This week, I was able to realize a dream I’ve had since I was little: to visit the Kennedy Space Center and see Cape Canaveral, the launch site for the moon missions and the space shuttles.
It was a little over 50 years ago that President John F. Kennedy challenged the United States to send a person to the moon and bring him back safely before the decade was out. NASA realized his vision in 1969 and people went to the moon and returned safely. The Kennedy Space Center highlights the achievements of the moon missions, the Saturn V rocket, spacesuits, samples of moon rocks, and lunar rovers.
When the moon missions ended, the space shuttle took over and only recently finished its tenure as the successor to the Saturn V. The retired space shuttle Atlantis is now on permanent display, along with other equipment used during the shuttle missions.
The best part of the visit for me was a chance to ride a shuttle launch simulator. It simulates a typical launch experience that astronauts would have felt during tier missions. It is an informative, albeit bone jarring, unnerving experience that gave me a new respect for what the astronauts went through on those missions.