.All Trips / Florida / North America / Pic of the Week / Southeastern USA

“Pic of the Week”, August 30, 2013. Saturn V Rocket, Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida

2013-035-August 30a.  Kennedy Space Center.  Apollo Rocket

I sometimes forget that most people alive today were not part of the exciting age of space exploration in the 1960s and early 1970s.  While I was just a boy at the time, I’m glad I experienced this truly fun and historic decade, especially as a fan of science fiction.  The stuff that we’d read about for years was now happening in real life — almost like a dream coming true!   People were traveling into space, actually going to the moon and, perhaps more remarkably, safely returning to Earth.  I vividly recall watching the Apollo 11 lunar landing and seeing the grainy footage of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin bouncing around in the low gravity of the moon — the first men to walk on extraterrestrial soil!  What a small step for a man…and a giant leap for mankind that was!

It’s a little sad to see what’s become of Cape Canaveral and NASA these past years.  The Space Shuttle, while expensive and not the most efficient program, at least gave the USA a doorway into space and yielded a lot of solid research.   Yes, NASA still launches some probes and satellites, but it’s just a shade of what it was in the past.  The future of space it seems belongs to entrepreneurs and not to NASA.

That said, there’s a lot to remember at the Kennedy Space Center and one of the most fascinating things I’ve ever seen anywhere is one of the last remaining Apollo program Saturn V rockets.  It sits suspended in a cavernous visitor’s center (a huge warehouse really), separated into the 3 stage rockets that propelled it beyond the grip of Earth’s gravity.  The immense size of that projectile is astounding — absolutely amazing it ever got off the ground.  Don’t take my word for it; go see for yourself.

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