This is it. The day we've all been waiting for. Every lighthouse explorers dream. We made it inside of Patrick Air Force Base and toured the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse. It's actually not as impossible as it sounds. Since, it is on a military base, there are a lot more rules and regulations that are set in place. You can't just show up. They have available tour dates on their website. Last year the dates didn't coincide with our vacation, so it didn't work out. But, this year everything was in perfect alignment. So, we emailed Patrick AFB about a month ahead of time and gave them all of our information. We got a response quickly. (Kind of what you'd expect from military personnel.) We were approved! Yay!!!
This was an awesome tour. It combined our love of lighthouses and our love of space. It definitely kept everyones interest the entire time. The tours start at 9AM and takes about three hours. Although, the latest you can arrive is 8:30AM for security checks. While you're waiting for the tour to begin you can tour the Air Force Space and Missile History Center. That building alone was worth the trip. It was loaded with space capsules, rockets, engines, command centers and tons of artifacts. Plus, it had a space gift shop, where I more than made up for it being a free tour.
|Titan 1 Engine|
(click on pic to read)
|Heat Sink Nosecone|
While we were in the gift shop, we met Ray Osborne, author of "Images of America, Cape Canaveral". We bought his book, three patches for the kids, three magnetic space monkeys and a kids book called, "Ham the Astrochimp". It's the true story about the first chimp in space. We don't usually go that crazy in gift shops, but we do always get patches and a children's book. The space monkeys were so darn cute, I had to give in. Plus, they went with the book, which we read a lot.
|inside the gift shop with author, Ray Osborne|
Promptly at 9:00, it was time to load up on the bus for the tour. It was amazing. We toured the buildings that they actually controlled the launches from. They had entire walls full of pull out computer data that they ran things from. The tour guide said that smart phones actually hold more data than those entire walls.
|full body scan|
|the lights look like UFO's|
|entire wall of data|
The boys with their space monkeys in front
of the actual capsule that Ham travelled in.
|The Gemini 2 capsule - it was the only capsule ever used twice.|
|This train was used to transport space equipment around the base.|
With the crazy amount of pictures I took, this is going to have to be broken up into two posts. Stay tuned for tomorrow's exciting conclusion, which includes the Cape Canaveral Lighhouse! ;')