A Glimpse of Old Cape Kennedy

I’m a child of the shuttle era, but I grew up reading the tales of Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. That heady time in the 1960s was so foreign to a teenager growing up in the age of personal computers and Internet access: people glued to television sets watching space shots. Newspapers carrying pages upon pages of space content, rather than small mentions.

My favourite book symbolizing what this era was like – at least, from the starry-eyed optimist’s point of view – was This Is Cape Canaveral, a children’s book first published in 1963 and subsequently republished under the names This Is Cape Kennedy and This Is The Way To The Moon.

Writer and illustrator Miroslav Sasek portrays the crowds, era and missile-obsessed businesses with a taste of humour and a keen eye for detail. It’s attention that his audience demanded: “Detail is very important to children,” he said in a 1969 interview. “If I paint 53 windows instead of 54 in a building, a deluge of letters pours in upon me!”

I cracked open my dog-eared copy the other day to play a mini where-are-they-now game with some of the mentioned landmarks and people:

The times change in 50 years, but the good thing is there is no lack of chronicles to tell us what it was like at the time.

Lead image caption: In This Is Cape Canaveral, Miroslav Sasek wasn’t afraid to poke fun at the excitement of the early days of the space program.

Elizabeth Howell (M.Sc. Space Studies ’12) is a contributing editor for SpaceRef and award-winning space freelance journalist living in Ottawa, Canada. Her work has appeared in publications such as SPACE.com, Air & Space Smithsonian, Physics Today, the Globe and Mail, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.,  CTV and the Ottawa Business Journal.