Andrea joins me at the end of a business trip in Orlando FL

 

The view from the balcony of the JW Marriott in Orlando. Pretty good with the exception of the guy in his t-shirt;) This resort shares the campus with the Ritz Carlton - quite nice.

Chad and Andrea at the Bare Naked Ladies concert at the Hard Rock Cafe sponsored by the host of the event, Freescale. A really good concert and good time with hosted food and bar; the Annual Freescale event is first class.

Chris and Chad doing a goofy pose later with the group at Margaritaville.

Andrea sporting a dress her mother sent to her taken outside of an Italian restaurant we ate at in the Disney created town of Celebration, FL.

Andrea visited Disney World's Animal Kingdom one of the days that Chad was working. (Note: That is NOT Andrea in the picture!)

Over the weekend Andrea and I visit the Kennedy Space Center. In back of me is a full scale model of the Space Shuttle. Lots of great exhibits and IMAX movies there. In this picture a big storm is about to move in and drop some serious rain and lightning. Some of the strikes clearly hit the building of the KSC.

This is one of the exhibits to give you the feel of what it was like to be in the control room during a launch. They play the sounds recorded from the control room and show movies of what it looks like on the launch pad.

Here is one of the two launch pads used for the Shuttle program. One of the two is already being converted to support the Constellation Project with its new launch and orbit vehicles. The company I work for (Virtutech) supplies software tools used by the Constellation program so it was interesting to observe the changes already occurring at the Space Center.

In the back is the famous and very large building where the Space Shuttle and launch platform are readied for launch. In the foreground is one of the individual "garages" that store the space shuttles. Kinda like a private hanger at the airport. You can see the notch at the top of the door which accommodates the shuttle rudder that sticks up.

This is a view of the clean room factory floor where cargo that is brought into space is prepared. The shuttle delivers parts of the International Space Station (still being built) as well as individual satellites up to orbit.

Chad and Andrea in our space suits on Mars. OK, Andrea twisted my arm to take this picture but she is vindicated by the fact that it made it to the elite best list (which gets put on the web page).

Capt. Jon A. McBride (RET) flew the Challenger on an 8-day mission to the International Space Station in 1984. At the KSC he gave a speech about his mission and the Shuttle program. To my surprise, the quick 'hello', and hand shakes and posing for the picture really was powerful and helped to make his speech of the events feel more real and tangible. These are some of the advantages of a manned space program as compared to the technical advantages of a robotic space mission.