This place was the first destination for anyone who dreamed of experiencing the space world closely, learning about its history, exploring its depths, exploring the future, and perhaps also being able to reach it via a spacecraft someday.
The John F. Kennedy Space Center of the US Space Agency NASA is the largest specialized center in the launch of manned and unmanned flights into space, and is where the development and engineering of space rockets. As for the visitor complex in the center, which was inaugurated in 1971, it has always been a destination for a huge number of tourists from inside and outside the United States of America, with more than one million tourists every year.
We are talking about this amazing place in this article, as it carries the heart of NASA, and the most important part of the shuttle trips to unknown worlds, in addition to of course the great historical achievement that the United States of America made more than fifty years ago in this field.
On July 20, 1969, the scientist held his breath as one man laid his foot on the moon. And now the Apollo 11 spacecraft, which carried this man, American astronaut Neil Armstrong, is in the visitor complex at the John F. Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, so that visitors can see that craft with a mother’s eye.
This place carries the spirit of the Apollo / Saturn V program, and it also houses the huge 363-foot-high Saturn V Moon that carried the spacecraft to the moon that carried the manned vehicle of the Apollo 11 program into space, with all its details from the five rocket engines, the first combustion stage, and even the return capsule. The place also collects geological evidence of rocks and dust that astronauts brought with them from the surface of the moon to Earth.
At the entrance to the visitor complex, you are greeted by a model of former US President John F. Kennedy with his eternal phrase: “We chose to go to the moon.” Kennedy was the president who took the initiative and opened the gates of the sky wide to “NASA”, backing up his famous statement with huge financial commitments, increasing NASA’s budget by 89 percent in 1961, and by another 101 percent the following year before he was assassinated in 1963 a few years earlier. From the achievement of the Apollo 11 achievement.
In an interview with Nick Thomas, who has worked at the center since 1987, his mission is to inform visitors about the treatment operations and flights of the space shuttle. “My passion for the space program began when I saw the first launches from the backyard of my home in Daytona Beach, and then I came to work at the Kennedy Space Center, and today my mission is to help astronauts with presentations,” he tells Sky News Arabia.
He adds: “Here we know the visitors about the shuttle flights and the enormous work required by this program to become a reality, and we present a glimpse of the space race in the 1960s, which accelerated the search and planning to visit the moon with a human crew, and certainly we remember the great sacrifice made by the Apollo One crew.” “Whose three members lost their lives due to a fire that occurred in the cockpit during a simulated take-off operation in 1967”.
He continues: “Here, information and short video clips of the Apollo program are presented up to the great success of the landing on the surface of the Moon. In this place also there is a” control room “with all its equipment, communication devices and screens, which are the same tools that made it possible to communicate directly with the astronauts on Aboard the spacecraft during their trips to the moon and upon their landing on its surface. “
Space Rocket Park
In the front yard of the visitors’ complex at the John F. Kennedy Space Center, stand real structures and models of a distinctive set of space rockets that NASA used in its programs, from carrying the first satellites to those that carried humans into orbit around the Earth, and then away on trips to Other worlds. To the right of the rockets, there are three capsules that the visitor can test sitting inside, and they are the same capsules that enabled the astronauts to return to the mother planet safely and securely.
In the center are distributed many glass chambers that contain within their walls replicas of the equipment that the human carried with him to the moon, the most important of which is the manual traction cart and the motor vehicle that accompanied the Apollo 15 flight crew to the moon in 1971. It was of great use to the crew as it enabled him to move on The surface of the moon is further away from the lander.
In the same place, a section includes all the types of spacesuits that NASA has adopted in its history, arranged according to seniority, to allow the visitor to observe the development that took place on them in terms of shape and materials used in their design, which made them more dynamic, and there is a detailed explanation of the packing specifications of each uniform.
In another compartment, there are some materials that the Apollo flights returned from the lunar surface, which are carefully preserved in thick glass models, and in a nearby place is the real Apollo 14 flight capsule, with pictures recovered from the South Pacific. And distributed in the place many structures that simulate the lunar landing unit and the probes that contributed to the success of the Apollo flights, as well as a replica part of the skylab space station that was active at the time and also contributed to those flights.
“The center offers a behind-the-scenes look at the world of astronauts through interactive exhibits, simulations, and guided tours,” said Scott Wonderson, who is visiting the space for the first time. “We took a tour of the legendary bus that transported astronauts fifty years ago to the launch site, and enjoy the experience of the shuttle launch. And the astronaut training experience, in which we test the feeling of astronauts when the spacecraft is launched. “
Just as the Kennedy Space Center was the place from which people set off to the moon, it was also the first place from which the shuttles began for the US Space Shuttle program.
The Great Atlantis Shuttle
Here, you see the huge orange model of the giant missile that represents the mechanism of lifting the shuttle outside the Earth’s atmosphere, which was adopted by NASA to lift all its flights, this missile consists of three parts, this giant orange body is the fuel tank that contains hydrogen and oxygen in the liquid state and provides the three shuttle engines with fuel The space shuttle and two solid-fuel rockets that lift the entire body upon takeoff from the launch pad are located on this tank.
This giant orange missile is in the NASA visitor complex, specifically in front of the building that houses the great space shuttle Atlantis. And the greatness of Atlantis lies in the fact that it visited space 33 times and returned safely, full of success, and crowned with success after all its long and difficult journeys.
Atlantis began its mission on October 3, 1985, and sealed it on July 21, 2011, when it landed safely on the runway of the Kennedy Space Center. Then it was transported to here, where it appears to be carried on huge iron beams – horizontally inclined – so that visitors can see all its parts, especially the upper part of it, which is the part that opens wide wide when it is in outer space and launches its cargo from spacecraft, satellites or telescopes Giant, it is here that the upper doors open for visitors to see its interior details.
On a side close to the shuttle Atlantis, its cockpit was placed, so that visitors could wander inside, sit on its seats and touch its countless buttons, as well as move the landing gear and look at the multiple screens that provided the most accurate information to the shuttle crew to be able to succeed the mission and return safely. to ground.
Challenger, Colombia and the Memory of Shuttle Calamities
One cannot talk about Atlantis without talking about the two doomed shuttles that preceded it, Colombia and Challenger. The wing assigned to them appeared to be decorated with pictures and personal belongings of the astronauts, who left while they were on board in the explosion in two unfortunate accidents. Seven of them died in the explosion of the Challenger shuttle in 1986, less than two minutes after its launch, as the shuttle scattered across the Kennedy Space Center in front of the eyes of hundreds of spectators who were cheerfully watching the launch before the disaster struck.
As for the shuttle Columbia, which carried seven astronauts on board, it also crashed in a similar accident, but this happened during the shuttle’s return from its mission in 2003, as it crashed while entering the Earth’s atmosphere, and all the crew members died in it.
Journey to Mars
If you are excited about the possibility of exploring Mars. You can learn about NASA’s plans to explore the red planet in deep space, as the wing of this planet sheds light on what is happening now at NASA and the plans, mechanisms and vehicles that are being tested to travel on the surface of this planet, including the Rover Vehicle Navigator or MRVN.
If you want to witness in Umm Al-Ain the launch of a missile from the station, all you have to do is head to the place on the fifth of December, where SpaceX is scheduled to launch a Falcon 9 missile from the launch complex in the center.
Measures to prevent corona
At the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, visitors get a rare opportunity to meet veteran astronauts at NASA. Commanders, pilots and specialists talk to people, and convey their experiences in space to them, during a live presentation and question-and-answer session, enabling attendees to ask any question that comes to their mind.
However, the safety measures related to the COVID-19 epidemic have made the measures taken here more stringent, and have reduced some activities accompanying the visit, including, for example, having dinner with an astronaut or taking pictures with him.
Although temperature checks are mandatory for all employees, workers and guests, and sterilization and disinfection are carried out around the clock, all theaters and pre-shows are open with a very limited capacity to enhance social distancing.
The Kennedy Space Center grounds are a nature reserve
Visiting this place cannot be summarized in words or with one article, as there is a lot to talk about and test, which lengthens the conversation and may need several episodes, there is also the Astronaut Hall of Fame in America, which is a presentation by Boeing in which astronauts and scientists are honored.
There is also a special pavilion that displays the most important organisms that live on the land of the center, that is, on Merritt Island, southeast Florida. Note that the island’s lands are protected lands and hunting or hunting is prohibited in it, according to a set of laws to protect nature launched by NASA on the center’s land, which has an area of more than 144 thousand acres (582.7 km2), which provided a safe environment for a good group of living creatures, specifically crocodiles. Frogs, raccoons, turtles, snakes, pigs, squirrels, etc., in addition to a very diverse group of birds.
Let the memento be meteorite
It is not possible to leave this place without visiting the souvenirs section and keeping even a small souvenir. The souvenir may be a mockup of a spacecraft or a shuttle, or a mug with a graphic of the NASA logo or pictures of astronauts on multiple trips, or you can even buy a meteorite, in various sizes and shapes, and the price of one meteorite ranges between $ 30 and $ 20,000.
Along with the meteor, you will receive a document proving that this solid piece is not an ordinary stone. And if you are obsessed with astronomy, then such a visit may be the most important event in your life, and even if it is not like that, entering this place will not be the same as leaving it, because it may change your view of science, the world and existence. Here you will expand your horizons and be more ready for the future.