Sunday, June 21, 2009

Random Images from the Florida Trip

The images that follow are random to the extent that has a bass-ackwards photo-uploading application that only allows you to load five pics at a time and then you're never sure what order they'll load. Oh yes, and the app also shoves any uploaded images to the very top of the blog, which means you have to drag all your images to wherever you want them. I like the site generally, but some of the specifics make me crazy. In any case, the images below are actually in reverse chronological order because undoing the work isn't worth the effort. However, at some point and I are going to have words...

Okay, so on my last day at KSC, I borrowed a Flip camera from the Public Affairs Office (PAO) and needed to return it so they could use it for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter launch. The Media Center at Launch Complex 39 opens at 0800, and I was there at 0730. So I sat in the shade, looked up, and saw all these buzzards lurking around on the rooftops. I mean, really. I could make a comment about the media or something, but really--these were flat-out vultures hanging out there.

American flag, space shuttle on the launch pad...HOO-wah! A little moment of patriotism to brighten the day!

The media site for LC 39 is about two miles away from the launch pad, across the street from the Vehicle Assembly Building. The Shuttle now uses LC 39A only. LC 39B has been turned over to the Constellation Program for the Ares I-X flight.

Below is LC 39B. The three tall antenna-looking structures are actually really friggin' big lightning rods--over 500 feet tall.

Since I was in the media center, I decided to take some pictures inside as well. This is where reporters go to be "live" for Shuttle launches.

This is one of the covered barges NASA uses to transport the Shuttle's External Tanks.

Took a brief tour of the Kennedy Space Center. I got a free day pass for STS-127, but it didn't cover the IMAX theater or tours. The picture below is a front-end view of the Saturn IB--Apollo's equivalent to the Ares I crew launch vehicle.

A view of the KSC "Rocket Garden."

I got in a little time at University of Central Florida. This terrapin shell in the lobby set off my creative juices, and I considered posting the following ad underneath it:
"Foreclosure sale: shell, 2.5 square feet, lived in once, no points, financing negotiable, open to all buyers, reptiles welcome."

The library entry way/lobby has gotten rather upscale since I graduated in '02. The coffee shop here is new.

20 years ago, my dorm snack shop at NIU got two six-packs of Jolt Cola a week. I bought one of them, and I was considered a little wound up. Now they sell vending machines codifying the caffeineated lifestyle. Progress?

The building below is where I spent most of my time at UCF: Colbourn Hall, where the English Department resides. My tour was quiet because classes were out (thus the lack of people in the photos). It was also difficult for me to judge whether some of the buildings were new since I graduated or just new to me. I was very task-focused at UCF, and didn't see a lot of the rest of the campus.

This is what a Shuttle "scrub" looks like at 0300 when you haven't even left your hotel yet. The second scrub happened at around 0130. I was NOT amused, as I'd given up quite a bit of sleep. The scrubs bumped the LRO launch, so on a trip that theoretically allowed me to see Shuttle and LRO launch, I saw neither. True, I was there for work, but jeeeeez. LRO launched an hour after I got home. I know, b!#$@, b!#$@, b!#$@. On the plus side, I did get to hang out with Dede, Fred, KT, Father Dan, and Marilyn during my down time. And the weather was the way I like it in central Florida: hot und schticky, ja!

That's about it on my pics for this trip. I got some others from the Vehicle Assembly Building, and I'm still awaiting approvals on my pictures of the Ares I-X Launch Control Center. But I'd have to say this was a rather uneven week in terms of fun. So it goes.

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