Modern Wonders of the World
Architectural Wonders of the World
Ajanta and Ellora
Chichen Itza
Colosseum and Roman Forum
Colossus of Rhodes
Cuzco and Machu Picchu
Eiffel Tower
El Escorial
Great Wall of China
Great Zimbabwe Ruins
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Light House of Pharos in Alexandria
Pyramids of Egypt
Shwe Dagon
Sistine Chapel
St. Paul's Cathedral
Statue of Liberty
Statue of Zeus at Olympia
Taj Mahal
Temple of Goddess Artemis (Diana)
Temple Palace of Angkor Wat
Terracotta Warriors of Xian
Tomb of Mausolus at Halicarnassu
Tower of London

Kennedy Space Centre

    The Kennedy Space Center is probably best known as the launch site of the Apollo space programme, which sent people to the Moon in the 1960s and 1970s. Today, the Center is both a working site and a tourist attraction. Visitors can see an exhibition of space rockets and visit the assembly areas and the space shuttle launch pads on Cape Canaveral. The cape, on the Atlantic coast of Florida, was the starting point for many of the most exciting scientific explorations made this century.

    The site was originally a US Air Force base and missile test centre. It was used to launch the first US satellite in 1958. Then on 5th May 1961 Alan Shepard blasted off in a Mercury spacecraft, to become the first American in space. Three weeks later, President Kennedy announced the Apollo programme, to build a spacecraft that could land men on the Moon by 1970. After the President's death in 1963, the site was renamed the John F. Kennedy Space Center.

    The Apollo spacecraft that travelled to the Moon were launched by powerful Saturn rockets. The rockets were put together in a huge, 160 meter high building that could hold four Saturn rockets at a time. The spacecraft and rockets then had to be moved over 5 kilometers to the launch pad. The whole assembly weighed over 5000 tonnes and was carried on a massive vehicle called a crawler-transporter. The crawler is 40 meters long, 35 meters wide and moves at a top speed of 1.6 kilometers an hour.

    The first Apollo mission was due to be launched in 1967, but disaster struck at the Space Center. During a routine countdown test, fire suddenly swept through the space capsule at the tip of the rocket and the three astronauts on board were killed. The Apollo programme was changed to allow, more unmanned test flights. Then on 16th July 1969 a giant Saturn rocket blasted off from launch pad 39, sending Apollo 11 astronauts on their journey into space. Four days later, Neil Armstrong was the first human being to set foot on the surface of the Moon.

    During the 1970s, the huge expense of the Apollo Moon programme led to the development of a new type of space vehicle - the space shuttle. The shuttle looked more like an aeroplane than a moon rocket and, unlike a rocket; it could be used time and time again. A fixed launch tower was placed at launch pad 39, ready for the first shuttle flight in 1981. A runway, 4572 meters long, was also built, so that shuttles could land back at the Space Center after each mission.


    By 1986 NASA had launched 24 successful shuttle missions. But then Shuttle Challenger exploded after take-off and all seven astronauts were killed. Over two years passed before the next shuttle lifted off in September 1988. Since then a large number of scientific and commercial missions have been launched from Kennedy Space Center in pursuit of the dream of living and working in space.

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