Roland Turner

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Kennedy Space Centre, Florida, USA

Today was spent at the Kennedy Space Centre. Wow. I could easily have spent 3 days.

The vehicle Assembly Building, at the entry to Launch Complex 39. For Sydney viewers, this building is about half the height of Centrepoint tower! It is claimed to be the third largest building in the world.

About 3Km east of the VAB is the observation gantry. Mounted at about its centre is a Space Shuttle Main Engine for visitors to ogle - I did. From this distance the VAB looks a little smaller. This is as close as members of the public ever get to the launch pads. 39A is another 2Km east, 39B is about 2.5Km to the north. Endeavour is shown on 39A, being prepared for the February 11 launch of STS-99, the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission.

Next stop was the Saturn V/Apollo centre. This building is dominated (in fact built around) one of the three remaining Saturn V rockets. (Fifteen were manufactured, twelve were used during the Apollo program.) A Saturn V is a very big object.

Last stop was the International Space Station processing facility.

Leonardo (and its siblings Michelangelo, Donatello, ... - yes, they really do share the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle's names!) is the space equivalent of the shipping container. It is used both to ferry supplies to the station (and garbage back), and for in-orbit storage.

No manually operated pallet trucks for these guys, this is essentially a hovercraft pallet truck.

Destiny is a laboratory.

An astronaut (identified by the blue overalls) working on a 'Pressurised Mating Device' (docking ring, front door, the round thing to the right of the picture).

This unassuming little building at the ISS processing facility was in fact the training centre for the Apollo missions.