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 Florida 1999

Dan's Florida Adventure

When Imagineering sends me on a business trip I make the most of my spare time. Recently I spent a week in Orlando, Florida so while there I cruised around to check a few things out. Here are some of the more interesting pictures I took of the places I visited.

At the eastern end of the state sits Cape Canaveral, site of most major spacecraft launches for the United States. I took the tour and it was breathtaking. One of the first things you see is the special building that houses a complete Saturn V rocket, the vehicle that took men to the moon. These pictures don't really convey the enormous size of this machine. What an amazing accomplishment.

These are pictures of the Rocketdyne F-1 engine that powers the Saturn V. There are five of these on the first stage. I don't remember all the numbers from the description cards (it all starts to run together after a while) but they put out like a zillion pounds of thrust. Each.

A single J-2 engine powers the third stage of the rocket, a modified Centaur that put out between 15 and 20,000 lbs. of thrust. It doesn't need to be as large since it isn't moving anything near the mass of the first two stages. The various spherical objects are pressure tanks; I imagine that two contain the hypergolic chemicals required to startup the engine. The main fuel tanks however reside within the third stage body.
Here is the inside of a mock-up of the lunar buggy vehicle that the astronauts cruised lunar surface in. I was drawn to the wire-wound coils in the motor control box. Either breaking resistors or series resistors for stepped speeds I'd guess. A blue arrow points them out in the large version.
The hatch release mechanism on the Apllo reentry vehicle. Some of the most beautiful machining I've ever seen. The image corruption at the bottom is the bend in the polycarbonate that covered the capsule on display.
At the Mars exhibit they had two R/C rovers that you could drive around in the dirt, over rocks, etc. So of course my friend and I pushed the surrounding kids off the controls and started fighting them.
On the way out we stopped for an airboat ride. The only way I can describe the experience is that it's like trying to control a forklift in an oil slick. That's a 454 cid engine spinning that composite blade. Very loud.
The airboat guys had this pet Burmese Python cruising around their convenience store. It was named Tickles or something equally appropriate. 45 lb. of snake that wasn't exactly slow. They said it ate a 4-5 lb. rabbit every month. How did they know when it was time for another? "When the rabbit-lump disappeared in its body."

Too bad we missed feeding-day.

I figured "what the heck." How many times in my life will I get to hold a python on my shoulders?

Other things I didn't get pictures of:
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