One last place Aravind wanted to visit was NASA. It is also called Kennedy space center. The tickets for this place is $50.
We all have seen rocket launches on television.I always thought that the rocket we see during launch goes into space completely as seen.Only after I visited NASA I got to know that by the time it reaches the space station, only the top tip vessel of the rocket is the one that lands there on space. That top vessel in the shape of triangular vessel can fit 3 people in sitting position.Can you imagine how cramped one could feel in that vessel with those heavy space suit an Astronaut wears.All of this was in early days of space technology.It is different now.
Kennedy space center visitor complex is the place to go. Public is not allowed at the research center, base station and launch pads. The first sight of Visitor complex itself reflects the accomplishment of the country. The visitor center has rocket garden ,IMAX theaters, exhibits and bus tours. One other attraction in this complex is “The Atlantis”. You will know more about ‘The Atlantis’ in a while.
Bus tour takes people on tours of the NASA facility every 15 mins. They drive visitors to show the rocket carrying vehicle, launch pad, research center, fuel stations. Visitors are not allowed in any of these places. Bus tour is like window shopping.The entire NASA facility is a town in itself with their own facilities for living. NASA facility also has a beach.It is strictly for employees only.
The Rocket garden has models of all the rockets America has launched. Different vessels that were used to send astronauts to space. There is also a model triangular shaped vessel where you sit and experience the size.
The 3D IMAX theater plays shows on how the space station is built, Landing on moon, success and failures of space missions. They are mostly 45 mins shows very informative and knowledgeable. Most of what we saw in movie Gravity is true I realized.
‘The Atlantis’ is the space shuttle that shoots from the ground like a rocket, sheds the fuel tank in space and reaches space station. The same rocket lands on the ground like a air plane. One of the greatest achievements of NASA recently.
Project Mercury , Saturn V , Apollo project and finally ‘The Atlantis’ are the projects of NASA so far. One gets an idea of how much research, work, risk and challenge was involved in successful execution of these projects. A must see place.