Inside the Space Shuttle Bay

Shuttle Bay by William Beem

I grabbed this shot on the recent trip to Kennedy Space Center. It’s the interior of Space Shuttle Explorer.  For those of you who haven’t yet visited KSC, Explorer is a full-size mockup of a shuttle, so I didn’t have any special access.  For a while, I thought this was a slightly smaller version.  When I walked around the Shuttle Enterprise at the National Air & Space Museum, it just seemed much larger on the exterior than Explorer.  Perhaps it was the difference between seeing Enterprise in a hangar and Explorer out in the open.

This is one of those times when I felt like Clark W. Griswold looking at the Grand Canyon.  After you look at it, you just bounce your head a couple of times and then it’s time to go.  Yep, there it is.  You can’t walk into it, there’s no interactivity.  Behind this view is a glass panel with a view into the cockpit.  There’s a space suit there, but the glare from the glass panel really prevents you from getting a good view inside.  I still tried taking some shots and I’ll see if I can do anything with them, but mostly you see reflections of European tourists wearing plaid shorts.

For a moment, though, you look inside the shuttle bay and think, “this is pretty cool.”  That’s the moment I’ve decided to keep.