This year is the 50th Anniversary of Kennedy Space Centre and they have had some special guided tours to celebrate this. The tours are only supposed to be for 12 months so we thought we would take advantage of this and it would be something different to do.
We went on 2 different days as the 2 tours we wanted to do, which was the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) and the KSC Up-Close: The Launch Pad Tour clashed.
The photos don't really give the actual impact of the tours, as you can only really get a sense of the size of the buildings by being in them.
Our second trip was for the Launch Pad Tour, this wasn’t scheduled until the afternoon, so we arrived early so that we could take in some of the attractions and watch the Hubble 3d film in the Imax theatre.
We had a bite to eat in the Orbit Café and then made our way to the waiting area for the bus tours. This time the bus was full.
We had the same driver, Randy as we’d had on the previous tour and you would have thought he was a different person, he wasn’t telling his really bad alligator jokes and was very quiet in comparison, it was a shame really.
Our guide was very good; she explained and pointed out all the buildings that we passed.
We eventually came into a restricted area and saw Launch Pad 39-A in front of us. We picked up a security guard and then the bus drove up the ramp towards the pad, we thought, from the description of the tour that you got to walk up close to the Pad, unfortunately this wasn’t the case and we were both a little disappointed. The bus stopped in some places and Chris was able to get some photos, we were eventually allowed to out of the bus and walk closer to the Pad. The security officer stood at a point and we weren’t allowed to go any further than that.
The Pad is enormous, it is 350ft high, it was surreal to be standing in a place that I’d seen on tv and to imagine the shuttle poised there ready to take off on her next mission. It's a shame the Shuttle Program and finished.
It was at this point that a call came on the radio that there was a storm coming and so we were ushered back on to the bus and we quickly went to the Flame Trench. This is an area that is flooded with gallons and gallons of water to obsorb the heat and flames of the shuttle and booster. When you have seen the shuttle take off, it’s not smoke that is billowing up t is steam.
We were allowed off the bus, but told if the storm got any closer we would have to get back on the bus immediately. If the storm didn’t come any closer we were told that we would be able to walk under the the Flame Trench and take some photos, in one of the photos Chris took the guide is stood there so you can see just how big this Trench is. Just as we were all about to move forward the driver said we had to return to the bus as the tours had been shut down because of a lightning warning.
I must admit seeing the lightning on the way back to the Saturn Complex I was glad we hadn’t been out in all that open space :lol:
The storm had finally arrived, you know when it rains over there and everything floods, well at Kennedy it was 10 times worse, I have never seen rain like it before :lol: We hung around in the gift shop, bought a couple of things as mementoes and gifts and then after an hour and still no let up with the rain decided to by an umbrella. I guess it helped keep our heads and tops dry, but we were soaked through from the waist down :lol: The ground had so much water and the puddles were so deep that they covered my trainers as we walked from one area to the next covered area. It was getting late and the last thing we wanted was to get caught in heavy traffic in the rain, so we made the rest of the way to the car. We were absolutely soaked right through but we couldn't stop laughing :lol: by the time we got home, our feet had gone from being squelchy to just being cold :lol:
All in all on both days, we had a good time at KSC, we will probably go back again next year to see Atlantis in her new building and if the Control Tower Tour is still on then we may very well do that as well.