Almost two years ago a few friends in Raleigh rented an RV and headed South on a trip to see one of the last shuttle launches (STS-132). I know – I probably talk about it all the time. If the first trip was “To Infinity and Beyond” this one is Infinity behind the scenes.

dsc_2655At the close of the shuttle program, the Vehicle Assembly Building is open for tours for the first time in almost three decades. Currently, the building is open because there is no vehicle to assemble. It is not only one of the largest buildings in the world but as of right now possibly one of the emptiest. It had to be amazing when over 500 people were working around the clock to assemble, test and prepare to send into orbit the rich history that is the United States space program.

They include both the exhibits and a few really cool images from behind the scenes. The tour creates a wide range of emotions about the program and the world we now live in that doesn’t celebrate astronauts as brave heroes as they did in the golden age of the space race. It makes you wonder if we’ve given up or if we’ve conquered all can as humans. I’ll blog more about this later but it was sad to walk through the rich history of a contest we won only to have the sad reality sink in that we now have to catch a ride with the country we worked so hard to surpass. Enjoy the pics – hopefully, I’ll be able to post pictures of the first commercial rocket (Dragon/Space X) to go to the International Space Station before the week is done.

If you see a picture you like – or have a question about – let me know and I’ll post about it.