A Week Long Space Odyssey
Updated: Apr 29
One week at the Kennedy Space Center KARS RV campsite afforded us an opportunity to see a launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and visit the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) on two different days. We also spent some time at the beach relaxing and visited the cities of Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach. The area around KSC on Merritt Island really impressed Karen and I enough to look at the potential real estate options for the future. We loved the weather but realize we need to experience more time during different seasons to get a real handle on what life is like on the Atlantic side of Florida. And of course, there is that weather issue called hurricanes to factor into any long term decisions. But more on that later.
The Falcon 9 rocket launch on Wednesday morning was a bit of a letdown. We were originally hoping to see the Falcon Heavy launch but it was again postponed until April 27 at 7:29 pm, so we missed the big show. But the Kennedy Space Center visit made up for the disappointing launch expectation big time. The Center is impressive and the exhibits, activities and overall experience was incredible. We bought a two day pass and we needed it to see everything.
The first day we visited I was under the weather so I couldn't enjoy the bus tour to the Saturn V venue like I would have liked, but we made the best of it. The Saturn V exhibit contained an entire rocket laid out on its side in a massive structure. There were many exhibits including the original Apollo 13 Command Module, a complete Lunar Module, and a wonderful memorial exhibit to the crew of Apollo 1, who lost their lives on the pad in a test at the beginning of the Apollo program. We finished the first day at the iMax theater watching the "Last Man on the Moon" film about the Apollo 17 mission.
The second day we visited was Saturday and I was A-OK! On this day we took in the Atlantis Space Shuttle exhibit, the Expedition to Mars exhibit, the Journey to Mars simulator, and the Hall of Heroes. Of course, I was in my "happy place" being around all this space stuff. But Karen was in to it also and came away with a greater appreciation for the incredible accomplishments achieved and the new technologies we live with today.
This area is a great place to visit and hang out for a week. We hope to return in the future and see one of the big rockets launch in the winter. We departed the KARS campground on Monday, April 24 and headed to the Pelican Roost RV Park at Mayport Naval Station in Jacksonville, Florida about 165 miles to the north. We arrived in plenty of time to get our visitors pass at the base office except they were closed. Apparently the office had a gas leak that day that put three people in the hospital, so they closed the office and we had to adjust on the fly because we had no authorization to get on base. Fortunately, just down the street, was a City of Jacksonville campground at Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park which included 300 sites set in a wooded area that is easily accessible by paved roads. RV, tent and rustic cabin camping was available, so we booked two nights there until we could get to Pelican Roost. It worked out just fine; in fact, we booked three nights in November 2023 when we return for the winter.