Friday December 26 2008

Following our breakfast, it seemed fitting to go for lunch with a man who had eaten very similar things aboard the Space Shuttle. The Kennedy Space Center offers the chance to dine with a real astronaut every so often, and when I found this out I got incredibly excited and insisted on being taken. When we got there it appeared that this emotion was not uncommon – well, certainly amongst the under-12s, at any rate. There were plenty of adults there, however, so it wasn’t too strange. The food was an excellent cruise-ship style buffet with salad, chicken, macaroni and cheese, mixed vegetables, mini corn dogs and three different types of cake (red velvet, devil’s food and carrot), which were all delicious. Story Musgrave (for it was he) has been into space six times and was part of the Apollo B team, who were to take over if the A team became ill, got blown up or simply chickened out. Sadly for him, the plug was pulled on Apollo before he got a chance to go to the moon (the Apollo 17 astronauts were on there for nearly a week) but he became a Shuttle pilot instead and has also worked aboard the ISS.

Following our lunch, we took the bus to the viewing area where you can see the Vehicle Assembly Building and the launch pads. Unfortunately, the next Shuttle launch is only in February. From there, the bus went on to the Saturn V and Apollo exhibition, where an actual Saturn V rocket is on display, in all its phallic glory. Of course, Andrea Dworkin found the shape of rockets to be upsetting and this, the largest rocket built by NASA, with enough power to shoot someone to the moon, would have been very upsetting.

Onwards and upwards, we took our third bus to the ISS complex, where we could step through a mock up of the ISS itself (in its sadly attenuated format) and spy on what was going into space next.

Back to the main centre, Trellis insisted on going on the launch simulator, but I chickened out at the last minute, as the combination of harsh vibrations and loud noises was less appealing when I considered the delicate state of my barely recovered insides.

We intended to go to a diner for our dinner, but ended up at a Wynn-Dixie where we bought chicken and pickles and other dainties, and ate them picnic style on our hotel room floor. We discovered instant root beer floats, which contain a widget to give the foam, just like bottled draught beer.

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