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Day 6, Monday, 10 November

The convention is finished we have now more time to visit the rest of the KSC Visitor. Today we are going to the Cape Tour, it is a bus tour to the launch pads of Cape Canaveral (Mercury, Gemini), but before we visit the Hall of Fame.

Hall of Fame

This museum is not situated in the KSC Visitor but it is well before on the road (fortunately with in the annual pass the entrance is free). This museum is dedicated to all the American astronauts, the visit begins (as usual by a small movie) then we enter a room dedicated to the Mercury program. What is impressive with regard to the others museums is that this one is very rich in objects and details, there are photos assemblies on walls and display stands with numerous objects of that time. When we move along photos assemblies directional speakers play music or speeches of this time what puts the visitor directly in the atmosphere. The progression is chronological Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Shuttle. A big room is dedicated to the Apollo program with the command module of Apollo 14 and very numerous exploration objects, the LEM and even goodies. The room Shuttle is smaller but very well ordered. Then there is the Hall of Fame, majestic. Every American astronaut is represented on a blue panel with his missions engraved in a glass plate, the whole room is enlightened in a blue halo of light. In the back room are exposed military uniforms and a big panel explains the choice of the Apollo 11 crew.

Panel Mercury room Mercury suit

Wall Gemini 2 Prototype suit

Command Module Apollo 14 Command Module Wall

Panel Hall of Fame Hall of Fame

First Man on the moon Working in space

The next room contains educational experiments, like an approach simulator of the Shuttle, small shuttle fused with compressed air, and a centrifuge which goes until 3g! A small air battle movie is displayed on the screen inside the cabin, which is articulated, the illusion is complete, the sensations maximals.


A shuttle is stored outside near the road, normally the public go inside the payload bay and looks at a film, but regrettably the shuttle was in repair, we could only make pictures from the outside.


At the beginning of the afternoon we leave by bus to visit Cape Canaveral, Kenny is our driver he is a 75 years old man, but fortunately we have a guide because it is almost impossible to understand him.

Cap Tour Driver and guide

The bus enters the Kennedy Space Center goes past the headquarters, the transmissions radio building, the trainingstronauts building and finally the integration zone of the ISS. We cruise on the causeway in front of the boats which bring back the SRBs, then we go through the « industrial » zone with its assemblies sheds.

Communication building Administration building Astronauts building

We arrive at the space museum (Complex 26) a former Jupiters launch pad. The first museum into we go is the bunker of control of the rocket Jupiter-C (the rocket which put into orbit the first American satellite on February 1st, 1958, to Explorer 1). The visit is made by a former technician who worked in the center at this time. The mission control is situated only some metres away from the launch pad and looks like more a bunker than an actual center. We enter by a corridor, to the left is the cafeteria, at the end the control room is closed by a reinforced door. Enormous cupboards hide the walls of the room while in the center is the main launch console, a key to be turned and a button to be pressed. The technician explains us that they closed the reinforced door of the room at the last moment (in the last seconds of the countdown) because the cafeteria is situated behin the door and they didn’t want to have to wait too much in case of problem. It is impressive to see that now all this equipment (electronic / electromechanical) would fit a single desktop computer!

Blockhouse Command room Reinforced window

Another museum is in the next building some meters away. A V2 engine as well as various devices of that time are exposed in it. Winged missiles, ICBMs, satellite and Gemini 2 capsule.

V2 Engine Wall Gemini 2


Outside are installed various devices, it goes from the winged missile to the rocket and surveillance radar. Regrettably we have not enough time to look all of them in details, the bus has to bring us a little further to the Mercury launch pad (Complex 5/6).


POLARIS A3 Blockhouse

On the launch pad there is a Redston rocket and a Mercury capsule. The service tower does not exist any more but this is impressive. The rocket is installed on a balance for heavy trucks because it was simply weighed to know the filling level of the tanks! The bunker looks like the other with its armoured windows of some tens of centimetre.

Blockhouse gyroscope Redstone

The bus comes to pick us up directly on the launch pad and takes us to continue the visit. We cruise slowly along the installations and sometimes the bus slows down so that we can see alligators near the road, besides the tourists seem more interested by these last ones than by rockets.


The bus cruise us now through swamps towards the lighthouse of cap canaveral, this lighthouse was initially built copper and painted in black. Rapidly in became unbereable for the guard’s familly which built a traditionelle house on its feet. On the road we cruise past old missiles silos where are stored the rests of the Challenger shuttle (accident of 1986), in front of the Delta’s launch pads.


Then the bus goes to Complex 31 (Apollo 1), this launch pad was the place in 1967 of the first accident of the American space program. A rocket Saturn AS-204 with an Apollo capsule were installed on the launch pad. The crew inside had to make diverse tests when suddenly a fire declared in the cabin. a shortcut embraced the air of the capsule consisted of 100 % of pure oxygen. The technicians weren’t able to open the trapdoor in time (the opening inward was not possible because of the pressure of the burning air). The crew died asphyxed before being carbonized. This accident made the American population aware that the space conquest is not an adventure without danger. Afterward for 21 months the NASA made deep modifications of all the equipments of the Saturn rockets and Apollo capsules.

Complexe 31 Complexe 31

Once arrived on the launch pad the guide asks us to remove our hats / caps in homage to the men who died in the accident. On the side we can see the deflectors which were positioned under the rocket, in the continuation we can perceive the launch pad of the Delta IV.

Deflectors Delta 4 launch pad

Some additional pictures:

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