by R. Norman Moody
8/26/2011 – CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. — It was business as usual this week for about 3,000 employees working at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
But for about a dozen people getting a free tour of the property – including a closeup view of a Delta II rocket on Launch Complex 17B, a climb to the fourth floor of the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse and visits to launch control rooms and blockhouses – their time on the base was special.
In an effort to connect with the many space fans who live in and visit Brevard County, Patrick Air Force Base’s 45th Space Wing is now offering free tours of the Air Force station twice a week.
“This is new territory,” said Kristen Klein- Nicholl, who snapped pictures of the old launch pad where Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee were killed in a fire in the Command Module during an Apollo I preflight test on Jan. 27, 1967.
Mrs. Klein-Nicholl lives at Patrick Air Force Base with her husband Matthew Nicholl, who is serving in the Coast Guard.
“I think it should be obligatory for everybody who lives here to embrace the history. It’s the heart and soul of this place.”
The three-hour public tours, which for several years had been run once a month, are now being conducted on Wednesdays and Thursdays. A third day could be added if the demand increases.
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