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Darkwing
2002-Oct-22, 01:19 PM
I'm going to have the opportunity to go to Cape Canaveral/Kennedy Space Center on vacation for a day next month. Those of you who have been there, do you have any recommendations about things I should look for/definitely try to see while I'm there? I don't know what the Space Center has for visitors, so I'd appreciate any advice you all might have.

Thanks!

Mainframes
2002-Oct-22, 02:11 PM
Dont know whats around now, but when I went around eight years ago, I went on the tour that shows you around all the launch control stuff used for the apollo missions. That was quite cool.

The Vehicle Assembly Building is quite breathtaking. You can see it from miles away. There is also a Saturn V broken into its stages horizontally on the ground. Damn big!

To be honest there is loads of cool stuff to go and look at. You wont be dissappointed!

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Mainframes on 2002-10-22 10:11 ]</font>

DaveC
2002-Oct-22, 02:32 PM
I've been a couple of times - most recently this past August. It costs (I think) $25. for the standard tour. You can usually find discount coupons in travel brochures at hotels or tourist info centers that will knock a few bucks off that. They'll also try to sell you the "Up Close" option for another $20. I don't think it's worth the money , although it does get you on a bus tour out near the shuttle launching pads - kind of neat if there is a shuttle on the pad or being transported out by crawler.

The basic tour gives complete access to the visitor center - the rocket garden, a bunch of cool displays, a shuttle mockup, the astronaut memorial wall, and the coolest piece of all, the Saturn V center museum where you can see a real Saturn rocket, almost complete (missing one of the interstage couplings), a real LM, recovered command module, touch a moon rock etc etc. Go as early as you can in the day. I found I could have spent several more hours oggling that Saturn hardware.

At the visitors center they had a "meet the Astronaut" session where you could talk to a real, "been to space" astronaut. When I was there, Gerald Carr (from Skylab) was there answering questions from (mostly) kids. Being a big kid at heart I was right in there. At the end of the formal Q&A session, I went up to talk to him. He flew one mission and still holds (I think he said) the record for the longest single mission by an American. He did note that the Russians had several longer missions than the 84 days of Skylab 4.

He says he suffered no ill effects from his 84 days in space - a bit of weakness for a while after landing, but nothing permanent.

I did ask what he thought about the Apollo hoax theory. He commented that it was all silliness and made the point that a Saturn V was what put Skylab in orbit, so the rocket did exist and did work.

If you are lucky, they may have an astronaut there when you visit. It's not an every day feature, apparently. Also, make sure you go to the IMAX showing of the ISS. It was awesome. They've also got a great souvenir and book store. Lots of stuff that doesn't seem to be available elsewhere. Bring money though!

Not far from KSC (just off U.S. 1) is the Astronaut Hall of Fame. Also worth a look if you have time.

Bill S.
2002-Oct-22, 05:53 PM
On 2002-10-22 10:32, DaveC wrote:
Not far from KSC (just off U.S. 1) is the Astronaut Hall of Fame. Also worth a look if you have time.


<snipped good stuff>

The Astronaut Hall of Fame, near the main entrance, is about to close. It will be under new management, handled by the same company that manages the regular NASA tours and will probably become part of the larger NASA-as-tourist-attraction. It will re-open after they assess how to integrate it (that was my understanding when it was explained to me by co-workers at the Cape).

I do disagree that the "all access" isn't worth it; I think it's VERY worth it...

That said, the absolute best way to tour the Cape is to hang out with someone who works there and get them to take you out to the old launch sites in the coastal marshes.

I got right up underneath the Apollo-1 Milkstool, and have photos etc. of myself and co-workers out there. It's really, really cool (just DO NOT even think about strolling down to the block-houses unless you've got a rattlesnake antivenom handy!)

Chrysalis
2002-Oct-22, 11:31 PM
Can't really give much current advice. Visited KSC in 1996 while STS79 was being launched. Watching the launch was a fantastic experience, however it was an organised tour and, after a night of no sleep, I was definitely not at my best to experience KSC immediately afterwards. Despite having been in a zombie-like state, I'd heartily recommend the IMAX and guided tours. You won't be disappointed by the exhibits - the highlight for me was definitely viewing the rockets firsthand.