The Amaz!ng Meeting 2003

Electric Monk - Kennedy Space Center - Rocket Garden

Rocket Garden entrance
Entrance to the Rocket Garden

Surprising only those with the tiniest of brains, the Rocket Garden had a bunch of rockets in it. Along with the rockets were individual displays of engines and capsules. We busied ourselves taking pictures of the various items, and the plaques that accompanied them. Scott seemed to know quite a lot about the engines already, but I was learning about them as I went.

Saturn IB
Saturn IB Rocket

The Saturn 1B was an interesting sight. I do not remember seeing one before, and we all spent some time examining it. The eight fins and eight rocket engines in its base gave it rather a distinctive look compared to the others around it. Lying the Saturn IB on its side made it easier to see the upper portions of the rocket, but made it harder to get a clear shot of its entire length amid the other displays.

Apollo 11 gantry
The Actual Gantry Used by the Crew of Apollo 11

The piece in the garden with the greatest awe factor though, was the Apollo gantry leading to a White Room and Command Module. If you've read the caption on the picture above, you'll know that this was the actual service arm used by the Apollo 11 crew just before launch. Following in the footsteps of Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins can be quite a thrill, even after 30-plus years.

Three in a capsule
Charlie in Dayton, myself, and Segnosaur ready for launch in an Apollo Capsule

While we were there, some NASA officials came up to us and said that they needed some volunteers for an Apollo launch. They asked if we were interested, and Charlie, Segnosaur and I said "Sure!" We were uneasy about the fact that there was no hatch, and that the controls seemed to be painted on, but somebody in a blue jumpsuit with a NASA logo said this was all normal, so we relaxed. Unfortunately, as the countdown neared zero, the mission was scrubbed due to the fact that no one had remembered to attach the Saturn V.

(The pink patches that we are wearing in the photo above indicate that we are factory-refurbished units available at a discount.)

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