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SpaceX reaches for the stars in space exploration

8:15 PM, Mar 4, 2013   |    comments
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Photo Gallery: Katie Jeffries goes behind the scenes at NASA
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Friday in this view from the roof of the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center. The mission will resupply the International Space Station. (Photo: Craig Bailey, Florida Today)

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Man has come light years in his quest to explore what's beyond our planet.

In the more than 50 years since man first entered space, we've gone from timidly entering orbit to now using privately owned rockets, like this one from SpaceX, to supply the International Space Station.

First Coast Living's Nick Loren and I got a chance to take a look at the Saturn 5 rocket that pushed astronauts to the moon. It includes five of the largest rocket engines ever built.

"That is what it took to get them to the moon. Isn't that insane?" said Loren.

NASA's Deputy Chief Technologist Jim Adams, whose father helped design the lunar lander, also came with us to explain the science behind getting a man on the moon and getting Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin back to their command module.

"You see the silver and black? It would separate from the gold piece and another rocket ..." Adams said.

"Another little rocket in there?" said Nick.

" ... would push the two of them into space to rendezvous with the command module, which would then thrust them home," said Adams.

The next big development was the space shuttle, which while successful, Adams said it won't work for NASA's future goals, like going to an asteroid or going to Mars.

"We are in the process of developing a new rocket and a new capsule and a new multipurpose crew exploration that will enable us to go deeper into space," Adams said.

Nick and I also got a private tour of several other places around Kennedy Space Center, but due to restrictions, we were not allowed to film any of it.

I was allowed to take and tweet pictures as we went.

We went into the Vehicle Assembly Building, where the space shuttle was built. The fire trenches of the shuttle launch pad and the beach house astronauts used during the Apollo days.

Those pictures are only on Twitter!

First Coast News

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