Monday, March 9, 2015

The Sights Around Swiss Space Systems

Today was a sunny day, nearly 80 degrees! Driving into work was easy. For those of you not familiar with the Space Coast, I present to you: The Sights Around Swiss Space Systems.

Coming from the west as I usually do, I take NASA Parkway. Signs guide the journey along the way as far back as highway I-95. Kennedy Space Center gets so many visitors, the area does its best to spell out the route for travelers. The cities of Titusville and Cape Canaveral are very close by.

As I drive down NASA Parkway, I pass the Astronaut Hall of Fame. I've been there twice, once for Yuri's Night and once for a space shuttle launch party, and I keep meaning to go back one of these days. I pass the old, closed NASA badging station and cross over the NASA Causeway, which the rest of the world would call a bridge.

The cool thing about the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) is that it can be seen from a distance. It's a constant sight off to the side down the long stretch of road. It's so big, I can even see it when landing into the Orlando Airport 45 miles away. I've been inside many times and I even got to go half-way up it once, though I haven't yet been to the roof.

Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station are on the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. This is a protected area where nature and technology both thrive. I've seen alligators, turtles, and wild pigs wandering around. I once saw a dolphin jump in the water. I haven't seen any manatees at KSC, but I have seen the manatee hangouts elsewhere in the refuge and surrounding area. Welcome to Florida.

Before reaching the Kennedy Space Center security gate, there is a road appropriately called Space Commerce Way. Just beyond this road is the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Ever since the new Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit opened up, the view from the road has been much more interesting! The space shuttle mock-up visible from the road reminds me of the Saturn V mock-up in Huntsville.

The Swiss Space Systems Florida office is located in a building called the Space Life Sciences Laboratory (SLSL) in Exploration Park. My previous company CASIS also has an office in the SLSL, and my summer 2012 grad school project with Kennedy Space Center took place in that building as well. Much goes on around here!

I just love these road names. Space Commerce Way leads to Exploration Parkway which leads to NewSpace Drive which leads to Odyssey Way. Someone had fun with his/her job.

The SLSL currently hosts several universities, companies, and institutions. I count 14 on that sign. I posed with the S3 USA Florida sign.

The building itself is very nice. I snapped this photo of a turkey two years ago because, hey, a turkey! This is a wildlife refuge, after all.

Our office is modest right now because we are a small operation just starting out. We will grow with time. For now, we have a quiet corner for ourselves. My boss and I hung photos and these are my two favorites.

I decided to exit east this afternoon to drive toward Merritt Island. If I had driven to work from Merritt Island, I would have seen this Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex sign direct me to Space Commerce Way.

They made the sign big so that tourists don't miss it and try to go through the security gate. Tourists wander around here all the time. Just this afternoon, I saw two separate families get turned away at the SLSL front desk because they arrived at the wrong place. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is fantastic, the best space museum I've been to (and I've been to many), and I do highly recommend it for visitors to the area!


  1. Yeah, it's astounding how many people can't follow simple directions and signs ...

    1. I can empathize. I have no internal compass and I get lost very easily. And I do think that Exploration park should replace their "No Trespassing" signs with signs that say, "Turn Around, This Is Not The Visitor Complex!"

  2. I can be standing under the giant SHUTTLE LAUNCH EXPERIENCE sign and be asked at least three or four times an hour, "Where's the Shuttle Launch Experience?"

    The same goes for the SPACE CENTER TOURS sign. "Where's the tour?"