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Follow my mildly nomadic life as I stumble my way around the UK and sometimes the world.

Kennedy Space Centre, Cape Canaveral

If you're going to Florida, chances are that you are going to be visiting the theme parks and water parks and staying somewhere close to Downtown Disney. Florida is known in Europe for it's theme parks and amazing all year round sunshine, after all it isn't nicknamed the 'Sunshine State' for no reason.

 Source:  Google Maps

Source: Google Maps

However, if you find yourself in Florida with access to your own transport then it opens up some other amazing activities just like this one, the Kennedy Space Centre. Located at Cape Canaveral, around an hour or so directly East of Downtown Orlando it's a pretty easy to get to and something that any space fan should go and see!

Now, once you arrive you're greeted by a number of large spaceships just like this one on the right.

Just as you enter there is almost a graveyard, only much more aesthetically pleasing than an actual graveyard, of old spaceships that once took various bits and bobs beyond our atmosphere into outer space.

All of them have their own stories attached to them and you can get right up close and personal to all of them.

Now, once you're inside of the complex and you've taken a look at all of the old timers, you're encouraged to take the bus tour around the cape itself.

You jump into a super cool retro bus and you're taken on a guided tour around the grounds of the NASA launch centre down towards the waters edge.

 

Retro buses that take you on the tours

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My pictures from the tour were nothing to write home about unfortunately, it's the luck of the draw when it comes to picking the right side to sit on and I wasn't lucky at all on the day.

I did manage to capture a couple of things from afar and one of the buildings I did shoot was the huge building that houses new spaceship builds for NASA. Now it may not look like anything of any size in that picture but what our tour guide (pictured on the left) told us was that the flag you see on that building is 21 stories high, and the bus we're in could drive comfortably down the stripes of that flag. I don't know about you but that but things into perspective a little, I was blown away by the size of this building and I can assure you that the closer you get the more incredible it gets!

The bus then continued around the launch sites of old Space missions as well as taking us past a launch pad that was holding a Space X rocket that was due to launch that evening which was pretty special. There was a big hive of activity around that launch pad, although we were not allowed to get anywhere near as close as I would have liked.

Once the bus ride was over we were shown into a VERY large hanger. This hanger contains a replica of the rocket that took men to the moon and this thing is unbelievable in size!

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These images don't do the size justice but you can kind of see the enormity of the rocket by comparing it to the people on the ground in the picture on the left. On the right is another section of the rocket so as the rocket gets higher and higher into space it needs to continuously break apart in order to expose more rockets which then helped it propel itself further and further towards the moon. This exhibit is truly mid blowing when you see the scale of the rocket.

What you will also find in this part of the complex is the space suit that the first American man wore in space. Alan Sheperd was the man in question, manned the Freedom 7 aircraft on it voyage into Space and this is the suit that he wore that day.

Apollo 14 command module

If you don't know anything about the Americans moon landings then you can learn everything you need to know here, and you can even see the capsule above which in 1971 flew three men, Alan Sheperd, Stuart Roosa and Edgar Mitchell to the moon in a 9 day trip. It's super cool to be able to get up close and personal with something that achieved what it did back in the 70s.

Going back and seeing how they did it back then was cool but then you get the chance to come a little bit closer to home with some of the more modern space travel. Specifically the Atlantis space craft.

Atlantis was used in many manned missions into Space and helped construct many part of the ISS (International Space Station) over a number of years. Atlantis is said to have orbited earth nearly 5,000 times during its years in space travelling approx 126,000,000 million miles.

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I managed to get up close because of the long lens I had on me that day which gave me the opportunity to show you what the outside of the spaceship looked like.

It was amazing to see everything this close and to understand that this shuttle had been under immense pressures from the atmosphere each time that it went up to space and then came back down to earth.

For me though it wasn't until we walked around to see the underside of he Space Shuttle Atlantis that I was truly blown away. You can see this shot below and it was the amazing details on the fire resistant tiles that were dotted all over the bottom of the aircraft.

First taken into space in 1985 the Space shuttle Atlantis was responsible for 33 flights into space and handed the opportunity of space flight to 207 astronauts.

The underside of the Space Shuttle Atlantis

Spacesuits worn by astronauts whilst they were on their space walks for the ISS

If outer space is your thing and you happen to be in Florida then this is something you have to go and see for yourself, it's truly out of this world!

Check out my story on my instagram page @richardoxford

www.kennedyspacecenter.com