Monday, November 18, 2013

We Choose to go to the Moon

“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things. Not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”  John F. Kennedy

As noted in my prior post, while visiting Kennedy Space Center  (KSC) I took the Mega Tour. And this tour, like all of the others, ends at the Apollo/Saturn V Center.

When I had visited KSC in the early 1980's, there was a Saturn V rocket lying on its side outside what was then the visitor center, slowly weathering away. Now that rocket is housed in it's own museum, the afore mentioned Apollo/Saturn V Center.

As you might imagine, it takes a large building to house a large rocket. The rocket is mounted in sections above you. And as you can see I was fortunate to be there on a light day, so I had no crowds to contend with. Very nice.

Before you get to the rocket you are led through two small theaters, showing historical footage related to the space program and to the tenor of the times, the rather tumultuous sixties. This prelude ends in a rebuilt mission control, using the original consoles, with the countdown to the launch of Apollo 11.

And then it is off to the rocket.

You begin at the business end of a machine built to go to the moon.

And work your way forward stage by stage.

Some of the stages are left over components from flights canceled because we needed to spend our money on more important things, like killing people in Vietnam (sadly not too different from today).

Other parts are models, built for training or even for this museum.

And some, like this Apollo 14 capsule, are the real deal.

While the one hanging overhead was a model.

My favorite spacecraft was easily the Lunar Module. It just seemed so un-spaceship like. And that appealed to me. It was different.

And of course I so much wanted to ride on the Lunar Rover.

The Apollo project was the stuff of my dreams as a kid. And it was very cool to revisit those dreams for a day. On this coming Wednesday, 11/20/2013, it will be fifty years since the president who started us on the path to the moon, and for whom the space center is named, was assassinated. Did he too dream of the moon? Or was it all just politics? 

What would he make of the fact that the United States, the nation that made the man on the moon a reality, has no capability to launch a man into space?

I trust he would find that very sad and disappointing. Just as I do.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bout time we got off our ASSes and went back and beyonf!