On Thanksgiving Day we returned to Kennedy Space Centre . Jane @jhjones wanted to share with me the memorial wall to fallen space explorers. This magnificent structure of polished granite reflected the blue sky, white cumulus, and the American flag amongst the Astronaut names which were pierced by sun beams of remembrance.
Our morning included a pseudo trip to Mars, the Exploration Space experience, and of course mini Tweetups with pink tagged busy Tweeps including @bphuettner @Conductor222 .
Lunch with the enigmatic #labcoatbear in the rocket garden was unmissable, another opportunity to enjoy some Florida rays and good conversation.
Afterwards a long walk on Cocoa Beach was fresh, warm and therapeutic. Somehow I resisted urges to run into the sea which was so inviting. This beach is like a gigantic version of Keel on Achill in Ireland, it included formation flying pelicans adding a Jurassic feel to the wildness.
Flounder with lots of Florida shrimp at the very Hemmingway 'ish Sunset Waterfront Bar & Grill completed our day, we were joined by some of Jane’s colleagues just after the sun bowed out spectacularly on the space coast.
NASATweetup at the Twent Friday November 25th
At the badging office circa very early I met two of the dynamic Stephanie’s @schierholz and @stephist with @doug_ellison . Then I introduced myself to the other foreign nationals including @FailedProtostar for transport to the NASA base.
Fully processed and complete with @LockheedMartin souvenir sweatshirt I came to stand within a few yards of the VAB. The Tweetup Twent was huge and accommodated tightly the 150 Tweetup worker bees 🙂 many of whom were already tweeting away at a rate of knots. Within a short while I had access to KSCCOMM- PRESS Wi -Fi via my encryption key - my Twitterportal to the world was open for business. Trent Perotto @NASA and @NASAJPL gave a welcoming talk and he was followed by Dr Jim Green, and a host of other NASA/ JPL science and engineering glitterati. My Tweeting was too my delight being picked up and RT'ed at home in Ireland , in the UK and USA. A fast lunch before an amazing tour of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the VAB, and my ’ have to see’ moment the Saturn V rocket.
Bus 2 was my ride for the afternoon, our guide was a wonderful passionate young woman Kimberly Goudace. I have to admire the professionalism of all NASA and JPL staff who together made the Tweetup event an unforgettable experience. If any of them had to be at their work at 4am, 5am, 6am they were on duty with a smile and a positive attitude even if they were in unfamiliar time zones. Kimberley did not even have a job; she was a former Space Shuttle engineer who still carried out her work to the n’th degree.
As we walked through the VAB her enthusiasm and knowledge filled the enormous void as she led us to the penultimate surprise, a close up view of Endeavour. This shuttle was being prepared for its museum 'shelf life after space' trip to California.
The Saturn V experience for me was joyous and profound, nothing could have prepared me for the encounter and size of this lets go to the Moon vehicle. My first reaction was how will I get this into my camera? Then I made a spontaneous unscripted video
( below in my website link) where all my knowledge of the rocket went out the window as years of anticipation poured out forever.
At launch pad 34 we were kindly allowed to walk around and ponder the loss of life at this place. The past’s devastation visible in deconstructed remains of tormented concrete and twisted metal.
The beautiful sunset light yellowed the bareness and touched our souls as crepuscular rays created nature’s memorial to the Apollo 1 astronauts lost to a fire in the challenge of exploring space. LAUNCH COMPLEX 34Friday, 27 January 1967 18:31 Hours
More images here on my website blog