The eagle has landed . . .
This past week marked the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 space mission, where Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins became the first humans to step foot on the moon.
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy declared that before the end of the decade, America should put a man on the moon and bring him home safely. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) scientists and engineers heeded the call. 8 years later, Neil Armstrong took that first famous step out of the capsule onto the lunar surface.
Some 500 million people across the globe watched that landing on television. You can catch a glimpse – or at least a recreation – of that historic moment on Epcot’s Spaceship Earth. But if you want to get a look at the real technological wonders behind space travel, you should schedule a day to Kennedy Space Center, just about an hour from Kissimmee.
Tim and Jenn have taken numerous trips out on the vlog. From the rocket gardens to the recently remodeled interactive visitors center, to the “Behind the Gates” tour, there’s a ton of interesting, fun things to do. One of my favorite Tracker trips was three years ago when they attended lunch with an astronaut.
This one gives a really in-depth tour of the entire facility. And the Trackers were joined by their friend and vlogger-extraordinaire Adam the Woo, which made the tour an absolute blast(off. Dad joke. Sorry.)
To see Tim, Jenn, and Adam walking across the same bridge that the Apollo 11 crew crossed to enter the capsule and blast off on that historic mission gave me chills. Most of us will never know the feelings, the uncertainty, the anxiety and fear they must have felt as they took those final steps before leaving the planet. But here you can stand where they stood.
That was also the video where I learned that NASA’s logo is affectionately called “the meatball.” And once you’ve seen it, you can’t unsee it again.
And speaking of food, I was kind of impressed with the buffet NASA laid out as well. And that experience is available to anyone. In fact, if you can get to Kennedy before the end of July, they’re offering a Day with An Apollo Astronaut. You get to spend the day around the facility with Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden, including lunch overlooking the launchpads. I can’t even imagine what the world looks like through the eyes of someone who has viewed it from above.
When it comes to meeting astronauts, Tim also one met a very unique NASA representative on a visit to Kennedy Space Center when he met Robonuat, the robotic astronaut.
And if you really think you’ve got the right stuff (also kind of a dad joke – sorry again) you can sign up for the Astronaut Training Experience.
You’ll get to drive a Mars Rover simulator, experience what it’s like working in space as you float on a bed of air in microgravity, and participate in a rocket launch.
Kennedy even offers some nighttime shows and experiences, making it a true full-day immersive experience. They even put on special holiday events and programs. And now that SpaceX is regularly launching real-live rockets into space from the facility, you may get to witness a singular experience you won’t see anywhere else.
I know it’s hard to leave the theme parks, especially when you only have so much time on your vacation, but this is entertainment and history. Sure you can get an incredibly realistic space experience on certain rides like Mission: Space . . . or E.T., but why not schedule a day to go see the real deal?
If you want to learn more about the Kennedy Space Center, check out their website at www.kennedyspacecenter.com