Repositioning South — Kennedy Space Center Part 4

Kennedy Space Center

Now that the clouds have finally broken and the sun is out, let’s go explore the Rocket Garden. We’ll begin with an image of a Mercury Redstone manned suborbital launch vehicle, Mercury Atlas manned orbital vehicle, and a Delta rocket.

Mercury Atlas (center) framed by Mercury Redstone (left) and Delta

During my youth, Project Mercury and Project Gemini held us glued to the television during every launch. Even in school we were herded into the auditorium, seated upon the hard floor, and treated to watching the Mercury launches on a small, grainy, black & white television screen. Here is a mock-up of a Mercury Atlas launch vehicle as it would have looked during NASA’s first manned orbital flights:

Mercury Atlas

After single-occupant Mercury flights came the two-man Gemini capsules launched into orbit atop Titan II missiles. A complimentary launch vehicle was the Atlas-Agena, which gave the Gemini crews a target with which to dock while in orbit:

Gemini Titan II (left) and Atlas-Agena

In my view, the Gemini capsule remains today the prettiest manned space vehicle ever produced for NASA. It just looks like a two-seat roadster:

Gemini two-man capsule

Here’s another image of Gemini paired with the Titan II launch vehicle:

Gemini Titan II

Following Gemini came the Apollo Program, which mated the three-man Apollo Command and Service Module (CSM) with various Saturn rockets. The most famous Saturn was, of course, the super heavy-lift Saturn V which took us to the moon. Less well known, unless you lived through the various missions, was the heavy-lift Saturn 1B picture below:

Saturn 1B

Not at the Rocket Garden, but rather outside the Shuttle: A Ship Like No Other exhibition hall (featured in Monday’s article), is this Shuttle External Tank mated to two Shuttle Solid Rocket Boosters:

Space Shuttle External Tank and Solid Rocket Boosters

Next to the Rocket Garden is the Heroes and Legends pavilion, which includes the Mercury Mission Control Center as it would have appeared during John Glenn’s orbital Mercury Atlas mission (Mercury Atlas 6), which nearly ended in disaster:

Mercury Mission Control as it appeared during John Glenn’s flight

I’ll leave you today with these final two images for the Rocket Garden:

Kennedy Space Center 10-19-2019 3-17-36 PM

Rocket Garden

Early space vehicle family portrait


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