Posts Tagged ‘Kennedy Space Center’

Endeavour’s Departure

September 23, 2012

I had the opportunity to watch Endeavour fly away from Kennedy Space Center one last time.

Endeavour on the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft flying by

While I didn’t get a picture of her, astronaut Kay Hire was there and greeted everyone lined up in front waiting for a good view.

I finally put the photos up today. I think they came out a little better this time around then the pictures of Discovery’s departure. This time I used a different lens, a 300mm with a wider aperture instead of a 100-400mm . The aperture helped to get better quality pictures, but the focal length prevented getting the whole orbiter or its carrier in the picture when they were on the runway. On the positive side, the names if the crew of the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft are readable in a few of the pictures. They are below the cockpit of the 747. There was more haze in the air this time, so some pictures lacked contrast. I did what I could, but it made ISO 200 look more like 1600.

I learned that Tom the bus driver still works there. He still talks a lot, and he gets easily distracted by alligators.

They also started to charge for parking at the visitor center. I suppose that unwelcome change was inevitable.


TOM, the KSC bus driver

February 14, 2010

I went to the Kennedy Space Center last week to watch an Atlas V launch the Solar Dynamics Observatory. The closest spot to view Atlas launches from pad 41 without some special arrangement is the Apollo Center, about 5.4 miles or 8.7 kilometers away. To get there, I had to take a bus from the main visitor center.

The TOM was the bus driver. He introduced himself as a space nut; emphasis should be placed on nut. He talked the whole time he drove, telling several stories and factoids. I didn’t mind it at all. It was a good break from the videos I kept seeing a day earlier when I came for the first launch attempt. Those videos wanted to tell me that I couldn’t imagine certain things. Even stranger was the device someone at NASA was (is?) working on using the latest in aviation technology to tell parents when they leave their kids in their car. They didn’t tell me that I cannot imagine what the stupid-parent-alarm needs that wasn’t available as an off-the-shelf component ten years ago, but I just can’t until I start thinking about how to make it needlessly complex. I should hope most parents are responsible enough not to need such a device.

The TOM kept me from the dull videos, which was nice even though he repeated a few details at least three times. I didn’t mind that he kept using the phrase “the whole wide world.” Then he stopped the bus, but didn’t open the door. He kept talking. Other buses arrived behind us and unloaded, but he kept talking. The TOM didn’t shut up and open the door for five minutes after the bus arrived.

The TOM had only once joked that his name was an acronym. Clearly it stands for Terribly Obnoxious Man. I wanted to get a good view of the Atlas V launch, something the TOM knew was happening, but he was not helping.

False Steps

The Space Race as it might have been

You Control The Action!

High Frontier

the space colony simulation game

Simple Climate

Straightforwardly explaining climate change, so you can read, react and then get on with your life.