28 January 2015

... so, YOU Think YOU'VE Travelled? ... HA!

Location: Jetty Park Campground, Cape Canaveral, FL, USA
As travellers, most of us probably believe driving a few thousand kms a year or passing through the borders of a couple of the world's countries in any given year is impressive.

On the other hand ... NASA's HMS Challenger, launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida ... flew 10 missions, spent just 62 days in space and travelled approximately 41.5 MILLION kms in that time! That translates into almost 670, 000 kms / day and they accomplished all that in space!

Travelling in LOAF, we feel that driving an average of 300 kms / day, or so, is pretty darned good. That's the equivalent of about 0.0004 percent of what those astronauts on the Challenger travelled daily! We did a 51 day driving trip in Costa Rica once and travelled about 25 HUNDRED kms. WOW! ... unimpressive for sure ... and we accomplished that on roadways!

Thanks to an invitation from Angela and Gordon, the publishers of Truck Camper Magazine, we've found ourselves at an informal gathering of 21 truck camper owners. We've all settled in at Jetty Park CG near the Kennedy Space Centre. From here, we can access the centre in about a half hour. 

... some of the group ... that's LOAF, on the right with the two kayaks!

We watched the cruise ships pass by and connected for a pot luck dinner later in the day. 

Background: The International Space Station program, ISS,  includes Canada, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States, and eleven Member States of the European Space Agency (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway. Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom

I was never that interested in Space Travel, but I am sure glad now, that we decided to visit here. On DAY ONE we visited the Atlantis Exhibit and took the launch simulator ride, travelled the tour bus to all the launch pad and support areas and viewed one of the IMAX presentations. This place is immense! Located on Merritt Island, Florida, the center is north-northwest of Cape Canaveral on the Atlantic Ocean, midway between Miami and Jacksonville on Florida's Space Coast. It is 34 miles (55 km) long and roughly 6 miles (10 km) wide, covering 219 square miles.

I believe it’s the technology that has been developed to support this international program, that amazed us the most! 

Crawler-Transporters move all the really big heavy stuff out to the launch pads. They move along at about 1 mph and they shake the ground so tremendously that insects are pulled out and up to the surface as they pass ... Egrets and other insect eating animals follow along and benefit from the harvest. 

They have a mass of 2,721,000 kilograms (5,999,000 lb) and have eight tracks, two on each corner. Each track has 57 shoes, and each shoe weighs 900 kg (1,984 lb). The vehicle measures 40 by 35 metres (131 by 114 ft). The height from ground level to the platform is adjustable from 6.1 to 7.9 m (20 to 26 ft), and each side can be raised and lowered independently of the other. The crawler uses a laser guidance system and a leveling system to keep the Mobile Launch Platform level within 10 minutes of arc (about 30 cm (1 ft) at the top of the Saturn V), while moving up the 5% grade to the launch site. A separate laser docking system provides pinpoint accuracy when the crawler-transporter and Mobile Launch Platform are positioned in the VAB or at the launch pad. A team of nearly 30 engineers, technicians and drivers operate the vehicle. 

The original Canadarm was capable of deploying or retrieving payloads up to 332.5 kg (733 lb) in space. 

In the mid-1990s the arm control system was redesigned to increase the payload capability to 3,293 kg (7,260 lb) in order to support space station assembly operations. Although the Canadarm can maneuver massive payloads in space, the arm motors are unable to lift the arm's own weight when on the ground. NASA therefore developed a model of the arm for use at its training facility within the Johnson Space Center located in Houston, Texas. The Canadarm can also retrieve, repair and deploy satellites; provide a mobile extension ladder for extravehicular activity crew members for work stations or foot restraints; and be used as an inspection aid to allow the flight crew members to view the orbiter's or payload's surfaces through a television camera on the Canadarm. 

On DAY TWO, we returned and visited the displays we didn’t get a chance to see first time around ... the remainder of Atlantis, the Astronauts Memorial, Early Space Travel and the Mercury 7 Crew. 

I spent MY day watching Helen play with all the space travel simulators. 

 Landing the Shuttle ...

 Docking with the International Space Station ...

 Manipulating the Canadarm ...

 How To 'You Know' ... In Space

Landing safely ...

Definitely put this on your list. The grounds are a bit touristy but if you dig past the standard, souvenir offerings and the usual, kisosk food, you'll discover there's some really interesting stuff to see here and even more to learn!

Crusty ... "LOAFin Where No One Has LOAFed Before ... "


  1. We had a great time! Thanks for sharing this fun experience! - Angela and Gordon

  2. Hi Angela, Gordon and Harley. Thanks, we also had a good time. Was truly educational and fun. Also liked the 'testing' day. Met lots of great folks. Will have to do it again. Heading to Naples tomorrow, stay in touch. Helen & Dann


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TEAM: LOAF, Crumby, Wry & Crusty