How do the Astronauts get to the launch pad? In a 27 year old Astrovan

You’ve trained for the better part of your life for your flight to outer space with countless simulations, time in a deep water tank designed to simulate the weightlessness of space, rode the “Vomit-Comet” through parabolic arcs, and are suited up and ready to go to the launchpad.  What is your ride of choice for this nine mile journey through the hot and humid Florida weather?  A 27-year old converted Airstream RV named the Astrovan.  We are not talking about your run of the mill 27 year old Chevrolet Astrovan here, we are talking about a converted Airstream that has two kinds of air conditioning for the crew and their support teams.  The first is a one of a kind liquid oxygen cooling system that was purpose built to combat the hot and humid Florida summers and help the launch ready flight crew stay cool before their upcoming ride to outer space.  The second, a row of RV style air conditioners designed to keep everyone else in the RV cool.  While America may not be putting anyone into outer space for several years NASA will keep the Astrovan ready to transport the next crew down the nine mile stretch of road to the launchpad for years to come.  It is nice to see a piece of NASA tradition live on for future crews to enjoy a seat shared by many a astronaut before them on their first stage to reach outerspace.  For more information check out the NASA.gov website and a great PodCast on the Astrovan.

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