Recently, I spent a long (hot) week of work down at Kennedy Space Center working with NASA on the booster portion of the proposed shuttle replacement system. We (well, most of us - too bad, Jeff) got a nice perk for all of our hard work that week in the form of watching the shuttle launch. Truly an awesome spectacle; I feel very fortunate to have been able to witness that. For nerds like me who watch a computer screen all day long, it can be hard to really wrap my mind grapes on the very scale of the things we are dealing with - not to mention the idea that those very things will be pushed into space by a controlled explosion more or less. These trips to KSC are an excellent reminder of just what an amazing achievment reaching space is.
Even being there on site, it's difficult to put things in perspective as everything around is magnified in size to support these huge vehicles - wrenches, carts, hoists, yes, even... bugs. OK, maybe that's more due to the warm, humid climate, but still. I'm just sayin'. (For those of you that know me, you're probably laughing thinking about: how much I'm sweating in that heat, and how out of control my hair is there. Yes, it's ridiculous, but not quite as bad as in New Mexico, Vincents.)
For instance, take a look at the facility we're looking in. In the picture below, the tip of that needle-looking thing poking out of the bottom-left corner is about 70-some feet or more off the floor. You might notice that the roof of the building is a just a bit further up.
The engine fire got so bright that I could no longer focus manually at one point and had to switch over to the autofocus. Pictures alone don't do the sight justice. You really need the sound. Fortunately I've got a video (thanks to Shannon for taking this).
As I said, a long week, but a pretty fun trip. Thanks to all our friends at NASA for their hard work and getting us out to see some really cool stuff. All the pics from this trip here, and a previous trip over here.