SpaceX at Kennedy Space Center / Technology

Going to Space(X)

The SpaceX Facility and Launch Pad 39-A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. And technology is rapidly progressing, but that technology is only a tool.

The SpaceX Facility and Launch Pad 39-A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, as seen during our 2019 Florida Summer Vacation. Technology is rapidly progressing, but that technology is only a tool.

During our visit to Kennedy Space Center, the bus tour took us past the SpaceX building. As we rode past, the bus driver mentioned an upcoming manned rocket launch from SpaceX, and of course those of us online launch watchers had already seen several unmanned SpaceX launches. It was really cool to be right there where so many of those launches were happening.

I thought about asking the bus driver to stop the bus so that I could get out and take a good photo, but I did not want to have everyone else on the bus mad at me. So I did the best I could while looking out the bus window. More about that in the “About the Photo” section down below.

If you have watched any television at all in the last week or so, you have probably seen this building and the launch tower. That tower and launch pad were where the Crew Dragon Demo-2 mission carrying Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley lifted off on its way to the International Space Station. In our house, we were watching with great excitement and pride as they left the earth, and we were watching again the next day as the astronauts left their Crew Dragon capsule and entered the International Space Station. It was a great achievement, especially considering it was a private company working in conjunction with NASA to accomplish it all.

I love space things, and I am excited to see what the future will hold!

Technology Is a Tool

One of the things that I love about space exploration is all of the technology behind it. With the SpaceX launches, it has been fascinating to see the rockets launch, and then to see the first stage land back on a ship in the ocean, especially considering that both the rocket and the ship are unmanned. How cool is that?

It was also interesting to see that all the switches, dials, knobs, and other controls from previous spacecraft have been replaced with touch screens in Crew Dragon. That is just another sign of the times that we live in, and it shows how much technology has progressed from the Space Shuttle days until now.

But as good as that technology is, it is just a tool that we can use. What made this Crew Dragon mission special, at least to me, was that it involved real people actually traveling to space. Yes, real people had been behind all of the unmanned missions of the past few years, but it was taken to another level with people actually on board.

To me, that is a reminder that technology is not the answer to our problems. It is just a tool that we can use as we work through whatever problems that we have. What really makes it all work is the people who are behind it all.

That really goes for all kinds of technology. It is important to remember that there are people behind it all. That fact is especially important in things like social media. When you post something, you aren’t just posting it for a bunch of robots out there. You are a real person posting something that real people will read. And those real people have feelings and issues of their own.

Any tool can be used properly or improperly. A hammer can be used to drive nails to build something, or it can be used to smash things and tear something down. And that goes for all technology, too.

Technology is great, but technology is just a tool. And as with any tool, you should use it wisely.

Bible Verse

Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. - Proverbs 3:3-4

About the Photo

As I mentioned above, this photo was taken out of the window of a moving bus, so it presented some challenges to overcome.

First, there was the issue of taking the photo in the first place. Fortunately, I had my camera ready, testing it on a few other subjects out the bus window before we got to the things I really wanted to see. Next, it was a matter of waiting for just the right moment to shoot around the heads of the other bus passengers, since I was not right by a window. I did have to do some slight cropping to to remove some people around me.

The next issue was that there was a reflection on the bus window, especially around the launch tower. After processing this one in Aurora HDR as I normally do, I loaded it into Photoshop to remove the window reflections to the best of my ability. I think the final image turned out pretty well.

Speaking of technology, I added a new tool to the website here, so that you can compare the before and after versions of the photo. Just slide the slider below to see how the photo looked straight out of the camera versus how it ended up after processing. The window reflections at the lower right are not all that noticeable in the original version, but the Aurora processing made them really stand out!

Update: Technology Fail! Apparently, the script I added does not work on mobile devices. So I have replaced the slider with a static before-and-after version of the photo.

SpaceX at Kennedy Space Center - before and after photo processing comparison

Photo: A single Raw exposure, processed in Aurora HDR. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Sony Alpha A7 II
Lens: Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens
Date: June 13, 2019
Location: Kennedy Space Center, Florida

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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.