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Florida Guide > Days Out

The Apollo/Saturn V Visitors Centre - Kennedy Space Centre, Florida

Millions of people held their breath back on the 19th July 1969 as Neil Armstrong searched for a safe place to land the lunar module on the moon. “The Eagle has landed” crackled through the radio to earth. Many back on earth gasped at the sheer thought that man had landed on the Moon! Some hours later, Neil Armstrong took those few tentative steps down to the moons surface…”Just one small step for man but one giant leap for mankind. ”

Thousands, millions have been enthralled by space since the 1960’s. Visiting the Apollo/Saturn V Centre visitors can re-live these moments as well as pay tribute to both the men and rockets that made the journey into space during the ‘60’s and early ‘70’s.

The Saturn V played a vital role in man’s travel in space. It made 12 launches; the first being Apollo 4 an unmanned mission in November 67 through to the last for the Skylab. Apollo 8, in December 1968, was the first manned mission which circled the moon.

One of the most impressive machines ever built by man, it could launch day or night in good or foul weather. It stood 363 feet high and 33 feet in diameter. This is just one foot shorter than St Paul’s Cathedral in London!

Entering the large hanger is housed a replica of the Saturn V rocket laying on its side. Five enormous silver engines, accompanied by many wires, can be viewed – it is only when up close that their sheer size can be appreciated. Just stand back and imagine the power and force being created to lift this machine off the ground, out of the earth’s gravity.

Pass along the rocket viewing the 1st stage to be ejected as its fuel was used. (All three stages used liquid oxygen as an oxidiser. The 1st stage used ‘RP-1’ fuel whilst the 2nd and 3d used liquid hydrogen. All three also used small solid fuel motors that helped to separate the stages during the launch). Further along view the 2nd and 3rd stages and then the Command Module, gleaming and shiny. As this enters the earth’s atmosphere it changes colour to shades of brown and orange caused by the heat and friction created as it enters the earth’s atmosphere, splashing into the Pacific Ocean.

High above in the Apollo/Saturn V Centre hangs a replica of the Lunar Module. Seeing it here makes visitors pause and realise just how small and flimsy it actually was – and remember Apollo 13? It supported three astronauts keeping them alive when their Command Module had ‘died’!

The Apollo/Saturn V Centre has various inspiring and hands on exhibits, whilst not forgetting the pendants hanging down from the ceiling, designed for each crew and mission. Famous names can be seen – Borman, Lovell, Glenn, Armstrong….

See the show of the landing on the moon. For those too young to have been born, this show may give a sense of just how big the challenge was, and how big a part the Saturn V rocket played.

If you would like to visit Kennedy Space Centre and relive history, together with future plans for mans travel and exploration into space, tickets can be purchased via the OV website.

Author: Denise and Nigel Taylor (Villa link: click here)
Other articles by this author: click here

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Page added on: 25 July 2007
Viewed 4089 times since 1 September 2008.

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