Cape Canaveral Tour, January 8, 2005

Part One of the Bus Tour

Image(12).jpg A full-scale replica of an orbiter, with a full-scale set of boosters (SBRs) and fuel tank.

Image(13).jpg A better view of the fuel tank and SRBs. Not quite as good a view of the orbiter.

Launch Complex 39 (LC39)

Image(14).jpg A display showing Cape Canaveral. Orlando is (I think) about where the "o" in "world" is.

Image(15).jpg A scale model of a shuttle on one of the launch pads. In this photo, part of the tower has swung away (you can see the tracks on the floor) to make the shuttle ready for liftoff.

Image(16).jpg A mock-up of the shuttle being loaded on NASA's special 747 for a flight from Edwards AFB to the Cape.

Image(17).jpg A look at some of the different thermal tiles they use on various parts of the shuttle. Only the bottom and the leading edges are covered with the heavy-duty black ones.

Image(18).jpg Another look at the tiles, showing relative thicknesses.

Image(19).jpg The shuttle inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). Note how puny the thing is compared to the building itself. That's what happens when you re-purpose the place you used to assemble Saturn Vs.

Image(20).jpg A closer view of the shuttle and VAB.

Image(21).jpg Launch Pad 39A through one of the binocular viewers set up at the observation tower. I'm surprised it actually worked.

Image(22).jpg Pad 39B through the same viewer. It's a little farther away.

Image(23).jpg The real VAB off in the distance.

Image(24).jpg Innate fear of Man? What innate fear of Man? These birds were all over the place near the concession stand. The CCD didn't do a very good job of picking out the bluish-purple highlights. I have no idea what these are -- ravens, maybe?

Image(25).jpg The other birds that had discovered that the pink apes were good for providing food. These guys were more of a yellow-tan color (and the concrete wasn't actually blue).

Apollo 8 Control Room Mock-Up

Image(26).jpg A recreation of the control room (including the actual consoles) as it appeared when Apollo 8 was launched with the new, previously untested, Saturn V rocket.

Image(27).jpg System status indicators that lit up as they progressed through the countdown. Due to the relative brightness of the lights, the text on them can't be seen. These were to the left of the control room.

Image(28).jpg The control room at -00:03:00. They used spotlights to show who was talking. I'm pretty sure we heard copies of the original tapes.

Image(29).jpg The rest of the control room as the countdown held at three minutes for system-checks.

Image(30).jpg The blue lights were off to the right and showed the various tracking positions that were watching the flight. I can't remember specific names but there were more than a few Navy ships keeping an eye on the thing.

Image(31).jpg The countdown restarts, -00:02:54. I believe it's 7:47 AM.

Image(32).jpg -00:01:59. I doubt that these would have been seen in control originally; they probably would have been more concerned with the rocket than with the gathering throngs.

Image(33).jpg More systems have lit up as the countdown progresses.

Image(34).jpg A couple more come on. This time I must have held the camera slightly less than perfectly steady.

Image(35).jpg More systems check out and are ready to go.

Image(36).jpg Back to the countdown, -00:00:49.

Image(37).jpg -00:00:43.

Image(38).jpg More systems check out. I think the countdown is either at 39 seconds or 29.

Image(39).jpg More systems are go. -00:00:17.

Image(40).jpg Main engines fire.

Image(41).jpg The rocket reaches full power.

Image(42).jpg The rest of the systems check out.

Image(43).jpg Liftoff continues.

Image(44).jpg Fuel lines disengage.

Image(45).jpg Liftoff continues. +00:00:19, I think.




Image(49).jpg First stage separation. +00:00:40?

Full-Sized Saturn V

Image(50).jpg The rocket cones of the first stage.

Image(51).jpg A little help with perspective. Thanks, anonymous bald dude!

Image(52).jpg The rest of stage one. The thing wasn't tiny.

Image(53).jpg A little info on the VAB. There's so much internal volume that is has its own weather.

Image(54).jpg Stage two and the 11 and 12 mission patches.

Image(55).jpg A little more info on the Saturn V (what went where) and a transparent scale model.

Image(56).jpg The tail-end of stage one.

Image(57).jpg The rocket cones and mixing chamber (?) from stage two.

Image(58).jpg Stage two again.

Image(59).jpg Stage three's rocket.

Image(60).jpg The lunar excursion module (LEM) and the service module (SM). If you saw Apollo 13, the SM is where the explosion happened.

Image(61).jpg The command module (CM) (tiny, ain't it?) and the rocket's tip.

Image(62).jpg Where the six successful landings happened (13, after all, just pulled a cosmic drive-by).

Image(63).jpg The original LEM for 15 (?) that was mothballed after they decided to add the lunar rover. That required extensive modifications to the LEM and it was easier to build a new one.

Image(64).jpg The real stage three.

Image(65).jpg The service module.

Image(66).jpg Another service module and a command module, down on the floor for easier viewing.

Image(67).jpg The command module that was part of the "complete" rocket.

Image(68).jpg A real command module enclosed in lucite.

Image(69).jpg A better view of the CM.

Image(70).jpg A (somewhat blurry) look inside, with some reflections off the plastic enclosure.

Image(71).jpg If you try real hard you can see the third (right-side) seat near the strut through all the reflections.

Image(72).jpg The command seat, with those reflections on the right again.

The Rocket Garden

Image(73).jpg A gutted Gemini capsule.

Image(74).jpg The (poorly) mocked-up interior of the Gemini.

Image(75).jpg I'll be honest, I have no idea what most of these rockets were. I was in a hurry to get to the IMAX show.

Image(76).jpg The other end of that rocket.

Image(77).jpg I think this is one of the rockets they used to launch the Mercury missions.

The Astronaut Hall of Fame

Image(78).jpg A copy of Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon.

Image(79).jpg Alan Shepard's Mercury spacesuit.

Image(80).jpg Same suit, this time without the head cut off.

Image(81).jpg A Mercury capsule with all its stuff intact.

Image(82).jpg The instrument panel.

Image(83).jpg The ouside of the capsule.

Image(84).jpg A real Gemini capsule.

Image(85).jpg The Gemini's instruments.

Image(86).jpg The outside of the Gemini.

Image(87).jpg The 4-G simulator. The ride lasts about 4 minutes and maxes out at 4G. I don't think they'd be allowed to run it at full speed for the entire time.

Image(88).jpg Same simulator, this time without someone in the way.