NASA Trip–Vehicle Assembly Building

Even though we were told the Vehicle Assembly Building covers 8 acres, the enormity of the building didn’t hit home until we walked inside. Then, it was like looking up inside a skyscraper!

Top Ten Fun Facts About NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Building

  1. The VAB is part of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and was designed so that the Saturn V and Space Shuttle could be assembled and stacked vertically onto the Mobile Launch Platform.
  2. Construction for the Vehicle Assembly Building was completed in 1966.
  3. At 525 feet tall, the VAB is the largest single story building in the world.
  4. The American flag painted on the VAB as part of the 1976 United States Bicentennial celebrations was the largest in the world at that time.
  5. On the American flag, each star is 6 feet tall, each stripe is 9 feet wide, and the blue field is the size of a regulation basketball court.
  6. 4,225 pilings were driven down 164 feet to bedrock with a foundation consisting of 30,000 cubic yards of concrete.
  7. Inside the building, there are four high bays where rockets can be assembled.
  8. The doors to the VAB are the largest in the world at 456 feet (139.0 m) high, and take 45 minutes to completely open or close.
  9. The VAB has its own weather! Since the building’s interior volume is so vast, humid air rises, moisture condenses and forms on surfaces, and the condensations falls down, like rain.
  10. The building has been used as a backdrop in several Hollywood movies including Marooned, SpaceCamp, Apollo 13, Contact to name a few.
Team Mercury

Source: Wikipedia


NASA Trip–Space Shuttle Atlantis

Countdown: the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon!

Hon, this is the perfect week to show you what my daughter’s Space Exploration team did at the Kennedy Space Center’s Visitor Complex in Florida. Lucky me, I got to chaperone, learn alongside the students, and watch a rocket launch! Woohoo!

Shout out to Mr. John Yi, the high school’s Space Ex teacher, and Jamie Semple and Arianna Moore, NASA’s App Development Challenge Team who work in the Office of STEM Engagement at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, and who put together the entire itinerary.

My daughter asked, “They planned all of this just for us?” Yup, they did.

(space post photos are a combo of mine and those put together by the group)

Here’s what the KSCVC site says about the Space Shuttle Atlantis, “a space shuttle launched like a rocket and landed like a glider.” 

You can’t miss the entrance to the home of space shuttle Atlantis: a mighty full-scale space shuttle stack of two solid rocket boosters and orange external tank. Inside, Atlantis is displayed as only astronauts have seen her in space, rotated 43.21 degrees with payload doors open and Canadarm extended, as if just undocked from the International Space Station (ISS). One of three space-flown shuttles displayed in the United States, Space Shuttle Atlantis® showcases the orbiter spacecraft and tells the story of NASA’s 30-year Space Shuttle Program.

In addition to marveling at the size of the Atlantis, visitors can “train like an astronaut in the essential functions of space shuttle flight with high-tech simulators,” experience a space shuttle launch simulation, and visit tributes to “the 14 brave astronauts who perished during the loss of orbiters Challenger and Columbia.”

Deployed in 1990 and orbiting 340 miles above the Earth’s surface, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) debut was delayed when it was discovered the optic mirror did not work. Watch how dedicated astronauts fought to save the telescope over the course of five grueling service missions. Learn how Hubble has answered some of the most basic questions about the universe and is still operating in space more than 25 years later. Including an exact replica of the telescope suspended between two stories of the Space Shuttle Atlantis® attraction, HST Theater also allows a close-up look at the configuration of Hubble and its solar arrays.

The Trial of Maurice the Rooster

Hon, you know what’s stranger than the Central Park Squirrel Census? A rooster on trial!

Cockadoodle-Do or Cockadoodle-Don’t?

On June 23,  The New York Times ran an article,  On Front Lines of Culture War In France:  Maurice the Rooster by Adam Nossiter about a rooster on trial for waking up neighbors with his early-bird song. Jean-Louis Biron and Joëlle Andrieux, who built a summer vacation house in the town of St.-Pierre-D’Oléron 15 years ago, had enjoyed peaceful vacations until Corinne Fesseau installed a chicken coop in 2017. “Jean-Louis Biron and Joëlle Andrieux have petitioned a judge to make Ms. Fesseau and her husband stop ‘the nuisances consecutive to the installation of their chicken-coop, and most particularly the song of Maurice the cock. They insist that the setting is urban, and so Maurice has no right to crow.'” The notion that the town is urban is part of the controversy.

The crowing Gallic coq is an eternal symbol of France and the controversy taps in to France’s still unbroken connection to its agricultural past, its self-image as a place that exalts farm life and the perceived value of a simpler existence.

Maurice has become the most famous chicken in France, but as always in a country where hidden significance is never far from the surface, he is much more than just a chicken.

The following are quotes and info from Nossiter’s NYT’s article. 

  • Maurice is described as “a cantankerous fowl with a magnificent puffed-out coat who struts Ms. Fesseau’s backyard with three hens in tow.”
  • “Mr. Biron and Ms. Andrieux hired an official court bailiff to report on the rooster, at a cost of hundreds of dollars…On the second and third day, at 6:30 and 7:00 am, the bailiff ‘took note of the song of the rooster.'”
  • Tens of thousands of people across France have signed a petition in the rooster’s favor.
  • The mayor of St.-Pierre-D’Oléron supported a municipal ordinance that “proclaimed the need ‘to preserve the rural character’ of the town.”
  • “A parliamentary representative from the rural district of Lozère wants rural sounds to be officially classified and protected as ‘national heritage’.”
  • “The rooster must be defended,” said mayoral candidate Thibault Brechkoff.
  • The plaintiff’s lawyer, Vincent Huberdeau said his clients are “not against the rooster, they’ve never asked for the death of the animal, this is about noise.”
  • Mr. Huberdeau said, “[My clients] have been presented as hostile to nature. But it’s not that at all. They have nothing against the rural world.”
  • “A mediator suggested sending Maurice away while Mr. Biron and Ms. Andrieux were using their vacation home.” Ms. Fesseau said, “I won’t be separated from my rooster!”
  • Ms. Fesseau also said, “A rooster needs to express himself.”
  • “On a recent morning, at precisely 6 am, with the sun just emerging, Maurice stiffened, raised his head, shook his wattles, opened his beak and let out a low, hoarse crow that Maurice’s lawyer characterized as ‘discreet.’ Ms. Fesseau’s husband, Jacky, slept right through the performance.”
  • Ms. Fesseau fretted, “Before, [Maurice] was happy, everything was going so well. But now…all this uproar and stress…”
  • “The rooster’s lawyer, in official pleadings, said Maurice ‘himself has perceived this disquiet, as for the past past several months he has only rarely sung.'”
  • “A random sampling of other neighbors uncovered only staunch defenders of Maurice.”
  • “Why must a rooster be arrested?’ asked neighbor Katherine Karom.
  • Another neighbor, Renaud Morandeau, said “he didn’t understand what all the fuss was about since he’d never heard it and added, ‘And even if I had heard, what the heck, it’s a rooster.'”
  • “There was no immediate risk of expulsion, or less pleasant rooster destinies.”

The court will announce a verdict in September.

Grand Canyon, Small Creature

The Squirrel Census inspired me to dig up photos of the time I bonded with a small creature in the Grand Canyon. My hubby, daughter and I had stopped to have a snack when this squirrel, who’d been hanging out on the rocks below the rest area, came right over to us.


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Apparently we weren’t the first people who’d fed him! It was only after we’d packed up that we spotted a sign,

“No feeding the squirrels.

How Many Squirrels Inhabit Central Park?

“The Squirrel Census Answers a Question You Weren’t Asking:”

The Best Blondies

I found this recipe for “The Best Blondies” on Crazy for Crust and, trust me hon, they are a mouthful of yumminess. Since I’m officially “Team Mom” on the trip to Cape Kennedy (to view the test launch of the Orion Ascent Abort-2, lots of upcoming posts about the trip!), I figured blondies for the plane ride were in order. I’m also going to pack playing cards, travel games, bandaids and Tylenol. So exciting!
Mix wet and dry ingredients.
Add mix-in’s.
Cool before cutting.
  • M&Ms
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Nuts
  • Butterscotch chips
  • Peanut Butter chips
  • Chopped candy bars like Snickers, Milky Way, or peanut butter cups
  • Anything YOU like!
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar — packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups mix-ins: toffee, chopped candy bars, M&Ms, chocolate chips, nuts, etc
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13” pan with foil and spray well with cooking spray.
  2. Mix butter and brown sugar with a stand or a hand mixer until crumbly. Mix in eggs and vanilla until smooth. Mix in salt, baking powder, then flour. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the mix-ins.
  3. Spread in prepared pan. The mixture is wet so it’s best to spray your hands with cooking spray and then smooth the dough with your hands to get an even layer. Top with remaining mix-ins
  4. Bake for about 22-25 minutes until they start to turn golden. Err on the side of under baked with these – they’ll finish baking as the cool and you don’t want them over baked.

Grad Party Decor Roundup

We thought we’d have to host the party on an ark–as in Noah’s, but the rain actually stopped, the grass dried up (mostly), and the weather was lovely–yay!


Family pic.

Related Posts:

DIY Graduation Party Photo Backdrop, Graduation Party Theme: Chalkboard, Graduation Cookies