Tuesday saw us headed for the Space Coast – Cape Canaveral. As soon as we knew we were heading for Florida, Peter was online to the space centre to see if there would be a rocket launch during our time in Florida. When he was a little boy, he was at the Kennedy Space Center with his parents and was completely and utterly crushed when his mom refused to stay and see the launch of what, at the time, was Apollo 8 sitting on the launchpad. So when he discovered there would be a launch while we were here, he was as excited as…..well…..a kid in a rocket store.
We knew before leaving on the 2.5 hour drive to Cape Canaveral that the launch was delayed to Wednesday and we could still use our passes for that, but the admission ticket for the Kennedy Space Centre could not be transferred to another day, so we booked a hotel on points and spent the day at the space centre. Wow! It is huge and amazing. The admission is pricey, but once the gate pass is purchased, everything else is included. IMAX presentations, rides, theatre presentations, bus tour to the actual launch viewing site and Apollo Centre. And there was no objection to us bringing our packed lunch and drinks. Hang onto your sandwich though! The local grackles are like crows in Canada - swift to see a lunch brought out and will try and grab it if you're not paying attention.
We took our time exploring the complex before taking the bus tour to the Apollo Centre. On the way, we saw the VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building) where they have assembled every rocket that has ever been launched. This building is unimaginably massive and riding by it on the bus doesn’t even give one a true feeling of its scale. The flag on the side of the building is so big, the tour bus could be driven down one red stripe and the VAB could house 3.5 Empire State Buildings.
Reaching the Apollo Center, we were taken through a series of presentations to relive the mission that landed on the moon. In the main area, we saw the awe-inspiring Saturn 5 rocket, and got to explore and learn more in-depth about the different rockets, missions, and astronauts. We heard the poignant stories of those killed on missions, saw some of their personal effects and heard their personal stories. The day was capped off with a launch simulation ride that gave us some miniscule idea of what the astronauts experience.
When we arrived, we learned that the launch was delayed again until Thursday. Since we were staying overnight anyway, we thought we would spend Wednesday being tourists on the Space Coast and keep an eye on the launch news. If the launch was not rescheduled again, we would spend another night and stay over for it on Thursday.
Peter’s points got us into the Hilton in Cocoa Beach on Tuesday night. Pretty swank digs right on the beach. After dinner on the pool patio, we took a walk down the boardwalk to the beach. With the moon almost full, the waves were sparkling with light as the surf rushed in. I did my evening Tai Chi on the beach in the moonlight and felt at one with the world.