Ryan's Journal

"My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?" — David Mitchell


Posted from Decatur, Alabama at 9:38 pm, December 13th, 2010

Anything on the map that in any way relates to spaceships tends to be difficult for me to avoid, and thus it was that today’s destination was the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. After a cold (temperature: 19°F) pre-dawn wakeup followed by another thirty or so miles of the Natchez Trace Parkway, the Subaru and I set off across Northern Alabama in search of rockets. At about ten o’clock the top of a Saturn V became visible on the horizon, and from that point onwards my mood was of the sort that usually leads Audrey to disavow that she actually knows me.

The space center is home to a museum that features a Saturn V rocket that was never sent into space. It’s the largest and most powerful space vehicle ever produced by man, with each of the five first-stage engines measuring twelve feet in diameter, and a total rocket height of over 36 stories; I was giddy. In addition to the Saturn V, the actual Apollo 16 command module, tons of mockups from other missions, and a “Rocket Garden” with everything from full-scale models to test vehicles were all on display. Since it was a Monday in December the staff seemed to outnumber visitors, so there was plenty of space to take it all in. While I generally try to keep him at bay, today the inner geek ran wild and free.

Saturn V Third Stage

Saturn V third stage. You would think there would be lots of amazing photos to show off the day’s sights, but for some reason what little photographic ability I might once have possessed seems to have disappeared on this trip.

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