Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Orbiter and launch vehicle. The orbiter is actually what most of us call "The shuttle". The shuttle is actually the entire thing with the rockets and all. When it is on the launch pad all you can see are the rockets. The orbiter (shuttle) is completely encased in rockets and launch tower to protect it.

The assembly building where they attach the orbiter to the rockets. Then the whole thing is moved with a huge platform that moved 1/2 a mile and hour. It takes them about 6 - 8 hours to move it to the launch site. The flag on the side is so huge it's hard to imagine. The stars are 6 foot across and the strips are 8 foot.

This is the shuttle on the 39A launch pad.

We were gone almost 10 hours today doing the tour of Kennedy Space Center. I had forgotten how amazing the place is. We didn't do any of the IMAX theatre shows or the Shuttle Launch experience and it still took hours. You could definitely spend 2 days seeing everthing. We went on a tour of the building where they are preparing payload for the International Space Center. (I don't remember that from last time). It was interesting seeing things that would soon be up in space. Everyone working with the payload has to wear "bunny suits" to keep everything sterile so that it doesn't impact experiments etc on the space station.

We saw 3 bald eagles, and 2 huge eagle nests. They were as big as a king size bed. We saw several alligators. All in all it was an amazing day. I'm so excited about the launch tomorrow night, I can barely stand it. One of the folks at the space center said that to have a night launch with a full moon was very unusual.
Whew, I'm exhausted .. luckily we won't have to be up to the launch until evening although they were warning us that the traffic will be terrible around launch time so we will leave early.

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