In 1984, while still at Hornsey School of Art, I sold my old Ford Escort mk1 and used the proceeds to go to the USA and visit my old school friends who had emigrated a few years earlier to New Orleans. A group of us went on a road trip to Florida, with our destination being the Kennedy Space Center.
I had a basic camera with me but no real interest in photography and gave little thought to what I was snapping.
However, just a few of the photos I took at the Space Center while taking the bus tour around the site have survived. I scanned them and cleaned them up a bit. My favourite is the Crawler Transporter, an amazing machine that encapsulates the vision and ambition of the Project Apollo era.
Kennedy Space Center
The John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC, originally known as the NASA Launch Operations Center) is one of ten National Aeronautics and Space Administration field centers. Since December 1968, Kennedy Space Center has been NASA's primary launch center of human spaceflight. Launch operations for the Apollo, Skylab and Space Shuttle programs were carried out from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39 and managed by KSC.Located on the east coast of Florida, KSC is adjacent to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS). The management of the two entities work very closely together, share resources, and even own facilities on each other's property.
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has a variety of exhibits, artefacts, displays and attractions on the history and future of human and robotic spaceflight. Bus tours of KSC originate from here.
Vehicle Assembly Building
The Vehicle (originally Vertical) Assembly Building, or VAB, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) was used to assemble American manned launch vehicles from 1968-2011. At 3,664,883 cubic meters (129,428,000 cubic feet) it is one of the largest buildings in the world by volume.
Vehicle Assembly Building
The crawler-transporters are a pair of tracked vehicles used to transport spacecraft from NASA's Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) along the Crawlerway to Launch Complex 39. They were originally used to transport the Saturn IB and Saturn V rockets during the Apollo, Skylab and Apollo–Soyuz programs. They were then used to transport Space Shuttles from 1981 to 2011. The crawler-transporters carry vehicles on the Mobile Launcher Platform, and after each launch return to the pad to take the platform back to the VAB.
Launch Complex 39
Launch Complex 39 (LC-39) is a rocket launch site at the John F. Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island in Florida, United States. The site and its collection of facilities were originally built for the Apollo program, and later modified for the Space Shuttle program. As of 2017, only Launch Complex 39A is active, launching SpaceX's Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy. Pad 39B is being modified to launch NASA's Space Launch System.
Launch Complex 39 is composed of three launch pads—39A, 39B and 39C, a Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), a Crawlerway used by crawler-transporters to carry Mobile Launcher Platforms between the VAB and the pads, Orbiter Processing Facility buildings, a Launch Control Center which contains the firing rooms, a news facility famous for the iconic countdown clock seen in television coverage and photos, and various logistical and operational support buildings.