If you like to photograph architecture, or things like bricks with angles and lines in pavement, then Space View Park should be on your list! Also, shout out to Charlie Mars, for his awesome help with my search for information about this park.
I was born in central Florida, right next door to the Space Coast, and as a result I ended up with a special fascination and respect for NASA and the Space Program. Anyone who’s from here can tell you, outer space is just part of our culture! In fact, some of my favorite memories from my childhood are of sitting on the roof of our house in south Orlando, or in my father’s fishing boat in the Atlantic, and watching space shuttles and rockets launch into the sky.
I discovered this place while I was out exploring the Space Coast (mostly the beach part) and doing some geocaching (more on that in a later post). I came across this beautiful monument to the Space Shuttle program, and upon looking down I saw that someone had placed flowers between the two sides representing Challenger and Columbia.
So I pulled out my camera (I tend to do that a lot)
As I continued to walk around this newly discovered place, I became fascinated by it, even returning a couple of times in the following months in an effort to try and capture images of all the monuments.
Space View Park is owned by the city of Titusville and maintained by Brevard County Parks, and is part of the U.S. Space Walk of Fame. It’s first monument was dedicated in 1994 to the Mercury Space Program, followed bby Gemini in 1999, then Apollo in 2009, and finally the Space Shuttle in 2014.
Inspired very much by Hollywood in the early 1990’s, a doctor from Titusville by the name of Doyle Chastain approached the city with his idea of displaying the astronauts hand prints. The city then created a nonprofit organization of community and aerospace industry leaders, who then went on to create the U.S. Space Walk of Fame.
Mercury Space Program Monument
Designed by U.S. Space Walk of Fame president Loys Ward, and city planner Wes Hoagland
Gemini Space Program Monument
Designed by Wes Hoagland
Apollo Space Program Monument
Designed by artist Sandy Storm who was hired by the second U.S. Space Walk of Fame president Cal Fowler of General Dynamics
Space Shuttle Program Monument
Designed by NASA Engineer (and another U.S. Space Walk of Fame president) Charlie Mars, with Warren Lackie and Bob Sieck, both retired from NASA
If you look, you can see that each of these is so much more than just a sculpture. The base of the Space Shuttle is a hexagon, with black granite etchings on each side dedicated to a different shuttle. At Apollo you will see a bust of J.F.K. as well as several bronze storyboard panels, sculpted by Sandy Storm, around the base. Going through, you can spot plaques dedicated to all the missions, and to all the individuals who worked on them. New names are continually added to the engravings on the pylons.
And yes, the hand prints are there too (as evidenced here by my not-so-professional cell phone picture)
Space View Park is a beautiful place, honoring a great many men and women who worked incredibly hard to build our space program. and definitely worth exploring. Plus, it’s free and open to the public. It’s only a few minutes drive from your choice of beaches (which is where I usually end up), from Cocoa to Cape Canaveral National Seashore. And it’s a fantastic spot to view a rocket launch! I highly encourage you to take a couple of hours here and shoot a few photos.