Expedition to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

We recently traveled to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to gather reference imagery for our planetarium show production about human spaceflight to Mars. What an epic trip!

It was surreal to walk inside of the Vehicle Assembly Building and travel up to the 37th floor of this incredibly huge single-story building. Currently the VAB is being retrofitted so that the SLS rocket can be vertically assembled within. This retrofit includes special motorized platforms which can be moved into place according to the needs of the project at hand.

The Mobile Launcher Platform is a sight to behold. We walked underneath the platform and looked through the massive exhaust duct where the SLS rockets boosters will blast off. The platform is currently being altered in order to support the heavier weight and additional thrust of the SLS.

Walking underneath the crawler transporter was a good moment to grasp it’s immense scale. It is such a strange mechanical behemoth and so it was difficult to imagine it in motion to slowly transport a standing rocket while also keeping it level. When the time comes, the crawler will carry both the Mobile Launcher Platform and the SLS from the Vehicle Assembly Building to the launch pad.

Exploring Launch Pad 39B was exciting from a historical perspective and also looking to the future. This launch site was used for the Apollo 10 launch (Saturn V), three Skylab missions (Saturn 1B), and 53 space shuttle launches. Currently the pad is being retrofitted so it can withstand the thrust levels expected from SLS and other large-power rockets.

And of course we had to visit the rocket garden and Saturn V displayed horizontally…

Many thanks to the amazing NASA staff for their generosity and eagerness. It was a wonderfully inspirational trip that has proved vital for the production of our planetarium show. Now we’re back to the grindstone and cranking out 3D animation for the show. Long live NASA!