I will never forget the very first time I saw a textbook photo of Aurora Borealis. I was probably 11 years old. It didn’t dawn on me then yet, but that moment became my foundation for my passion for the cosmos. I started wondering about the dancing lights, and later on, dreamed of walking in zero gravity or watch a moon rise. I remember my mom telling me the day humanity first set foot on the moon as she watched it on TV like the rest of the world did. I dreamed of the stars and what is beyond.

What I didn’t realize however, is the challenge to achieve those dreams. Come on, we all dreamed of becoming an astronaut but we ended up somewhere, better or worse. But some dreams don’t fade; they linger.

I’m in my early thirties and the space dream is still elusive, maybe even remote. But perhaps, a geeky yet an exceptionally romantic date at Kennedy Space Center is as close I can get. This day, even for just a day, was the closest I was to the stars.  This date, courtesy of my husband, made me a different person, and yet, it reminded me of the kid that I was twenty years ago.

Or maybe, I still am.

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At Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA.

 

ROCKET GARDEN

The rocket garden was my first vision upon arrival. The sight of Juno I, which was used to launch NASA’s first satellites, Mercury Redstone, Delta, Juno II, Atlas-Agena, Mercury Atlas & Saturn 1B, the powerful rocket used to orbit the moon, was an overwhelming welcome! Hubby and I also walked the very same launch pad gantry used by the astronauts of Apollo 11, the men who first landed on the moon.

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The Rocket Garden in Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA.
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The  Rocket Garden in Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA.
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The launch pad gantry used by the astronauts of Apollo 11, the men who first landed on the moon.
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The launch pad gantry used by astronuats of Apollo 11, the first men who first walked on the moon.
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The Rocket Garden at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA.
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The Rocket Garden at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA is even more beautiful at night.
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The mural of International Space Station (ISS) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA.
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A mock up of the Orion pad from the Space Launch System as displayed in Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA.

 

IMAX THEATER

While waiting for our scheduled Kennedy Space Center Bus tour, my husband and I decided to kill time at the Imax Theater and see images of the Pillars of Creation taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. He is never a fan of the 3D glasses but I thought it was an enjoyable moment to just sit back and rest from all the walking :)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER BUS TOUR

My most recommended tour at Kennedy Space Center is the Bus Tour. It was a guided tour that let us experience parts of the space programs that are not open to the public like the actual sites where they view space launches. How awesome is that? We were not exactly at the actual launch pads but we were very close, so close that I thought of my Mom. She, like my husband, is one of the amazing people who fueled my love for science. She would be thrilled just as much as we were.

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At NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Building in Cape Canaveral in Florida, USA.
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Launch Complex 37B, current home of the Delta IV Heavy at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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The crawler-transporter which is used to transport spacecraft from NASA’s vehicle assembly to the launch complex at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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The SpaceX building in Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Perhaps, our favorite building.
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Spotted what a metal piece looks like after testing a space shuttle exhaust at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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The crawler way at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

 

APOLLO/SATURN V CENTER

Part of the bus tour was dropping us off at the Apollo/Saturn V Center where I saw and touched a moon rock for the first time, which makes this tour my other favorite. Also part of their displays are the lunar rover and the space suits worn by the astronauts, which both, by the way, noticeably still has moon dusts. No doormats needed.

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The actual lunar rover used on the Apollo missions as displayed inside the Apollo-Saturn V Center in Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
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Gene Cernan’s space suit from Apollo 17 as displayed inside the Apollo-Saturn V Center in Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
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A display of lunar sample inside Apollo-Saturn V Center in Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
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Another display of lunar sample inside Apollo-Saturn V at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
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An actual spacesuit from Apollo 14 still covered in actual moon dust as displayed inside Apollo-Saturn V Center at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
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Saturn V, the largest rocket ever made, as displayed inside the Apollo-Saturn V Center at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
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Standing under Saturn V, the largest rocket ever made, inside the Apollo-Saturn V Center in Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
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The marvelous exhausts of Saturn V, the largest rocket ever made.
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The actual Apollo 14 Command Module as displayed inside the Apollo/Saturn V Complex at Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
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Spacesuits display at Apollo/Saturn V Complex at Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
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Saturn V on display inside the Apollo/Saturn V Complex at Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

 

SPACE SHUTTLE ATLANTIS EXHIBIT

The actual display of the decommissioned Space Shuttle Atlantis was the most pleasant surprise of the day. Seeing it in person after it has been launched like a rocket, orbited space and returned like a glider is a kid’s imagination come to life. Aside from the actual shuttle itself, a full-scale, upright replica of the shuttle’s booster stack was also on display as a gateway to the Atlantis exhibit. If this doesn’t impress you, you should wonder what else will.

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An upright replica of space shuttle Atlantis’  booster stack is displayed as a gateway to the Atlantis exhibit at Kenny Space Center in Florida.
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An upright replice of space shuttle Atlantis’ booster stack is displayed as a gateway to the Atlantis exhibit at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
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The actual decommissioned Space Shuttle Atlantis that has gone to space and back to Earth as showcased at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

 

Aside from the main exhibit Atlantis, there are also other displays that will surely catch your attention, most notably a mock up of the Hubble telescope,  a screen viewing of the Aurora Borealis and the Apollo launch experience inside a simulated NASA control room.

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A mock up of the Hubble telescope inside the Apollo/Saturn V complex at Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
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A screen view of the Aurora Borealis inside the Apollo/Saturn V complex at Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
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The Apollo launch experience inside a simulated NASA control room at Kennedy Space Center.

 

JOURNEY TO MARS : EXPLORERS WANTED

Our last destination before calling it a day is the Journey to Mars exhibit. It basically showcases the future of space exploration. There are also simulations and interactive games all over the exhibit but our favorite seems to be the mock-ups of exploration vehicles such as Curiosity Rover, Spirit/Oppurtunity Rover and the Sojourner Rover.

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A mock up of Curiosity Rover inside the Journey to Mars exhibit at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
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A mock up of Spirit/Opportunity Rover inside the Journey to Mars exhibit at Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
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A mock up of Sojourner Rover inside the Journey to Mars exhibit at Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

 

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NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida
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NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

 

 

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