So the Space Shuttle Endeavor launched for the last time yesterday morning, and I wasn’t there to see it. But two weeks ago I was at the Kennedy Space Center for the first launch attempt, and the experience was truly amazing, even without a launch.
The VAB is something I’d always wanted to see, and to be able to tour the inside was something I’d only dreamed of. Here’s a shot looking straight up at the ceiling. There are 520 feet between my lens and those skylights.
My favorite thing about the VAB is its history. It was built to allow vertical (the original V) assembly of the Saturn V rockets used in the Apollo missions. So it’s not a pristine, new building. It’s littered with hints at its stunning past in facilitating the single greatest accomplishment of our species. Check out this little hallway you use to access the elevators. It’s like something from the set of a John Carpenter movie in the ’80s.
I got close to Endeavor, but didn’t actually see much of her because of the Rotating Service Structure that protects the orbiter on the pad.
I did witness something historic. This was the first launch scrub that occured while the atronauts were in-route to the launch pad. We watched them drive by in their Astrovan (yes), pause at the VAB, and then turn around and head back! Only then did we realize the launch had been scrubbed.
Experiencing the reality of the difficulties and unprecictability of space flight was a bittersweet end to my trip to KSC, but the experience as a whole was something I’ll rememebr forever.