Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lights, Camera, Launch!!

When I think of Florida, I think of...

palm trees
the rat (I mean Disney)
the Daytona 500
and I Dream of Jeanie
just to name a few.

When I was growing up I loved watching I dream of Jeanie not to mention, Cocoa Beach was such a cool name for a beach!

I'm cuckoo for cocoa puffs!

that just came out of nowhere!

excuse me.

NASA is such a big part of Florida that I'm truly sad the era of the shuttle is over.  One more shuttle is scheduled to go up, it's been delayed several times and now it's departure date is Nov 30th, 2010.   I have never been to Kennedy Space Center in Cocoa Beach, but I have witnessed several shuttle launches from the beach and again from my driveway when we lived in Daytona Beach.

The lights that illuminate one section of the Saturn Rocket at night

What has completely escaped my mind is that NASA is not only in Florida.

When I pulled into the Alabama Welcome Center Rest Area on I-65 just South of the Tennessee border I was amazed to see a rocket!

It was a real Saturn 1B rocket and it was pretty amazing.

There was a nice big display with several of these informational boards that explained the missions of the Saturn Rockets.   One board explained that the Saturn Rocket missions had a 100% success rate and put 12 Americans on the moon. 

It's a given now that we've had men on the moon, but when this installation was placed in the Welcome Center in Alabama, it was 1979.  The first man on the moon had only been 10 years earlier.   

That is just some incredible stuff and some very very brave men.

I stopped at almost all of the Welcome Center rest areas as I got to them in each state.  I find that there was always something interesting to see, but I have to say that the rocket was by far the best rest area art I've ever seen.

( technically it isn't art as much as it's history, but rest area history didn't sound as interesting!)

This last photo was an aerial view from Google Maps.  I wasn't airborn at all on my trip home, thankfully!

The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is located in Huntsville, Alabama - just a few miles from this installation. The center was opened in 1970 and has been continuously updated and improved as technology and space exploration has opened up our way of looking at the world and space.

 NASA's reach is nationwide, (Universal, actually!) even though I only think of Florida.  However, I now know that Alabama shares in the NASA history, both past and present.  Congratulations Alabama for being a part of such an exciting part of U.S. space exploration.

Have a great day!


jb said...

I have been to Cocoa Beach...with YOUR sister! I even made her pose in the "rocket garden"...I have got to find those snaps!!! LOVE the Kennedy Space Center and our space program! To infinity and beyond!

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Very interesting, thank you for the history lesson. We use to vacation in New Smyrna Beach.

42N said...

I've been there (NASA.) Loved it. Would be nice to see a launch and landing there. Hope you can get some photos before the shuttle fleet retires.