Lucky for me I spent a lot of money with my X-Prize credit card. I'm hoping for the Grand Prize of a trip in a (yet-to-be-created) sub-orbital launch vehicle, but for now, a prize of a Space Adventures Shuttle Launch Tour was very cool. The thumbnails on this page connect to about a 1/3 size picture from my digital camera; the originals are much higher resolution, but at more than 1 MB, each, they dig too deep into my site's 50MB limit. If you want to see them, let me know.
We traveled to Florida and stayed at the Inn at Cocoa Beach. The first two days of the package involved tours from the Kennedy Space Center Visitor's Complex. From there, we first took a VIP tour of the center, including a close up view of Pad 39B, and a look at Endeavour on on Pad 39A.
On the second day, we did the standard KSC tour, including a stop at the Apollo/Saturn Center (with a real, live Saturn V rocket and a real live Apollo CSM) and a stop at the International Space Station Center, where, among other things, we could see components bound for Alpha being readied for flight. Also, we were reminded that there are more than 5000 alligators on the grounds of KSC.
On the third day, we were met by former astronaut Rick Searfoss and went to a viewing area on Merritt Island to see the launch. Fortunately, the launch went off without a hitch. To say that is was cool is an understatement. What impressed me most, though, was how bright the solid rocket exhaust glowed. Afterwards, we got to watch a presentation by Mr. Searfoss and went to a celebratory dinner. Then we had two more days to enjoy the beach and head out to Universal Studios. A nice little vacation, indeed.
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by Geir Lanesskog, All Right Reserved