Written by the Warrior

 

After an amazing first day at the Kennedy Space Centre, where we got to see real rockets, an actual space shuttle and went on a space shuttle launch simulator… I wondered whether day 2 could possible measure up.

Rest assured, our day 2 was even better!

After a great night sleep, we headed back to the Kennedy Space Centre, ready to explore the rest of what the visitor’s complex had to offer.

Our first stop was Mission Status Briefing where the entrance looked very new age.

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At Mission Status Briefing, we learned about the Kennedy Space Centre complex, the Cape Canaveral Airforce Station, the various launch pads and the newest programs at NASA.

Then we encountered an astronaut, named Sam Gemar.

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He is a veteran astronaut who flew on three shuttle missions and we got to hear about his life as an astronaut. He talked about his training as an Engineer in the military before being selected as the youngest astronaut and the only one at the time from the army, his training at the Johnson Space Centre in Houston Texas, the preparation for the launches, the hardest part about being an astronaut, compartmentalizing his emotions (like most Engineers do), his experience during the missions, how he goes to the bathroom in space, etc…

Then we went on a journey to Mars, of course!

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And met the Mars rover family!

We then headed to a different building to learned a little more about Merritt Island.

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And its floral and fauna…

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While the photos of day 2 are less impressive than those of day 1, for us, all of our favourite experiences of the Kennedy Space Centre took place on day 2.

For the Dragon, his favourite experience was the Children’s Play Dome.

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Even though we paid $60US for him to visit a place exhibiting incredible human ingenuity, all he really wanted to do over the two days was play on this (I must admit) pretty awesome play structure.

For the Tiger Princess, this was her favourite experience.

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While it was simply soft serve vanilla ice cream, who could argue its awesomeness on a 30 degree C Christmas Day in Florida? Besides, isn’t ice cream always a favourite part of our childhood?

As for me, my favourite part of the Kennedy Space Centre was the opportunity to meet a former astronaut.

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I must note that I currently work for a former astronaut. Ironically, this astronaut was way more accessible.

As humans, I think that we are always fascinated with celebrities, since they seem to be bigger than life. For me personally, while I have never aspired to be an astronaut, I do think that they embody the epitome of human achievement. While many people can be impressive, such as Olympic athletes, most people excel only in one or two areas. To me, astronauts embody the best of the best in many areas, as they are all incredibly intelligent, accomplished in multitude of disciplines/areas, mentally and physically tough, and brave – let’s face it, not too many of us are keen to test out a never used machine to go into space for the first time.

I realized even more importantly that behind each astronaut, is a village of thousands of incredible people who’s achievements enabled them to be first and foremost – alive and of course successful. The training staff, the missions staff, the scientists and engineers around the world advancing technologies for space exploration, and the visionaries past and present – who challenge us to push the limits of science.

I draw some parallel to myself. I have always felt that it took at least two or three villages to raise me. And these days, I often feel over the hill… Parts just don’t seem to be working the way they used to, and when I get injured, I so don’t heal the way I used to. So, here comes the reason why this experience was my favourite part of the Kennedy Space Centre. It was because I realized that, most astronauts enter their prime between the ages of 37 and 45. It makes complete sense that it takes time and life experience to develop the mental readiness and maturity for this type of work. So in astronaut years, I am really just entering my prime! How cool is that?!

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