Posted: 9:14 am Monday, July 18th, 2016
By Ann Kelly
There was a moment as I was driving over to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and my GPS was happily chatting away with directions when I realized the words I was hearing carried a tremendous amount of history. The Challenger Memorial Parkway, Columbia Blvd, NASA Parkway. But from that first glimpse of towering monuments to the space program in the Rocket Garden, the emotional visit to the Astronaut Memorial and the almost overwhelming first glimpse of the Shuttle Atlantis Experience I was carried back to watching so many launches and reliving the many successful missions. And viewing the somber reminders of the ones that broke our hearts as a nation.
That is just a small taste of what awaits you as you relieve the many moments in history not just on display, but in the making. I can honestly say standing beneath the shuttles booster rocket in front of The Atlantis Experience made me feel very small, and very human. That human touch is what made my time at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex so special. It’s the many people both behind the scenes and up front that brings so much history to life and look forward to the many exciting missions to come.
I did enjoy having lunch with Veteran astronaut Ken Cameron and that’s something you can add to your visit as well. Ken’s insights into his time in the program were both fun and fascinating. He commanded mission STS-56 Discovery which carried ATLAS-2 as well as STS-74 Atlantis which was the second rendezvous with Russian Space Station Mir. It was getting to know the Russians as people first, according to the Commander, is what made it much easy to trust and work with them. That, along with not breaking the first rule of working with another crew – don’t break the other guy’s spaceship! My own international experience at lunch with was a nice couple from Melbourne, Australia. Jan and Tony were enjoying their own Florida experience and were just as thrilled as I was to meet a real American hero like Ken.
The future is incredibly exciting at Kennedy. When you’re on the bus tour you’ll notice the SpaceX and Boeing Company buildings that NASA is partners with as part of the commercial space industry; you’ll hear about the importance of the International Space Station (ISS) and upcoming launches. That’s next on my list for another visit. To finally be there on a launch day. While you’re enjoying your visit, don’t forget to take on the fun challenge of the Cosmic Quest interactive game experience that features real NASA missions that you can only find at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. It’s something you can enjoy while touring the Center and another memory to bring home with your very own Commanders Badge. Join me on a wonderful, historic and exciting Ann-Venture at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor’s Complex with my photo gallery. To plan your own day just click here.