Sep 14, 2020
Mister T “Cape Kennedy Caper” (part 2 of 7)
The team is now wandering around the grounds of the space center unescorted. With their dog. Because that happens. A conspicuous sign reads, “No Infrared Cameras Allowed.” Okay, sign, whatever you say. We wouldn’t want anyone to get photographic evidence that the shuttle is hot.
There’s some lovely padding here as the camera pans around the space center, in what I assume is a faithful reproduction of a couple of postcards you can get in the space center gift shop. And the music in the background sounds suspiciously like the love theme from The Producers. And just like that, we are another 20 seconds closer to the end of this series.
Then the shuttle is shown on the crawler-transporter, on its way to the launch pad. With less than three hours to launch. Hey, you ask, is that in any way accurate? No, son, it isn’t. In reality, the shuttle is brought out to the launch pad as much as a month before liftoff. The thing needs at least three days on the pad to fully prepare for launch. I expect that most of that time is spent cloning Sam Rockwell.
Over in some sort of tour-bus-tram-thing, Robin declares, “Wow, with a picture of the shuttle, I’ll be shooting for the highest grade in my photo essay of Cape Kennedy!” First of all, you’re at Cape Canaveral. Second, I can’t really imagine a photo essay of a space center getting even a passing grade, let alone the highest, without a picture of a damn spaceship.
Robin asks Mr. T to pull the tram over so she can get her shot. Yeah, Mr. T is driving. Bisby is sitting in the back not doing a blessed thing, thus eliminating the only purpose she has for being on this team. T lets Robin off the tram, but tells her to hurry so they can get to the g-force simulator before launch. Am I missing something here? What part of being crushed against your chair is fun?
Robin runs up under the crawler to get a picture. She realizes that from this angle, there’s not much to see. So she grabs hold of a ladder and climbs up onto the crawler. Amazingly, she notices a sign that says, “Authorized Personnel Only”. Well, I should hope so. She shrugs and keeps climbing, rationalizing this with, “Oh, well. One little photo won’t hurt anyone.”
At this point, Robin sees two people on a set of stairs leading up to the shuttle’s crew compartment. Worried she’ll get in trouble if they see her, she hops off the ladder, disappointed. Quick question: Are there stairs leading up to the top of the shuttle when it’s on the crawler? No, there are not. The whole purpose of the slow crawl is to keep the stack as steady as possible. Having people run up and down stairs would tend to make that a bit harder.
The announcer tells us that it’s T-minus two hours, 10 minutes to launch. Good for NASA. They’re counting in the right direction, at least. They haven’t given themselves much time to mate the stack to the gantry, inspect the rockets for any damage from the move, fuel the main tank, fill the sound suppression well, load the astronauts, do preflight checks, evacuate all personnel back to the 5 km zone, or verify the weather, but that’s just the way NASA rolls. That’s why there’s a shuttle launch every forty minutes.