Family Exploration

IMG_0525There are a total of five girls (by blood) that consider me an uncle and I’m very guilty of not spending enough time with them. I dropped all responsibilities Saturday and spent the entire day with my middle brother and two youngest nieces. It rained pretty much all day but that didn’t come close to stopping the Conneen fun.

IMG_0392Matt had mentioned Kennedy Space Center was offering Brevard residents 70% off admission with a non-perishable donation. This is big considering it cost $50 for an adult ticket. Steph couldn’t go with us but she looked in the closet for some canned goods and ended up filling an entire bag. This is all part of the KSC’s “30 Days of Giving”. In December the food will be distributed throughout sharing centers in our community. Anyway, it saved us a lot of money and went to a great cause. IMG_0467

In my lifetime as a Brevard resident, I have heard hundreds of people say there is nothing to do here. If you’re one of those people, I can confidently inform you that you’re way wrong. KSC is only a fraction of the cool places to explore on the east coast. The last time I was there was probably 30 years ago with a neighbor, Raleigh Spice. When I was about 14 my father and I tried to access the area to view a shuttle launch but were denied because of my age. Now, you can check the place out from the outside as I frequently do by fishing in the surrounding areas but to really find out what goes on, you must pay admission and go behind the scenes.

IMG_0500During my visit 30 years ago, I wasn’t truly away of what the space program was all about. I knew we shot rockets into space and that it was cool but the reasons behind the events were beyond my imagination. That’s not the case now that I’m 38 and have a brain packed with questions and curiosity. Both questions and curiosity grew more and more between 1981 and 2011 as I watched almost every single launch that the shuttle program had between those years of existence. The most memorable and unfortunate launch was just after my birthday on January 28, 1986. I was walking to the cafeteria with my class for lunch when we all watched the Challenger blowup. We had no clue what happened until we saw the news after lunch. The days following that event were very surreal for the space coast.

 

Apollo

Apollo

Unless it was a cloudy day, I could watch rockets and shuttles launch from the comfort of my bedroom window as a child. What started off as something very cool to see, I adapted to the fiery ball shooting into the sky. This may very well be the case for other longtime residents. The last shuttle to launch was Atlantis in 2011 and to be totally honest, I can’t remember if I watched it or not. So many have gone up that it wasn’t a really big deal to me anymore.IMG_0445

If there is anything I miss from these great space ships it’s the sonic boom they made upon re-entry and night launches. The space coast locals are fortunate to have so many cool things to do in the area. I’m honored to have witnessed the lifetime career of the five shuttles in the NASA program. To add, the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge would not be what it is without the Kennedy Space Center. MINWR is a gem in itself and a cool place to explore. The only downfall of my day was hearing the PSA at the end of the IMAX movie reminding us of beautiful Planet Earth is compared to what we have discovered in the Universe. It reminds us to protect it and while the average person thinks we are doing just fine at that, I know we are not.

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