Cape Kennedy Space Center

25 05 2011

The day before NASA launched the space shuttle STS-134/Endeavour on it’s last flight I had the opportunity to visit Cape Kennedy Space Center on Cape Canaveral. Because of the pending launch we were not able to get closer to the launch pad than the LC-39 Observation Gantry. Unfortunately, I had to work the day after so I missed the actual launch.

The observation gantry is about 2 km from launch pad 39A so even with my 105 mm telephoto lens on my Nikon D90 the shuttle was a not as large an object as I had hoped to see. It’s a new excuse to buy that 70-200 mm tele lens that I was looking at a while ago. 🙂 Right now, launch pad 39B is in the process of being dismantled as the shuttle program nears it’s end.

Space shuttle Endeavour ready for it's last flight

One thing that we did get quite close to was the crawler-transporter that had carried the shuttle out to the launch pad. To judge it’s size look at the bus to the left of the picture.

Shuttle crawler transporter - note size of bus at left

It weighs in at around 2700 tons and has a maximum speed of 1.6 kph when loaded with the shuttle. “Hans” and “Franz” as the transporters are called have been in use since 1965 and have travelled about 5500 km during their life.

The future program will be rocket launched again. As part of the tour we visited the Apollo program site where an Saturn V rocket was to be found. The rocket is amazing, at 111m it is twice the height of two space shuttle on top of each other.

Saturn V rocket used in the Apollo program

So now on to geocaching. As I had two muggle colleagues with me I didn’t feel it appropriate to drag them off for a full day of caching so we just chose two caches at random on the way back to Orlando after the Space Center visit. The first cache was called Turtle Trek and despite the name nothing clicked until we actually got out of the car and started heading along a sandy track in the bush towards GZ. A large turtle crawled slowly across the track and disappeared down a burrow.

40cm turtle

GZ was about five meters off the track in the bush and I walked in as normal, well perhaps a bit heavier on the feet than normal, as I didn’t want to step on a snake or alligator. My colleagues were reserved and wouldn’t leave the track until I called then in to see the cache. In fact I thought that one of them was going to have an accident before we got out of the bush and onto clear ground again. He really expected an alligator to come charging trhough the bushes. The turtle was about 40cm long and probably as many years old.

DS8300 & muggle friend Janne

The second cache we grabbed was in a little hovel at the side of the road with the name Christmas! The main attraction was an RV park. Not a classy place in other words. The kitschy site had a plastic christmas tree, a concrete santa and sleigh and a signboard surrounded with tinsel. Yeow! Well, after a few minutes hunting we found Christmas Forever, a silver coloured micro hanging in the tinsel.

Isn't it beautiful?

Find of the day!

Finding just two caches in a day is really bad, but considering that I had two muggles with me who were more interested in other things I was pleased to have been able to have found them. It gave me a geocaching souvenir for the state of Florida as well so not too bad. I just have another 46 states to go for the full coverage of USA. Way to go!




%d bloggers like this: