NASA, Jan 2000
Corey Johnson invited us to go to NASA and work for a few days on a controlled environment experiment, in return for a behind-the-scenes tour if possible and time in Florida in winter. Being the curious type we said SURE!!! We're not rocket scientists, but we got to pretend.
We Were There
Angelica by the building sign for the "Little L" building. A "we were there" pic for sure. This is the building where she worked.
Mike by the building sign for Hangar L. Where Mike did his part of the image analysis. The rest of the time was in Little L.
Behind the wheel of a NASA truck. Didn't really drive it though they're looking for a driver. I smell a career change...
Wooflet and Spaceman Spiff at Lan Phang's lab. They sat in this corner while we worked most of the time.
Wooflet and Spaceman Spiff checking out a spectrum analyzer. Pretty high tech. We worked on the computer to the right of this pic, you can see the mouse.
Some of the rest of Lan Phang's lab. With the patience of a saint and a cheery disposition, Lan Phang weathered six people descending on her lab, taking most of her space, and generally making a mess. Corey was really good about cleaning up, which doubtless helped.
Anybody can go to the visitor's center. If you don't go on the tour or to any IMAX movies you can walk around the visitor's center for free. The good stuff is on the tour, like the Apollo (on the ground). But you can walk the Rocket Garden and look at the shuttle on the grounds, not bad. Wish I'd known that before I bought a ticket!
Tank & booster assembly of the display shuttle, business end.
Tank & booster assembly of the display shuttle, pointy end.
(my pics of the display shuttle are apparently on physical film, in that camera)
Sputnik capsule and booster hanging from the ceiling of the new building.
Launch Pad, aka the snack bar.
Some neat topiary.
Closer view of same topiary.
Engine from a Saturn 5. They're big.
Got this pic for Mom. She's a fan.
Corey arranged for us to have a "Gold Tour". Charlie, director of Biomed Research (I think), took us to the ISS Assembly area (where we saw a section of the International Space Station tower), VAB (empty and HUGE!), ORP-3 (where we saw Atlantis being refitted for it's next mission), and the launch pad (where we saw Endeavor waiting for it's next big moment). Every kids dream. Only thing better would be hours and hours on the pad poking around, and going for a ride yourself.
View from the North of Pad 39a, loaded but not primed. Endeavor is up for the next launch. It was originally scheduled to go while we were there but the launch was delayed, and delayed again... This is from the ring road around the pad.
Approaching the pad. It was hard to believe when we were waved through to go to the pad!
View up the booster and main fuel tank from ground level underneath. Yeah, we were really there. We also got to go up to gantry level and to "ground zero", the top of the launch platform. No cameras allowed, but an unforgettable experience. Construction is similar to battleship -- big plates and lots of welding. The big pipes are water dumps; they go through 325,000 gallons of water in the first 30 seconds.
Water outlets. When you see the water filling the trenches, this is where a lot of it comes from. You can barely see the openings for the solid rocket boosters in the platform overhead. There are also 'rainbirds' the size of 400 gallon drums on top of the platform which cover it in 6 inches of water to dampen vibration and thermal shock on the 3 inch thick steel top pad.