McNair Magnet School at Kennedy Space Center to participate in filming for the "COUNTDOWN" and MGS
October 15th, seven middle schoolers from McNair Magnet
School went to the Launch Pad of the Pathfinder mission
to Mars. They witnessed the erecting of the first stage
of the Delta rocket. It was a beautiful sunny day and
the film crew, directed by Rick Derman, did a great job
making the kids be wonderfully relaxed for the speaking
parts they recorded during the erecting process.
We were escorted by two Air Force officers into the pad
area. By "into the pad area," I mean we were within 100
feet of the crew putting the first stage up and hundreds
of feet inside the security fence. The two Air Force
officers had never been inside this restricted area and
were just as excited as we were. The rocket, laying
horizontal on a trailer, is rolled in between two large
steel towers. Then a fitting is placed on the topmost
portion of the rocket stage. This fitting has two steel
cables attached to it. Each cable goes to one of the
towers. Then the towers move along a train-type track
toward the rocket on the trailer. A wench on each tower
draws the cable in, and the combination of the towers
moving parallel toward the rocket and drawing in of the
cable causes the rocket to be pulled erect. Once erect,
the rocket now stands exactly in the center between the two
towers. The complete erecting of stage one for the
Pathfinder mission to Mars took less than 30 minutes!
Then the students moved around the parallel towers to
another vantage point. From here they could see this
parallel tower structure with the rocket attached move
to the actual launch pad and tower approximately 100 feet
away. The whole structure moves along the train-type
tracks to the martite-covered steel launch pad (and access
tower). Martite is a silicon-based substance painted
onto the launch pad (about 3/4 inch thick). Martite
absorbs the heat of the rocket blast on take-off and
keeps the steel from going through the enormous stress of
expanding and contracting during launch.
This was the principal filming opportunity for this
group of kids.
We then left this site to go to the Cape Canaveral Air
Station Air Force Space History Museum. We saw the
Mercury Redstone and the Mercury Atlas rockets that put
the Mercury astronauts in space. They stood in the place
that the launches actually took place.
We saw the firing rooms for the Mercury launches. These
original firing rooms have windows facing the rocket
that are less than 200 feet from the rocket. Today the
firing rooms are typically at least 1 1/4 miles away.
The kids did some play acting in the firing rooms and the
day's filming was over.
We all had a great time and we look forward to seeing the
fruits of our labor on November 19th.
October 16th, seven kids from the McNair Magnet School
went to the Kennedy Space Center to participate in some
filming for the "COUNTDOWN" show on November 19th.
The day's filming began in a meadow directly across from
the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). The VAB was off
limits to us this day because the solid rocket boosters
were being mated to the Space Shuttle. We did
some environmentally sensitive filming for awhile. We
saw a bottle-nose dolphin and a 12-foot alligator in the
tidal basin. The Kennedy Space Center has more species
of birds per square mile than any other location in the
world. This place is a birdwatcher's paradise. The
kids had enormous fun doing various "extrapolations" and
comparisons between the life on Earth and the
possibilities of life on Mars. Rick Derman, a film
director from New York City, is fantastic with the kids!
From the beautiful meadow near the canals, lakes, and
basins of KSC we moved out to Space Shuttle Launch Pad
39B. The kids did some filming down in the flame trench
of the pad. Huge pipes funnel water down underneath the
Shuttle. This is a must-see scene in the upcoming show!
From there the kids went to the "crawler," the giant
transport vehicle that takes the Space Shuttle out to
the launch pad.
Another great day of filming!
Hello from the "COUNTDOWN" kids of McNair Magnet School
in Cocoa, FL. We saw the MGS take off today from the VIP
viewing area. Wo!!!!! As the kids said.
Six middle school kids were filmed for the PTK Nov. 19
show while witnessing the launch of the MGS. We saw the
rocket lift off the ground, clear the tower, and then
lean over toward the east (radically) and then power off
away from us across the Atlantic Ocean. Beautiful!
State of Florida