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February 17, 2006

Payne's Prarie

The prarie basin and its surrounding uplands have been a center of human activity for over 12,000 years. In the late 1600s the largest cattle ranch in Spanish Florida, La Chua, operated here. In 1774 Philadelphia botanist William Bartram (called "Puc Puggy" of "Flower Hunter" by the Seminole) described the basin as "the Great Alachua Savannah." It is thought to have been named for King Payne, the Seminole chief who fought here during the First Seminole War.

Heavy raind began to flood the basin in 1871 and by 1873 the marsh was large enough to be called Alachua Lake, where steam powered boats transported lumber, goods and passengers. In 1891 Alachua Sink, the main drain for the basin, became unclogged and by 1892 the character of the marsh had returned. By 1903 cattleman William Camp began cattle operations on the lush, green prarie grasses.

Bison and Wild Horses can be seen roaming the prarie. Bison disappeared from Florida in the early 1800s, but were reintroduced in 1975. The wild horses are descendents of those brought over by the Spanish in the early 1500s and left to roam free after the British raids in the early 1600s.




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How many birds can you find? Hint: There is more than one!

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Posted by Heather at 06:59 PM | Comments (1)

Guess who drove the bus today??

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Posted by Heather at 06:49 PM | Comments (0)

February 16, 2006

Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park

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Hi Everyone!! Another great day at an awesome State Park!

Devil’s Millhopper gets its unique name from its funnel-like shape. During the 1800’s farmers used to grind grain in gristmills. On the top of the mill was a funnel-shaped container caller a “hopper??? that held the grain as it was fed into the grinder. Because fossilized bones and teeth from early life forms have been found at the bottom of the sink, legend has it that the millhopper was what fed bodies to the devil. Hence, Devil’s Millhopper.

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View from the top... Can't see it? We'll get closer...

Limestone is the foundation on which the surface of Florida sits. Although this stone is very hard, it is easily dissolved by a weak acid. Rainwater becomes a weak carbonic acid from contact with carbon dioxide in the air. As it soaks into the ground, passing through dead plant material on the surface, it becomes even stronger. When this water reaches the limestone layer, small cavities are formed as the rock slowly dissolves away. This process continues over a very long time until a large cavern is formed. Eventually the ceiling of the cavern becomes so thin that it cannot support the weight of the earth above it. When the ceiling collapses, a sink is formed.
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Slopes of this sink provide a cut-away view of central Florida’s geologic past. Each layer of sediment contains a record of events and animals that lived before. Marine animal shells in the lower layers indicate that this area of Florida was once covered by the sea. Bones and teeth of land animals found in more “recent??? layers indicate that the sea has receded.

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The sinkhole is 120 feet deep and 500 feet across. The depth of the ravine, the presence of certain plants and animals unique to this area, and archaeological clues suggest the sinkhole is quite old. The upper half or so may have been formed about ten to fifteen thousand years ago. The lower, more vertical portion does not appear to be more than one thousand years old, thus indicating the Devil’s Millhopper was formed in at least two stages.

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The sight and sound of water flowing down the slopes of the sink provide one of the most enjoyable features of the park. Beginning as rain, the water seeps down through the ferns and dense vegetation and drains through the soil into a layer of limestone. Clay beneath the stone prevents further downward movement of the water but then forces it to flow along the limestone layer. This phenomenon is called a perched water table. It then spills out to form the springs that surround the sink. There are about 12 springs her. Some cascade down to the bottom where they flow along and into a natural “drain??? so that the water eventually finds its way to the Gulf of Mexico.

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Millions of years ago this area was home to a variety of animals that have since become extinct. Only a few still exist as they did then. Replaced by minerals in the earth, their bones and teeth become fozzilized. Sinkholes and ravines cause their skeletons to break apart. Moving water erodes upper layers of sediment and exposes these remains. As each fragment is unearthed it is carried along by the water. As water slows, it deposits a conglomerate of diaassembled bones and teeth.
The fossils in this display were found in creeks and ravines at the Devil’s Millhopper and San Felasco Hammock. The animals they came from lived five and ten million years ago.

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1. Tooth- sperm whale (Physeteridae)
2. Rib- dugong (Metaxytheriam floridanum)
3. Tooth- great white shark (Carcharodon megalondon)
4. Tooth- juvenile dolphin (Dolphinus delphis)
5. Cannon bone (Metacarpal)- camel (camelidae)
6. Teeth- Crocodile or Gavial
7. Tooth- tiger shark (Galeocerdo aduncas)
8. Teeth- horse (Pseudhipparion skinneri)
9. Tooth- horse (Cormohipparion ingenum)
10. Shell fragment- Tortoise (Geochelone)
11. Dorsal arch bone- Fish
12. Inner ear bone- whale
13. Tooth- Mako Shark (Isurus)
14. Foot bone (Metapodial)- camel (Camelidae)
15. Shell fragment- tortoise (Geochelone)
16. Mouth plate- Stingray
17. Snout Fragment- Dugong (Metaxyheriam

Posted by Heather at 08:19 PM | Comments (0)

Bulow Plantation Ruins

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Lots of Big Trees here...

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Front Door...

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Back Door! You'll see more Big Trees at the end!

History of Bulow Plantation
The early 1800s marked a turbulent era in Florida’s history as settlers began establishing plantations on lands that the Seminole Indians believed to be theirs.
In 1812, on the 8th of June, John Russell and his family came to this place form St. Augustine to claim a land grant from the Spaniards in exchange for a 53 ton schooner. John Russell, shipwright, a British subject born in So. Carolina, built the ship while living in the Bahamas where he went when the American Revolution began. He died before doing much except marking the land by blazing the trees with his initials.
The land was then sold to Charles Wilhelm Bulow, a wealthy cotton grower from Charleston, on August 1, 1812. He acquired 4,675 acres of wilderness bordering a tidal creek that would bear his name. Using slave labor, he cleared 2,200 acres and planted sugar cane, cotton, rice and indigo. Soon after the plantation was established and in production, Major Bulow died at age 44, leaving all his holdings to his only son, John. Under John’s skilled management, production increased and the plantation prospered until the outbreak of the Second Seminole War.
At the end of 1831, John James Audubon visited Bulowville while on a collecting and painting trip through Florida. He spoke of Bulow as a rich planter at whose plantation he received most hospitable treatment.
Young John Bulow, like some other settlers in the area, did not agree with the US government’s intentions to sent the Seminoles to reservations west of the Mississippi River. He demonstrated his disapproval by ordering a four-pound cannon to be fired at Mojor Putnam’s command of State Militia, the “Mosquito Raiders,??? as they entered his property. Troops swarmed onto the plantation, taking Bulow prisoner. After a brief unsuccessful campaign against the Indians, and with most of the troops ill with dysentery and yellow fever, Major Putnam’s command relocated to St. Augustine. Realizing that the Indians were becoming more hostile, young Bulow, along with other settlers and their slaves, abandoned his plantation and followed the troops northward.
Around January 31, 1836, the Seminoles burned “Bulowville??? along with other plantations in the area. John Bulow, discouraged by the destruction, went to Paris where he died three months later at the age of 26.
All that is left today of the once thriving plantation are the coquina ruins of the sugar mill, several wells, a spring house and the crumbling foundation of the mansion. The cleared fields have been reclaimed by the forest, and the area looks much as it did when it belonged to the Seminoles.

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Plantation Road, original road to the plantation

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Bulow Creek

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Boat Slips
When the Bulow Plantation was active, these boat slips harbored both work and pleasure crafts. The slips have, fortunately, survived time because John Bulow reinforced the embankments with ale and wine bottles which were discarded from house parties.
Bulow’s flats, or barges, hauled the plantation’s produce. Particularly sugar, molasses, and cotton down the creek to the Halifax River, and then south to Mosquito Inlet (now Ponce Inlet), where it was carried by schooners to east coast and Carribean ports.
Canoes and skiffs were also outfitted here for hunting and fishing trips. John Audubon, famous naturalist and guest at the plantation in 1831, embarked here, with his host, on an expedition in search of new Florida birds.

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Plantation House
White posts mark the corners of John Bulow’s plantation house. In 1830, these posts would have been stone columns, the corner supports for a second-story balcony. Today, there is no trace of the balcony or outer columns. All that remains is part of the limerock foundation that supported the inner walls.
The view from the house in 1830 would have been very different from the scenery that now surrounds the ruins. Rice was cultivated on the salt marsh, and sugar-cane grew on the higher ground between the creek and King’s Road. This expanse of open fields was punctuated by various plantation buildings: slave cabins, barns, stables, and a large sugar mill.

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Well at Plantation House ruins

Artifacts from Plantation House
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Glass from the “Great House??? and lead from the sugar mill were both melted by the fire that destroyed over sixty buildings.

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Slave Quarters
John Bulow owned 159 slaves who were quartered in 46 houses. The small wood cabins, 12 feet wide and 16 feet long, were built on foundations of native limerock. These “Coquina??? foundation blocks are the only surviving parts of the original structures.
A large work force was essential to the operation of a frontier plantation. The slaves cleared the forest, planted and harvested crops, and worked the sugar mill.
A neighboring planter commented that the Bulow slaves “fared fairly well???. He remembered the slaves having their own garden plots and some leisure time to hunt and fish. Other accounts of slave like at Bulow Plantation have been less favorable.

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Fields of sugarcane once surrounded the mill at Bulow Plantation. This tropical plant was first used for making sugar in ancient India. It arrived in the New Worls with Columbus and spread throughout the Caribbean and southern United States. By 1830, ten plantations were producing sugar along the east coast of Florida. Bulow Plantation with over 1000 acres of sugarcane, was the largest. Molasses was a by-product of the sugar mill. It was shipped to the Caribbean Islands for making rum. Truly “Liquid Gold,??? Rum was used as payment for African slaves- the backbone of the sugarcane plantation.

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Bulow Sugar Mill
This was the largest sugar mill in Florida. It was operated by Charles Wilhelm Bulow and John Joachim Bulow from 1820 until it was burned by the Seminoles in 1836.
Sugar cane was planted in January and February and was ready for harvesting by mid-October. Field workers cut the cane and loaded it on wagins that brought it to the mill for processing.

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This well supplied water for the boiler that produced steam to operate the mill’s cane-crushing machinery.

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Boiler and Machinery
A large, long boiler and furnace filled the right half of this room. Steam from the boiler was piped to an engine on the second floor of the building to the right. This engine operated a large gear that turned the rollers to crush the cane.

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A sawmill 18 feet beyond this sign was run by the same steam engine as the sugar mill when sugar was not being made.

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Cane Juice
Cane was placed on a conveyer starting in front of "Cooling Vats" location (below images). The conveyer, about three feet wide, lifted it to the roller crushers on the second floor. The juice ran into the settling vats. The crushed cane called the “bagasse??? came out the opposite side of this building and was hauled away in carts.

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Kettles and Operation
The juice flowed from the settling vats on the second floor into the “grande,??? the largest of the five kettles built into the furnace below. The “grande??? was also the coolest, being farthest from the “batterie??? kettle under which the furnace was fired. The chimney draft pulled heat from this fire through the furnace to heat the other kettles. The heated juice was hand dipped from the larger to the smaller kettle and ended as syrup in the “batterie,??? the smallest and hottest. Here it reached the “strike??? (sugar) stage. It was then ladled into a trough and flowed into large wooden cooling vats to harden. After hardening it was spaded into slices, carried in small tubs to the “purgery??? (curing room) and packed in hogsheads (wooden barrels).

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Curing Room “Purgery??? (Room that is seen through arc where George is standing in one of the previous pictures.)
The hogsheads were kept in this warm curing room for 20 to 30 days until all the molasses had dripped from the sugar into a cistern located in the recess beneath. The molasses was sold for making rum. The partly emptied hogsheads were then refilled with sugar and stored.

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Storing and Loading
The hogsheads were stored on the floor above this room and lowered through an opening onto wagons below. The wagons left through these archways and hauled the sugar to a landing for shipment by boat to Jacksonville, St. Augustine, and Savannah.

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Second "Purgery" room, to the right of Storing and Loading Room

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As seen from other side (with Boiler and Machinery Room directly behind)

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Artifacts from Plantation
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Sugar Kettle

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Canoe found 3 miles down the creek; was made by slaves and used during down time

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Ruins of Spring House

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Greater Yellowlegs by John James Audubon
The Greater Yellowlegs is a familiar bird along Florida’s coastal rivers. Some scholars believe that Audubon painted the yellowlegs here, at Bulow Creek. The small buildings in the background of the print are probably slave cabins. Audubon’s painting may be the only view of Bulow Plantation when it was in operation.

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More Trees!
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Posted by Heather at 07:37 PM | Comments (1)

February 14, 2006

Tomoka State Park

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In the early 1600s, Spanish explorers found Indians living here in a village called Nocoroco. Although nothing remains of the village, shell middens- mounds of oyster and snail shells from decades of Native American meals- reach 40 feet high at the river bank.
After Spain traded Florida to the British in 1763, the area became part of the vast land-grant holdings of Richard Oswald. This wealthy Scots merchant and statesman helped negotiate the treaty ending the American Revolution. Oswald had tracts of forestland cleared to grow indigo, the source of a valuable blue dye used during the Colonial years. Rice was grown in the wetter areas.
In the early 1800s, highly productive sugar plantations doted the region. Most were destroyed in 1835-36 during the Second Seminole War. The ruins of stone sugar mill buildings from the American Territorial Period (1821-45) can be seen in nearby parks, which will be the subject of a future post.
The site was abandoned for decades and in the 1920s became home to Sunset Park and Hotel. In 1946 it opened as Tomoka State Park.

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The name Tomoka comes from Timucua, a group of Native Americans who lived in northeast Florida centuries ago.

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The Tomoka River and Halifax River (the Intracoastal Waterway) meet at the north end of the park forming a natural peninsula.

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Sparkleberry- this small crooked tree is often used in ornamental plantings because of the profusion of fragrant bell-shaped flowers, which bloom in spring. It is related to the blueberry and its small blackberries are eaten by many birds. The wood has been used for tobacco pipes and its reddish bark is suitable for tanning leather.

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Yaupon- A true holly, yaupon is used for Christmas decorations. Because of its shiny evergreen leaves and bright red berries, it is also used as a native ornamental planting in hedges and as shrubs. The Indians boiled yaupon leaves to make a ceremonial drink known as casina. In years past, the leaves have been used in preparing a purgative. Only the female trees will produce the berries.

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Indigo Production
Vats and drying racks were used for the production of indigo. The vats were large holding up to two thousand gallons of liquid. The stems and leaves were cut and laid in the larger vat. The stems were covered with a urine and water mix and left to soak. The liquid darkened to a gold or olive color. After eight to twelve hours the liquid was added and the liquid was vigorously beaten. This added air to the fluid turning it blue. The indigo settled to the bottom of the vat as sludge. After a few days the clear water was drawn and the residue of indigo was scooped into linen bags and hung to dry. After it reached a pasty consistency it was spread out on boards to dry and harden. Finally it was cut into small blocks for shipping.

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John Addison was one of the early settlers on the Tomoka River. In 1816, he obtained a Spanish land grant of 1,414 acres on the west bank, about 1 mile upstream from the boat dock at Tomoka state park.
Under Addison’s direction, a work force of 67 slaves, using only axe and hoe- no “beast or machinery???- cleared the forest and planted the rich lowland soil to cotton. The plantation, named “Carrickfergus??? after Addison’s birthplace in Ireland, prospered under industrious cultivation and was to outlive its owner. Addison died in 1825 and was buried on the plantation, which, there after, continued under new owners, the Macraes, and a new crop, sugarcane, until destroyed by Indians at the onset of the second Seminole war.
Time and vandalism have added to the purposeful destruction by the Seminoles: Addison’s memorial when recovered by the state had been broken and removed from the gravesite. Letter Memorial Studio, of Ormond Beach, restored the stone and it has been relocated here for its protection.

Posted by Heather at 11:49 AM | Comments (2)

February 12, 2006

Oh, yes, and the weather...

We've heard about your blizzardy conditions up there, and have looked at the pictures on line (chuckle chuckle). We feel very sorry (chuckle) for all of you who are out shoveling the walks in your boots and big coats, wrapped up in scarves and mittens and hats. 26.3 inches! Wowwwwie! That's a lot of snow. We want you to know that we're thinking of all of you up there, freezing your buns off. And please enjoy this picture and know that snow does melt, and the sun will rise again to warm your chilly willies away.

And by the way, we're experiencing a big cold front down here, too. It was only 50 degrees today!! And it's going down to 32 tonight! But I'm sure that knowledge doesn't relieve your cold nose and numb fingers. So here is a nice picture for you!!

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Posted by Heather at 06:32 PM | Comments (3)

John F. Kennedy Space Center

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Imax Movies and 3D Glasses

Rockets and Engines
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George's Moonwalk

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The most powerful liquid-fueled rocket engine ever produced, the F-1 engine was a critical component in sending astronauts to the moon during the Apollo program. Developed under the direction of Werner Von Braun, the Saturn V rocket was the largest operational launch vehicle ever produced. Standing 36 stories high and weighing over 6 million pounds, a cluster of five F-1 engines, generating more than 7.5 million poinds of thrust propelled the rocket to a speed of 6,000 mph and an altitude of 38 miles in just under 3 minutes. It was said at the time that, except for a nuclear explosion, the launching of the Saturn V rocket was the loudest man made noise ever produced. Just one F-1 engine provided as much thrust as all three Space Shuttle Main Engines combined!
Fuel: Liquid Oxygen (LOX) and RP-1 (Kerosene)

For Scale:
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Before the J-2 Engine, rocket propulsion systems had to burn until their fuel supply was exhausted. With the J-2, they finally had an engine that could be shut down and re-started multiple times during a mission—an incredible capability that completely changed the approach to mission planning. Five J-2 engines powered the second stage of the Saturn V. A sixth J-2 powered the third stage.
The J-2 was also the first engine to use Luquid Hydrogen instead of Kerosene as a propellant. In later years, this engine design became the main engine prototype for the Space Shuttle.
Propellants: Liquid Hydrogen fuel and Liquid Oxygen (LOX) oxidizer
Thrust: 230,000lb each. Five second stage engines= 1,150,000lb

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H-1 engine
A million mysteries had to be solved if astronauts were to get to the moon and back safely. H-1 engines like this one provided the power to get the job done. Eight of them were clustered in the first stage of the Saturn 1 and the Saturn 1B. These were the launch vehicles for the early Apollo/ Saturn program where the essential systems and maneuvers required for success were tested. They also launched crews for all of the Skylab missions and Apollo/ Soyuz, the history making rendezvous of America and the USSR in space.
Propellants: Kerosene fuel and Liquid Oxygen (LOX) Oxidizer
Thrust: 205,000lb each. Eight first stage engines= 1,640,000lb

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Space Shuttle Main Engine

Space Shuttle
Designed to be the world’s first truly reusable spacecraft. Every part of the Shuttle, except the large external tank, is serviced and reused after each flight. Perhanps the easiest way to think of the Shuttle is like a giant space truck, used to haul astronauts and payload (the scientific instruments and experiments carried in the orbiter cargo bay) into space. The Space Shuttle is also used to transport human crews and materials into space for construction of the International Space Station.
The Space Shuttle consists of an orbiter, external tank, and two solid rocket boosters. An orbiter alone is not a Space Shuttle.
Sitting on the launch pad, an assembled Space Shuttle stands 184 feet high, 76 feet deep (from the external tank to the orbiter’s vertical tail), and 78 feel wide, measuring across the orbiter’s wing tips. Lift-off weight is about 4,500,000 lbs and thrust at lift-off is about 7.3 million pounds.
The Space Shuttle system, both the flight elements and the ground support facilities at Launch Complex 39, will continue to support human space flight activities through 2012 and perhaps well beyond.
KSC and other NASA Centers have embarked on a phased program of expanding and updating the Space Shuttle’s capabilities, increasing its safety margins, and lowering the operational costs of space transportation.
This program of upgrades includes a new, funded Checkout and Launch Control System at Complex 39, a system which will be capable of supporting a new generation of launch vehicles as well.

Landing: Without the aid of propulsion systems used by conventional aircraft during landing, there is no second chance to get it right. The orbiter comes down like a behemoth glider, falling to earth at 25 times the speed of sound- hence the nickname “flying brick???. The Shuttle Commander guides the orbiter to a touchdown at over 200 miles an hour onto one of the world’s largest runways: three miles long and as wide as a football field.

The Explorer Space Shuttle
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View from bottom

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View from top

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Flight Deck

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Picture of Shuttle on Crawler

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The Crawler (cut-off... sorry)
Moves at speeds up to one mile per hour, the journey from the VAB to the launch pad can take all day.

Crawlerway, the driveway to the launch pads.

The First Stop of the bus tour took us to:
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where we had a great view of the launch pads.

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Model of Launch Pad- front view

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Side View

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Real Size of Boosters

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Orbiter Processing Facility
Within hours after landing, the orbiter is towed to the OPF, where the vehicle is fully inspected, tested, and refurbished for its next mission.

Fixed Service Structure: The FSS provides access to the entire Space Shuttle System including, the orbiter cockpit, external tank, solid rocket boosters, and emergency exit system.
Rotating Service Structure: The RSS provides protected access to the orbiter payload bay for installation and servicing of payloads at the launch pad.
Liquid Oxygen Tank: Liquid Oxygen, used as an oxidizer by the orbiter main engines, is stored in thie 900,000-gallon tank then transferred to the External Tank several hours before launch.
Liquid Hydrogen Tank: Liquid Hydrogn, used as a propellant, is stored in this large 850,000-gallon tank then transferred to the External Tank several hours before launch.
Crawlerway: This roadway was constructed specifically to supprt the approximately 18 million pound combined weight of the Crawler Transporter, Mobile Launch Platform, and the Space Shuttle.
Water Tank: Water used as sound suppression is released from this 300,000-gallon tank prior to main engine ignition.

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Launch Complex Diagram

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Launch Control Building

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Garages for shuttles, one holds the Discover, one the Endeavor and one the Atlantis.

Vehicle Assembly Building
Originally constructed to assemble the large moon rocket, Apollo Saturn V, the VAB is now used for Space Shuttle Assembly. Covering more ground area than six football fields and taller than a fifty-story skyscraper, it is one of the world’s largest buildings in cubic volume. It has as much interior space as 3.75 Empire State Buildings. The flag is the largest hand painted flag in the world. The stars are 6' across and the stripes are 12' across. This building also has some of the largest doors in the world!



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The next stop took us to...
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These are pictures of the actual Control Launch Room or "Firing Room" for the Apollo Missions!
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This is Apollo 18. The Apolo Program ended after the 17th mission so this never had a chance to go into space. It is separated into 3 stages.

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Although the Service Module (SM) was never inhabited by the Apollo astronauts, it was one of the most important components of their spacecraft. The SM carried the spcecraft’s main engine and provided the Command Module (CM) with oxygen, water and electricity.
SM Structure
The SM consisted of a core section surrounded by six pie-shaped bays. The main engine was located in the core.

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Stage 3 (top)

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Stage 2

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And the side and base of Stage 1.

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Model of Saturn V Rocket

Apollo/ Saturn V
Saturn V Rocket: The Saturn V served as the launch vehicle fot the Apollo spacecraft and was composed of three main sections known individually as the S-IC, S-II and S-IVB stages. The rocket’s Instument Unit (IU) was stacked atop the third stage.
Apollo Spacecraft was made up of three main components, the Lunar Module (LM), Service Module (SM) and Command Module (CM). The vehicle’s Launch Escape System (LES) was attached to the tip of the Command Module.

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Apolo One ended when a fire broke out in the cockpit during a full dress rehersal test, killing all three astronauts.

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Apollo 8 December 21-27, 1968
Commander: Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot: James Lovell, Lunar Module Pilot: William Anders
“The vast loneliness here is awe-inspiring.???
The Apollo 8 astonauts were the first humans to be launched by the Saturn V rocket, the first to excape from the Earth’s gravitational field and the first to orbit the moon. The six-day mission confirmed that the Apollo spacecraft’s navigation, communications, guidance, and propulsion systems were up to the task of carrying humans to and from the moon.

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Apollo 11 July 16-24, 1969
Commander: Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot: Michael Collins, Lunar Module Pilot: Edwin “Buzz??? Aldrin
Command Module: Columbia
Lunar Module: Eagle
Apollo 11 achieved President Kennedy’s goal of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Eart. After landing on the Moon with only 30 seconds of fuel remaining, astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin planted the American flag and collected the first samples of lunar soil.

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We all know the Apollo 13 story.

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Lunar Module
Descent Stage- The lunar module was composed of two stages. The descent stage housed the descent engine and propellants and the vehicle’s landing gear. During the last three Apollo missions to the Moon, the descent stage also carried the Lunar Rover.
Ascent Stage- The ascent stage served as a cockpit and living quarters for the two astronauts. The lunar module pilot and commander flew the LM while standing, since the craft was designed without seats to reduce its weight.

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The last stop was to the International Space Station building where they are working on additions for the ISS. We missed the bus to that one, so we went back to watch another IMAX!

Solar System
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Distances within our Solar System are measured in Astonomical Units (AU), equal to the distance from the Earth to the Sun. 13 Million Miles= 1 AU

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Model of the Hubble Telescope

Posted by Heather at 01:58 PM | Comments (0)

End of the day

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Posted by Heather at 01:56 PM | Comments (0)


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Posted by Heather at 01:50 PM | Comments (2)

Have you ever seen...

grassy parking lots? This is at a WalMart!

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Posted by Heather at 01:49 PM | Comments (0)


George caught a big fish!

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A Yellow Jack

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Coming to check out the catch of the day...

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Posted by Heather at 01:46 PM | Comments (1)

February 08, 2006

8.5 mile Hike! Myakka Post #8

George and I went on an awesome hike. It took us 5 hours and was about 8.5 miles. Lunch has never tasted better than it did when we got back to the campsite!

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Epiphytes- plants that grow off of trees.

Posted by Heather at 08:22 AM | Comments (0)

Myakka Post #7

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George's buddy Scott from Canmore, Alberta came for a visit. Fun Fun Fun.

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At first we thought this alligator might be dead because it was so still. George went to investigate. We all got really close.

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Then it opened its mouth and winked! Better not get any closer, George!

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Posted by Heather at 08:09 AM | Comments (0)

Great Sunset, Myakka Post # 5

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Posted by Heather at 08:02 AM | Comments (0)

February 07, 2006

Canopy Walk, Myakka Post # 4

This post is dedicated to Mom, who is very afraid of heights.

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76.1 feet at the top

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George doesn't really like them either!!

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Just a little further!

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He made it!!

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View from bridge

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View of tower from the ground

Posted by Heather at 05:47 PM | Comments (1)

Myakka Post #2, Our Buddy

We had a little buddy that came to visit us quite often! I called him Squirrel Nutkin; yes, I know, not very original.

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Posted by Heather at 05:19 PM | Comments (2)

Myakka Post #1

It's going to take me awhile to post all the pictures from our camping trip so I'll start you off with a few good ones!

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Posted by Heather at 05:04 PM | Comments (0)

Sanibel Island

Went to Sanibel Island after our visit with Greg. He lives 2 miles from the bridge. Very nice, but not too much to do except go to the beach. Which we got enough of the day before...

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Sunburned Heath

On the way out we parked next to the bridge to do some fishing. Strong wind coming straight in from the water reminded me of sailing when we were little; sitting up at the bow and closing my eyes and inhaling the fresh scent of the breeze and salt water and feeling hot sun on my face. It was lovely!!

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Posted by Heather at 09:09 AM | Comments (1)

Lover's Key

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Hi Everybody! Sorry to be away for so long! We were in the middle of the woods camping. But we're back!! The Myakka Pictures will be up soon, but here are our pictures from Lover's Key.

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We went for a hike...

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And went to the beach!

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This one is for Julie! It's Quick Sand!!

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Posted by Heather at 08:59 AM | Comments (1)