Kennedy Space Center has a way of making you feel small.
It’s not just the towering rockets and expansive buildings at the multi-building facility near Cape Canaveral. It’s a feeling of being immersed in the history of the U.S. space program, the triumph of Apollo 11 and the tragedies of Apollo 1 and two space shuttle voyages. It’s a feeling that the people who were on the front end of space travel were bigger than life.
On a recent Florida trip, my wife, Patty, and I ventured to Merritt Island and our first trip to the space center.
I marveled at the 1962 Mercury Mission Control room, a Gemini spacecraft and a Mars Rover, which was like something out of a certain movie. Alan Shepherd’s statue greets you at the entrance of the U.S. Astronauts Hall of Fame, a place that gives you chills. Examining displays for space heroes like Shepherd, John Glenn and Neil Armstrong kind of makes you feel like you didn’t do much with your own life. These were the ultimate high achievers.
The Space Shuttle Atlantis was a highlight for my wife and me. It was fascinating to hear how scientists developed the radical idea of the reusable space craft and sobering to see the faces of the crews of Challenger and Columbia who died in flight.
Kennedy has something for everyone, some of it pleasantly quirky. I even took a photo of the toilets used on the space station under the sign that asked “Where Do Astronauts Go?” Now I know.
I highly recommend a stop at Kennedy if you’re ever in the neighborhood. But be prepared to feel small.