos!
The bus tour ends at the Apollo/Saturn V Center. We got to see what Mission Control looked like at the time of Apollo 8:
The star of the center is the Saturn V (although there are lots of other things to see, too!). Again, it’s so hard to comprehend its size without seeing it for yourself!
No trip to Kennedy would be complete without seeing a piece (or two) of the moon:
We also walked through the Apollo 1 Tribute, which was unbelievably moving.
We were there at just the right time, because we got to see Artemis I out on the launch pad for a test, and now it’s time for it to fly!
We walked through the Moon Tree Garden, which has trees grown from descendants of seeds that were taken to the moon. There is a lovely statute of the crew of Apollo 11, and markers noting each mission of the Apollo program:
After we took the bus back to the main visitors’ complex, we visited Space Shuttle Atlantis.
We also learned about the other Space shuttles, including the two that were lost. The memorial to them was one of the most moving things on our trip, so much so that I didn’t take pictures of the memorial itself.
There is a larger memorial, the Space Mirror Memorial, dedicated to all of the lost astronauts, located outside:
There are other things to see outside, too:
I really enjoyed walking through the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame:
We also visited Gateway, which looks at the future of space travel. We got to see a SpaceX Falcon 9 booster that has flown twice:
Speaking of which, we were lucky enough to be at Kennedy for a launch. We saw (and heard) it from quite a distance, but it was still impressive, and seeing it in the shadow of the Rocket Garden was really special!
I’m so glad I finally got to have this experience!
Kennedy Space Center; 10,984 steps
Our last big outing in Florida was something I’ve wanted to do for a long time…tour Kennedy Space Center (I’ll have more details on our day at KSC in the future)!
I was so excited to see the Rocket Garden!
We took a bus to the Apollo/Saturn V Center, and it conveniently went right past the Vehicle Assembly Building. It’s almost impossible to comprehend just how massive the structure is!
It’s also difficult to understand the scale of the Saturn V!
We got to see Artemis I on the launchpad for a test run…it was so exciting to get a glimpse of the future of space travel!
I thought the Moon Tree Garden was also really cool:
We took the bus back to the main complex, where we got to see the Space Shuttle Atlantis:
We also took some times to remember the lost at the Space Mirror Memorial:
I really enjoyed the Astronaut Hall of Fame:
It was a great place for all of us space nerds to visit!
And we even got to see (and hear!) a SpaceX launch!
When we got back to the hotel, we finally had time for an evening swim and walk…we’d been out so late every night up until this point, we just didn’t have an opportunity to explore the resort!
Up next: A relaxing day by the pool.