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February 12, 2006

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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Apollo 18 SM.JPG
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 February 12, 2006 01:58 PM


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