Saturday, October 13, 2007

What is a large bag?

What is a large bag - that's the question if you want to enter Kennedy Space Center on a launch day ...
What is a large bag -- that's the question if you pack to view a launch ...

I received a sheet of instructions together with my launch viewing tickets. On the first pages, It is recommended that I bring a couple of things with me:

What should I bring with me?
The launch viewing area is an open field that is standing room only. You are free to bring blankets and compact “umbrella-style” folding chairs that are carried in shoulder bags, but flat folding chairs, lawn chairs and large beach umbrellas are not permitted. For muggy summer launches, you should bring insect repellant and sunscreen. Don’t forget your camera; a shuttle launch is the ultimate photo opportunity. The viewing area is 6 miles away from the shuttle launch pad. Some people bring binoculars, telescopes and tripods, cameras and long-range lenses. Because sound travels slower than light, you will SEE the shuttle launch before you hear it, so watch!
Obviously, that's a lot to carry. But then, the security section of the instructions document reads as follows:
The following items are NOT permitted at the Visitor Complex
  • Firearms of any type (with or without a permit)
  • Ammunition (live or spent)
  • Pepper/mace sprays
  • Knives of any size
  • Box cutters or like items
  • Nail clippers with knife blades
  • Any other sharp/pointed items, including pointed scissors or nail files
  • Backpacks, coolers, luggage or other large bags
  • Outside food items
  • Large Beach umbrellas
  • Lawn or folding chairs (blankets are permitted)
All bags, purses and other items will be opened and inspected at the Visitor Complex. If any of the above items are discovered, you will be required to return them to your vehicle. If the items are confiscated for security reasons, they will not be returned.
OK, so I am not permitted to use my backpack to bring things in. But what is a "large bag"? I neither like to end up with my belongings in paper bags nor do I like to be not allowed to bring them in into KSC. To me, it currently is a mystery (maybe a language issue not being a native English speaker - is "large bag" well defined? It all boils down to "what do I need to pack today"?

I'll inquire at KSC and hope to get an answer. I'll also try some forums. If you happen to know it, I would also be very grateful if you let me know. This is really a distracting question for me, even though it probably looks funny. And look at my picture above -- I have even photographed my bags, so that size can be know. Are they "large bags"? Or is it OK to enter KSC with them on launch day (you may want to click on the picture for a higher resolution one ...).

As I have said -- feedback is deeply appreciated ... When I find something out, I'll let you know.

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6 comments: said...

What an excellent site! Really hope the view and the launch goes according to plan. Good luck!

Rainer said...


I am glad you like the site. I also wish you good luck with your villa - looks really nice :)


Armando Perdomo said...

Hi Rainer, I'm not sure what could be my recommendation. I read a website about how take this pictures and there he says:

After 9/11, the security precautions have reached an absurd level, especially for the VIP site. You are very limited in what you can bring with you - basically, anything you can carry in your hands, no big backpacks or bags. This is in stark contrast to pre-9/11 days.

Take a look:

I believe that must be recommendable follow his rules. He has a lot of experience doing this.
I created the STS-120 group in flick. If you like to join us, let me now to add you as administrator.

I put a link there to you site. Keep going and good luck! The day is finally coming!

Are you going to keep posting messages during your trip, that could be a good theme!

Rainer said...

Hi Armando,

thanks for the excellent photo link - I think I'll make it some more accessible on my blog. Also thanks for creating the Flickr group - it's all new for me but I have just joined. Your help is really appreciated and helps make a much better blog over here!

Regarding the bags, I'll put together a summary, when I got a bit more info.

And ... I plan to continue the blog once I am over in Florida. I have checked, all hotels should have free Internet connectivity. I just hope there's enough time in those active days. At worst, I'll post after the launch, but I am quite optimistic to be able to post while I am on the trip!

Keep the comments and suggestions flowing! Maybe you know some others who would be interested in following the blog and/or comment on it (shameless beg for promotion ;)).


Armando Perdomo said...

Anytime a friend ask me about my plans and what they need to do, I send them your url. It would be my first launch and this site made me more simple the learning curve. Sometimes I didn't have time to do a research or even I didn't know where to search the information in a reasonable time. Even with this big help I made mistakes and now I am going to Titusville because my tickets are useless. But believe me, now I know the basic I need to see it the next time. Even better, I know what are the big moments on this process. You don't know how bad I am feeling anytime I remember that you announce the roll out but I wasn't familiar on what that implies!
I would recommend you that your last post give a conclusion with a couple of bullets explaining all the milestones during a launch.
BTW, I assigned admin rights to your flickr account, just add a picture to your profile. I put in there a more visible link to this blog. Maybe we can keep this little bit more after the launch, seeing the pictures from different points of views. I would like to see that!

Greeting, Armando.

Rainer said...

Hi Armando,

thanks for all your great help and suggestions (as well as the Flickr group). I appreciate your words. And, really, it is feedback that helps me keep focused and writing in an interesting way. I now know that I need to explain some more terms, which I probably overlooked. The idea with the conclusion is also great.

I think I'll try to fit in some general "howtos", starting with viewing from the KSC Visitor Complex. Quite honestly, I faced the same problem last year, where I did not have LTTs. Then, I decided to go for KSC and not any outside place. There are a couple of good reasons, especially if you can come back for another launch. But more on that in a separate post, it shouldn't be buried in the comments ;)

BTW: have you noted the link to the Flickr Archive? It's a bit down on the right hand site, but I am always short on display space. I think people will notice it ...

Thanks again,