Tuesday, October 19, 2010

10/18/2010 DITTO LANDING, HUNTSVILLE, AL AND U.S. SPACE & ROCKET CENTER

SPACE CENTER, HERE WE COME!

MONDAY

TOTAL MILES TRAVELED TODAY: 0 NM

Our first call this morning was to the local Enterprise Car Rental. They were prompt in picking us up and gave us a nice Dodge Dakota pickup truck. Not wanting to waste an opportunity, we made our first stop at the Mattress King where we purchased a new queen sized mattress for our stateroom. We had just come to the conclusion that maybe the old one was not so comfortable.



The aerospace industry here in Huntsville has turned this once quiet country town into a bustling city. It all began with Dr. Wernher von Braun and his fellow German scientist that snuck out of Germany and surrendered to the American forces in the latter part of WW II. This team later came to the Fort Bliss, TX, to work on the Army’s fast growing rocket program. By 1950, von Braun and his team had been relocated to the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville. This team was responsible for the 1958 launch of Explorer 1, our first earth orbiting satellite. These “movers and shakers” continued to open the doors that allowed the U.S. to develop its successful space program.

Wernher von Braun walking with President Kenne...Image via Wikipedia
WERNHER VON BRAUN AND PRESIDENT KENNEDY IN 1963
Lucky us that the U.S. Space and Rocket Center is here and open for the public’s pleasure and education. We entered the grounds with high expectations and were more than delighted with all we were to experience. We were first greeted by the sleek A-12 Blackbird and towering Saturn V replica. Wow!!


U.S. SPACE & ROCKET CENTER

DAN AND THE BLACKBIRD

THE A-12 FACTS

WHOA!  LOOKING WAY, WAY UP THE SATURN V REPLICA

In the museum we could walk around a Saturn V Rocket that was suspended low and horizontally for our inspection. We also saw the massive Saturn V engines and a good model demonstrating the workings of one of these F-1 engines. Seeing the command module from Apollo 13, the only part left intact, was remarkable. The IMAX presentation on the Hubble Telescope was most informative and full of interesting facts and amusing anecdotes of the missions involved with its placement and maintenance. The information gained from this one piece of equipment has greatly impacted our knowledge of the vast space out there.


EXHAUST FROM SATURN V ENGINES

THE F-1 ENGINE

LABELED DIAGRAM OF THE F-1
The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) begins its se...Image via Wikipedia
THE HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE AS IT BEGINS SEPARATION FROM THE SHUTTLE DISCOVERY

APOLLO 13


After our adventures at the Space and Rocket Center, we drove to the Mattress King warehouse, loaded up our new bed and headed back to Quest. Now the fun began! We had to remove the old mattress, cart it out of the narrow hall and out the doors, heft it down the wobbly stairs and dispose of it in some unsuspecting dumpster. Dan, the one man wonder, then single-handed carted the new, heftier mattress from the truck, down the ramp and over to Quest. We tugged and shoved and finally got it positioned back in our stateroom. Ah! Nice!

AT THE WAREHOUSE

OLD MATTRESS READY FOR DISPOSAL

DAN, THE ONE MAN MOVER

So it was BBQ night for us, Southern Pork BBQ. We found the recommended Gibson’s Bar-B-Q and “pigged out”, so to speak. We each had a pork plate with the mandatory coleslaw and hushpuppies. It was quite a yummy dinner.

GIBSON'S BAR-B-Q

TOO MUCH PORK FOR JUST ONE FORK!


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2 comments:

  1. :) :)
    It's hard to comment about the space hardware and the.... mattress at the same time. But I'll go with the aerospace stuff. An engine that you can disappear in???? Sorry but that's just too cool/crazy. And an SR71???? Faster than fast.... Yep... wins hands down

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