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06/09/14 - Trip to the Kennedy Space Center with Suz for a full tour, lunch with an Astronaut, and Atlantis!

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Driving past the airport on the way to KSC
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Kennedy Space Center!
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We're here!
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So excited
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Since I was last here they stood the ET/SRB stack up vertically. It's so tall!
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Sunglass selfie
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Yaaay NASA
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We got here a little early.. the gates weren't open yet
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They won't let us in!
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Suz is ready to go to space
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Close and lock your visors!
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Hey I know those two
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Suz loves commercial crew
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Me and Dream Chaser are buddies
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Suz was impressed by the shuttle stack
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Looking up at the stack, so tall!
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Suz provided for scale
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External tank!
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Suz snaps her own picture
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A KSC photographer took our picture with Atlantis
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Hello Atlantis!
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I've seen Endeavour launch, Discovery at the Smithsonian (and in orbit), and now Atlantis. So I've seen all remaining space shuttles!
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Suz poses next to the guy who answered a bunch of our questions. He worked on the shuttles for much of the program!
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It's a gorgeous spacecraft
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Umbilical connections near the aft of the vehicle
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Looking up along the payload bay doors. Incredible
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There were a bunch of random little exhibits in the area
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Suz was nervous about standing behind the main engines
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You may, or more likely may not, recognize this as the SSME from the observation gantry when I visited in 2011 for STS-134!
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I wasn't the only one taking pictures
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Suz is the Commander! How appropriate
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I had to settle for pilot
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RTLS abort mode? Scaaary
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It was awesome getting to be so close to Atlantis in the on-orbit configuration
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Suz tries her hand one of the Kinect-based EVA games
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My turn
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Yaay, look at me go
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Suz had some trouble with the Kinect
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Space tools!
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A mockup of the Hubble. The Hubble is HUGE
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Every time I turned around to take a look I just wanted to spend all day staring at it
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Close up of the cockpit and lettering
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An MMU above us!
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The OMS pods look so worn out
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Looking up at the RMS end effector
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The RCS thrusters look a lot bigger up close
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Closeup of the connections on the side
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This emblem has been to some interesting places
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Looking up at the crew cabin
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The incredible thermal protection system
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Suz does her best to pretend to be floating
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Suz was scared to crawl across the tube because it was see through and like 50 feet in the air
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This big slide is supposed to be a shuttle reentry simulator? Or.. just a fun slide
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This is the tube Suz was crossing
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Suz did the slide again so I could take a picture. Wheee
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Looking along Atlantis' left wing
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These are the last wheels to touch down after turning to space. The nose gear wheels from STS-135
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Max Faget's original model of a winged spacecraft
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Looking back towards the leading edge of the wing
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Suz takes the space toilet for a spin.. but not too much of a spin
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An ISS bedroom. Not bad!
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Looking up at the Atlantis heat shield
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Suz looks so tiny!
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Looking up at the crew cabin from below
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It's a really fantastic exhibit
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Trying out the landing simulator. It wasn't so great
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Suz wasn't super impressed with the sims either
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Whoops! Let's hope this doesn't happen in orbit
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Looking up at the Hubble
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The shuttle stack is so tall!
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Suz had to touch the wet ball
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Now here is a lineup I can get behind!
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Dream Chaser again!
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An old Falcon 9!
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Gemini Titan!
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Cool looking engines
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Suz didn't want to spend two weeks in a Gemini capsule like Frank Borman and Jim Lovell
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This bird is playing a dangerous game
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Weird old rocket that I don't want to look up
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Ha, they put a little railing around the F-1 engine since I was here last time
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Suz, that is not how you sit in spaceships!
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Much better
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Looking down the Saturn IB, the Saturn V's little cousin
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Suz on the actual Apollo gantry
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The next surface Neil Armstrong walked on after this walkway was the lunar surface
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Rocket garden!
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Suz is having some trouble with the Mercury capsule
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Suz and Soyuz!
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A replica of the Mercury mission control
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I believe this is Gordon Cooper's actual spacesuit
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Looking into a Gemini capsule
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I wonder if that exposed wiring was there during the flight
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I'm not sure if this is a training suit or what but it is not the suit Neil Armstrong wore on the moon
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Suz is ready for lunch
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We had lunch with astronaut John Blaha! He flew on six shuttle missions and spent several months on Mir. He was also sort of crazy
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Posing with John Blaha!
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Another view of the rocket garden
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This woman was taking photos with her laptop.... what.
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Where could this be??
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Suz insisted we check out the Angry Birds exhibit. Ughh.
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What is with this entrance?? Are the angry birds trapped in somebody's butt??
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Shooting angry birds!
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Some sort of mirror maze that blasted air at us
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Where can I get this LEGO set?
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What planet did they send this guy to?
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Oh god, don't look at me
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I take a picture of this payphone every time I come here
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These are some odd choices
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Time for the close up tour!
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Our awesome tourguide! ..I forget his name
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Headed to the actual Kennedy Space Center and not the Visitor Complex
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Launch Complex 40, home of SpaceX!
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The VAB is massive, even from several miles away
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I believe this is LC-41. If you look closely you can see what looks like an Atlas launch vehicle inside
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One more look at LC-40, a little closer
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Headed towards the VAB
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The Launch Control Center!
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Apparently the launch platform and servicing structure for SLS is already finished?
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Driving along the Saturn Causeway
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The last mobile launch platform to launch a shuttle, newly removed from LC-39A at SpaceX's request
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This is a giant structure
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The mobile launch platform on top of the crawler transporter
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Let's head to Pad A!
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Launch Complex 39A!
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Circling around it counter-clockwise
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Closeup of the rotating service structure
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That is a lot of liquid hydrogen. I wonder if SpaceX can repurpose this for RP-1 or Methane?
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I think this is LC-40
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Continuing to circle 39A
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A lot of history at this launchpad
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Rennovations are already underway by SpaceX, who is now leasing the pad
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You can see the SpaceX crew hard at work
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The VAB and SLS tower loom in the distance
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Suz hanging out with LC-39A
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Me hanging out with LC-39A!
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Lots of patches
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Suz is ready to go
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Let's head back to the tour bus
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LC-39B in its new "clean pad" configuration
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I always wondered if this giant ramp was solid concrete. Maybe someday I'll look it up..
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The lightning rods are a lot bigger than they look
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Flame deflectors! They look pretty beat up
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If all goes according to plan, SLS will be rolling up this ramp in a few years for its first flight
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Back at the mobile launch platform
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Heading back to the VAB
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The bus driver took this picture. It was his idea, I swear
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But it was my idea to make Suz do it
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They painted the ground to show how huge the stars and stripes on the side of the VAB are
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Where the magic happens. The Vehicle Assembly Building
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Giant NASA emblem!
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Closeup of the giant flag. I may have gone overboard with the "clarity" filter here..
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The bay doors are massive
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It's such a huge building. It's sort of hard to convey
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If they didn't control the atmosphere inside it would form clouds near the top and rain indoors!
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Suz loves NASA
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Me too
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Suz demonstrates how large the stars are
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The Orbiter Processing Facilities. No shuttles anymore. Boeing leased one of these for the CST-100 I believe
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The Shuttle Landing Facility runway! Very cool but not very photogenic
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Back to the Saturn V center!
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I guided Suz into the room while she looked down at the ground then had her turn around when we arrived at the rear. Her reaction: "Holy shit!"
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Looking up at the super powerful F-1 engines
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Don't be on the wrong end of these engines
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Looking up the first stage
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Various newspapers reacting to the Apollo 11 landing
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Five J-2 engines take over at the second stage
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It's incredible that they did this without modern computers
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The ugliest and most beautiful vehicle to ever fly: the lunar module
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The hatch on the Apollo 14 command module Kitty Hawk
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Looking down near the heat shield
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Alan Shepard, Ed Mitchell, and Stu Roosa sat in those seats
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Alan Shepard's actual suit that he wore on the moon
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Apollo flight plans!
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Out of focus near the top it says "Landing in Apollo is a crash!"
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The top of the fuel tanks in the second stage
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Another shot of the lunar module
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A long J-2 engine does the work for the third stage
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Suz touches a moon rock. She was disappointed it was smooth from so many people touching it
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The flight suit that Jim Lovell wore during the Apollo 13 mission
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Birds are weird
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Inside a lunar module
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Space Dots are too cold!
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What a great day at the Kennedy Space Center
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The moon! We went there!!
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I'll be back soon!
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How cool is that?
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And there's the Max A. Brewer Memorial Parkway, the bridge James and I watched STS-134 and SpaceX COTS2 launch from!
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