Trig point, Brecon Beacons, Wales
Trig point, Brecon Beacons, Wales
  • Space photos!
    • 01/09/2012
liftoffastronaut john blahacapsulecommand centrelaunchpadshuttle endeavorold rockets
  • Space!
    • 01/09/2012
The Space Centre was worth the visit. Actually it was probably smaller and less informative than i expected, given the amount of history they have, but it still contained plenty of old and current spacecraft, and you got to tour to launch sites and meet a real astronaut!
A simulated shuttle launch was pretty good (your chair tips back and rumbles a lot, simulates g forces), although i guess it can't be anywhere near the real thing, and there were also a couple of 3D IMAX movies to break up the day, about the ISS and hubble telescope.
The hubble movie ended with the telescopes findings that we are a tiny rock circling a tiny star in a tiny solar system in a pretty small galaxy amongst billions of galaxies etc. But visualised in 3d it was even more mind fucking (pardon the french)
There was a big exhibition about the Apollo missions including the gigantic Saturn rocket, moon buggies etc.
And the bus tour around parts of the base. Its very expansive, with about 40 launch sites (although many disused since during the space race they kept having to build bigger and bigger launch pads to accomodate the bigger rockets)
Finally there was a short talk by a real live astronaut, John Blaha, who has flown a whole load of missions on various different spacecraft. It seemed a bit demeaning that he now has to pose for photos with tourists! But what a nice guy.

Even better, it transpired that due to Isaac, a scheduled satellite launch had been delayed the previous week and was now set to go the next morning, allbeit at 4am
So i woke up at 3.45am and watched the lift off from the beach of Port Canaveral, about 10 miles away and as close as you can get. At this distance, the rocket was well up in the air before the low rumble of all that explosive power reached our ears.
It was just awesome to watch though, it seemed to move impossibly slowly, but all too soon it had arced away, up out of sight, and everyone headed back to their homes and tents to sleep.
The mission in question is placing two satellites into orbit to study the Van Allen radiation belt. This is actually quite interesting for me as it is one of the layers around the earth which relates to the aurora borealis and my university project all those years ago now!
some links...
http://rbsp.jhuapl.edu/newscenter/newsArticles/20120831.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_Allen_radiation_belt


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