Saturday, March 17, 2012

Fly me to the moon ...

'Colossal' wouldn't begin to describe the rocket ultimately designed and built to allow humans to escape earth's gravitational grip and propel them to the moon. The Kennedy Space Center (KSC) at Cape Canaveral, Florida has one of two brand new, never-been-used Saturn V rockets on display. It is breath-taking to stand beneath this behemoth and imagine its power.

The first stage used 5 F-1 engines which produced 1,500,000 lbs of thrust each:

The second stage was powered by 5 J-2 engines which produced a total thrust of 1,250,000 lbs.

The third stage had one J-2 engine which produced 250,000 lbs of thrust.

The Saturn V is accompanied by displays of the manned Apollo mission insignias.

On top of the Saturn V are situated the service, lunar, and command modules, as well as the launch escape rocket at the very top which was designed to remove the astronauts from harm's way in the event of a launch mishap. Fortunately it never had to be used.

Also on display is the actual command module from the Apollo 14 mission.

The last image I'll leave you with is of the lunar rover training vehicle used to help moon-bound astronauts earn their lunar drivers license.

If you're interested, there's a wealth of information on the Saturn V, and NASA has done a stellar job of documenting the history of space flight.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Wish you were here ...

Maybe it is the memories
the change of pace that brings us there
the sense of vacation
maybe the smell of the place
the sights of the gulls, the dunes, the grasses
but oh it is the feel of it,
the crunch and slide of it
the feeling of beach sand
so different from dirt, soil, loam
no, not earthy, moist, rich,
but oh so granular and gritty
even when wet,
moveable paper spreading under toes
sliding beneath the soles
smoothing my skin
clearing my mind
unburdening me of the rest
drawing me to the tactile, the feel
of beach sand

Beach Sand by Raymond A. Foss

Monday, March 5, 2012

To those who've slipped the surly bonds of earth

My son and I were up at the crack of dawn to make the 4-hour drive to the Kennedy Space Center this past week. [I'm not a shill for paid attractions, but if you haven't been here, I'd add it to your bucket list]. KSC is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. One day is not sufficient for a space enthusiast to see it all, and I can only give you a glimpse of what we saw and experienced. A glorious sunset capped off the day as we left the center. (perhaps I'll share some more of our KSC visit in between guests, when I hope to resume visiting you too)

(click on photo for better view)