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Day 4, Saturday, 08 November

Today is the second day of the convention, we have to go to the KSC Visitor for the bus visit, to see the installations of the KSC. It is a special formula of the convention because we shall be accompanied by one of astronaut that we saw the day before.

We arrive at 9 am, then we wait an hour in front of the building Early Space Exploration before going in a bus of the Kennedy Space Center. About minutes later it is the astronaut Frederick Gregory (STS-51-B, STS-33, STS-44) who go inside the bus and appears. He hasn’t finished of introducing himself that we were already die laughing. The visit looks fascinating !

Bus Tour Frederick Gregory

We enter the Kennedy Space Center, we cruise on Kennedy Parkway to the north, then after the Vehicule Assembly Building (VAB) we turn left to cruise on the Nasa Shuttle Landing Facility.


The VAB is simply huge, it is one of biggest building in the world (by its dimensions). It is used for assembling the shuttle on the main tank. This building had been built for the huge Saturn V rocket (lunar rocket more than 100m of height) that he could shelter. Three other buildings are situated near the VAB they are the Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF). After a space flight the shuttle is brought in one of it for various operations of maintenance (draining of tanks, taking off the payload) and prepare for the next mission.

When arriving near the landing runway we slow down in front of the unloading crane of the shuttle (we were able to see the Blue Angels’s planes which waited for the air show). This runway was built to land the shuttle after a mission, but it is also used for the boeing 747 which carry the shuttle piggy backed. Then we go on on the Nasa Shuttle Landing Facility until Kennedy Parkway, from there we go to the Saturn V center.

Crane Blue Angels

This building was built around a Saturn V rocket (this model is a real one). The visit begins with by watching a film about the beginning of the Apollo program then we enter a new room. It is a replica of the command center that is in the VAB. Screens ignite, buttons flash, on television screens we can see the takeoff of Saturn V and some seconds after rocks come to strike the windows of the room in a deafening noise. The experience is very well made. When we go out of the room we arrive in the main hall of the building at feet of Saturn V. Nozzles are really impressive, even if the rocket is in real size it is difficult to imagine it up on the launch pad. All around the rocket are settled explanatory panels on the Moon race, the functioning of the rocket, on the ceiling is suspended patchs of the various missions. Once at the end of the building we enter in an amphitheatre, a Lunar landscape is reconstituted on the stage, and the entertainment shows us now the moon landing of a lunar module (LEM). The visit of the center Saturn V is now finished but we must go through the shop before going out.

Entrance Control room Saturn V

Hall Panels Panels

Lunar Jeep Crawler's track

We go back up in the bus to go to the point of view of the Shuttle launch pads (39A and 39B). We cruise ahead the VAB, then we follow Crawler Way. Arrived near the gantry (nearest observation site for the public) we can see one of the both Crawler. The Crawler is an enormous flat mobile shape on top of caterpillars. It was made for the Apollo program, but is now used to move the Shuttle from the VAB to the launch pads. We cross the Crawler Way and we go towards the observation point.

VAB Crawler Crawler command

Crawler Way Pad 39B (empty)

This observation point is in the middle of the two launch pads. Endeavour is on the 39A, we cannot see the shuttle because she is situated of the other side, from there we only see the tank (orange block). Fredericks continues to explain us the functioning of the launcher without forgetting to insert some jokes in the explanations. After about ten minutes it is time to go back in the bus to take us on the NASA Causeway, from there we shall attend the air show.

Pad 39A Endeavour Shuttle Our Bus

Bus Tour

When we arrive on the spot there is a lot of people and the show has already begun. Propeller aircrafts pass at low altitude above the water. Then the Blue Angels come. They pass at very low altitude in a deafening noise, the figures they achieve are really impressive. The show continuous as it during two hours then the buses bring us back to the KSC visitor.

Show Show Show

Show Show Show

Some additional pictures:

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