Saturday, March 13, 2010

Executive Decision

By Wednesday night, Bill had decided that this wandering aimlessly around St. Pete’s was not going to cut it for the rest of the week. While we were still on vacation, the weather was just not cooperating and we were left twiddling our thumbs. So, Bill made the executive decision that we should go to Kennedy Space Center. The reason I say executive decision is because I, myself, wasn’t exactly cooperating with this vacation thing, but more on that in another post…
Since it only took about 3 hours to drive across the state of Florida to the other coast, we didn’t have to get up too early. We arrived at the Kennedy Space Center’s Visitors Center a bit before noon and started touring around. We got to walk through a section of a full size model of a space shuttle and look at full size models of the rocket boosters used for the shuttle. They also had a launch simulator that you could ride. It looked like a lot of fun to experience that, but 1. Luke was too short, 2. Ben was barely tall enough and 3. Audrey was completely panicking before we even started up the ramp. Since we had all three strikes pretty much against us we opted for the observation area, which was not quite as fun as the actual simulator, but still enjoyable.
The Visitor’s Center has arranged a bus tour of the NASA areas, including a viewing area of the two launch pads, a drive past the shuttle assembly building (which is humongous), a visit to a building containing an Apollo rocket and everything related to the Apollo rocket era of space flight and then to another building which housed the training facilities of the astronauts and a model of what live is like on the international space station. The whole tour, depending on how fast you moved was about two hours long. We spent quite some time at the first two stops but by the last one the kids were tired and we were off and on the bus quickly.
While we were at the viewing area, I happened to notice a guy that looked familiar and he turned out to be our friend, Stuart, from church. He and three more of his friends were vacationing in Florida, also, and we all just happened to be at Kennedy at the same time!! We took a group photo for them and they snapped one for us.
But really the best part of the trip to Kennedy was the rocket launch. Part of Bill’s determining when to visit the center was based on the fact that a rocket was scheduled to launch later that day. So we stuck around and waited. It got dark. It got cold. The kids were getting tired. I was running out of creative ideas to keep the kids happy, warm and occupied as the launch was being pushed back because of weather. Finally, the countdown was on. I hoisted Luke onto my shoulders, Bill had Ben on his and Audrey manned the camera. Before the launch, I turned to watch the crowd and it was amazing. Everyone either had cameras or cell phones out to record it. Just one single thing bonded everyone for one moment of time. I turned around just in time to see the flash of light and we all watched the rocket successfully launch. Then we clapped and cheered. No, this wasn’t a very momentous launch, just a satellite being placed in space somewhere to monitor something, but still a feat, nevertheless. And we got to witness it. Amazing!


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