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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