Posts Tagged ‘Cape Canaveral’

Egret -- Public domain photo courtesy of Kennedy Space CenterSea Turtles, Sure, They’re Cool, but This is NASA!!!!

The National Park Service is all about protecting the nation’s wildlife and natural wonders. On the Atlantic coast of Florida, they control the beautiful Canaveral National Seashore, refuge to sea turtles, manatees, and various wading birds.

Yeah, whatever. Nearby is the Kennedy Space Center!! W00t w00t!!!

America has two points of ultimate coolness. One is our music (yep, we created blues & jazz & rock & hip-hop, uh-huh, uh-huh, take that, Europe, with your Beethoven & accordions & flugelhorns!!). The other is our space program.

Say what you will about NASA. Maybe they’re a team of brilliant, talented scientists who explore our tiny little corner of the universe, or maybe they’re a big financial suckhole draining our coffers & gobbling up taxes. Either way, it doesn’t matter, for their shit is cool!  KSC has a lots of coolness to see: old Saturn V rockets, various landers, and all sorts of videos & stuff. Simply being there in the shadow of Launch Pads 39A & B, where they launch the Shuttle at somewhat regular intervals, is awesome in and of itself.

I lived in south Florida for a couple of years, and saw several shuttle launches. Never made it to the actual visitor viewing at KSC itself (if they even still do such a thing in a post-9/11 world), but saw it from the pier at Cocoa Beach (cocktail in hand), and also saw a night launch from the backyard of a friend in Stuart (also cocktail in hand, imagine that). Both have great features: seeing it from the beach gives you the full view of the plumes, seeing it at night awes you as the horizon fills with the orange glow of burning hydrogen. Seeing a shuttle launch ranks as a “must do for all Americans” in my book, but act fast, the shuttle isn’t gonna be around forever.

Pad 39A -- Public domain photo courtesy of Kennedy Space Center

The neatest display at the Kennedy Space Center is a setup of the original consoles used for mission control during the original Apollo missions. It’s rows and rows of old CRTs, vacuum-tube computer banks, craptastic speakers and clunky microphones. My color printer has more silicon brains than the lot of it, but, amazingly, it got people not only into space but all the way to the moon and back! Ya look at those lame pieces of shite, and you just marvel at the feats those guys were able to pull off.

Today, people worldwide are using high-powered cellphones to surf LOLCats!. Boy, are we pathetic, or what??

NASA’s still doing lots of stuff. They’re doing a lot of global warming research, have a lot of satellites in play, have launched various probes that are still transmitting data back to Earth, and are working on a lot of other projects. Sure, things like a manned Mars mission don’t seem possible, or practical, or useful, but I like the notion of an agency devoted to nothing more than pure research into the cosmos, the stuff of which we all are made (if you believe in such things).

Anyway, my vote is go Nasa!

Shuttle Endeavour Liftoff -- Public domain photo courtesy of Kennedy Space Center

[Sadly, I didn’t own a digital camera when I visited Cape Canaveral, nor for all those shuttle launches.  All pics are public domain courtesy of the Kennedy Space Center].


Canaveral National Seashore

Visiting Kennedy Space Center

KSC Media Gallery

Do We Really Need NASA?

Google map to Cape Canaveral

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