Launching the Shuttles

At the time of my last tour of Kennedy Space Center, it was the last time that there would ever be two shuttles rolled out and ready on the launchpads simultaneously.

This was a special event, as it marked probably the only time visitors (friends and family of employees) were allowed to walk onto the launch complex with shuttles.  It wasn’t unusual to tour the OPF bays with shuttles being worked on, but this was new.  It was breathtaking. You just can’t imagine how big the things are until you stand near them.  I will never forget walking across the scaffolding 20 stories up and realizing I was the same size as the meatball (the NASA logo on the side).  Truly huge.

The launchpads were designed to withstand the heat from launches.  There are special wash systems that discharge water at an astonishing rate to disseminate both heat, and chemicals released as a side effect of launch.  Even so, burn marks and cracks are evident. The sound and heat waves of a launch affects the V.A.B. (over two miles away) causing it to “sing.” The effect is eerie to say the least.

The launch pads are being torn down now. With the uncertain future of manned space flight, they are no longer needed.  You can read more about Launch complex 39-A and 39-B here.

Launch Complex 39-A and 39-B

This is Space Week on my Blog, maybe you didn’t know.

Here are the last days posts

More than a Shuttle Launch

Space Trivia-Ares Launch Module

Inside the VAB

I don’t mind if you share my articles and photos, but please give a link back, and give credit.  The photos and words are my creation and are covered under U.S. Copyright law.

One thought on “Launching the Shuttles

  1. Pingback: To Infinity and Beyond! | Swamped

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