Kennedy Space Center...

When planning our day learning about NASA, we saw that a very special event was occurring today, and we wanted to be a part of it.

How incredible that we were there for the Grand Opening of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex's newest attraction, Heroes & Legends featuring the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame® presented by Boeing. What an honor to be in the company of the inducted astronauts: Robert Cabana, Bo Bobko,Vance Brand, Dan Brandenstein, Curt Brown, Bob Crippen, Walt Cunningham, Brian Duffy, Charlie Duke, Hoot Gibson, Ed Gibson, Rick Hauck, Jack Lousma, Jim Lovell, Kent Rominger, Jerry Ross, Rhea Seddon, Tom Stafford, Al Worden, Brewster Shaw, Kathy Thornton, Fred Gregory, Joe Engle, and Buzz Aldrin.
It was a thrill to see Buzz Aldrin, an American engineer and former astronaut. As the Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 11, he was one of the first two humans to land on the Moon.
And how exciting to be in the company of Jim Lovell, former NASA astronaut and a retired captain in the United States Navy, most famous as the commander of the Apollo 13 mission, which suffered a critical failure en route to the Moon but was brought back safely to Earth by the efforts of the crew and mission control. Lovell was also the command module pilot of Apollo 8, the first Apollo mission to enter lunar orbit.
All that fame and Jim still wears playful socks. I loved this!

After impressive introductions, touching tributes and moving speeches, the ribbon was cut.
There were photo opportunities galore. The astronauts' families were asked to join them. I found this a great chance to join in all the fun. Do you see me? I am only four people away from Buzz. So cool!
The new exhibit, Heroes & Legends, immerses guests in the early space program through astronauts’ eyes, setting the stage for their later tours of a Saturn V moon rocket and the retired space shuttle Atlantis. What I enjoyed the most was the personal side of the astronauts. Seeing the boyhood items that represented their path to success. Buzz Aldrin's medals from summer camp competitions and Jim Lovell's Boy Scout sash adorned with many badges.

  “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things,
not because they are easy, but because they are hard."
-John F. Kennedy
After exploring the Visitor Complex, we boarded a bus. Short of becoming an astronaut there's no better way to see Kennedy Space Center than on the Bus Tour. This tour gave us access to the restricted areas of America's Spaceport and allowed us to discover the birthplace of American spaceflight.

We were given an incredible and informative behind the scenes view of this working spaceflight facility where America launched to the moon and where NASA plans to launch astronauts into deep space. We even learned where NASA's Commercial Crew and Cargo partners such as SpaceX, Boeing and United Launch Alliance (ULA) operate on Florida's Space Coast at this multi-user facility.
We saw locations of historical launched and the iconic Vehicle Assembly Building. It all piqued our curiosity and made us love the Space Program all over again. New stuff is happening and their was an energy in the air.

I had the chance to explore a scaled down International Space Station  and watch a 3 D movie, A Beautiful Planet, showing life on the ISS and a hopeful look into the future of Earth and the effects humanity has had on it over time. Wow.

The famous NASA Countdown Clock... only Big Ben in England is a more viewed keeper of time.
As the sun went down, the Rocket Garden appeared even more impressive. This was a day that left us both wanting more time to learn about the Space program of yesteryear and about the exciting plans for the future.

Buzz Aldrin said it best, "By refocusing our space program on Mars for America's future, we can restore the sense of wonder and adventure in space exploration that we knew in the summer of 1969. We won the moon race; now it's time for us to live and work on Mars, first on its moons and then on its surface."

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