Denise Sanger

Denise Sanger

Having returned from an amazing weekend with my mom after a first time visit to Kennedy Space Center, it became quite clear how winning the journey to space was a challenge. From the moment we pulled into the parking lot of the Space Center until the minute we left, we continually had to pick our jaws up off the floor. We also squeezed in a quick trip to Cocoa Beach for some much needed wave watching.

I was only a twinkle in my dad’s eye when Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space. Gagarin orbited Earth in April 1961. A few short months later, Alan Shepard Jr. became the first American in space on May 5, 1961, when he was launched aboard Mercury-Redstone 3.

As we walk into the Space Center, the first thing we see is the Rocket Garden. These rockets stand guard to the entrance. Yes, they are real, but they were never launched. It wasn’t until recently that rockets and their pieces were able to be retrieved and reused. The sheer size of these giants boggles the mind when you think of them blasting off into space in the late 1950’s.

The first thing we did was get in line for a glimpse behind the gates on a guided tour bus. After meandering through the nature preserve, one of the first buildings we see is the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). To give you an idea of the magnitude of this building, it covers eight acres and is 40 stories high. In the VAB, which holds the record as the largest one story building, giants are created. From this building, the space vehicles are moved by a “crawler” that transports it to the launch pad at a whopping speed of 1 mile per hour. Inch by inch, hour by hour, the crawler may move slowly but it will complete its mission of safely delivering the next vehicle to launch into space.

The bus drops us off in front of the building where we are looking forward to viewing Space Shuttle Atlantis. Mom and myself were not aware of the many details that went into creating this amazing glider in space. Key to the success of this spacecraft which delayed the initial launch almost two years, was the use of large thermal blankets on the upper body.

From the first manned space flight and President John F. Kennedy’s speech confirming we WILL go to the moon to the success of Atlantis ferrying goods to the space station, we never gave up. When a goal is worth creating it is worth putting the effort into reaching.

Why am I telling you about my trip? I tell you these fantastic stories of Americans in space as a reminder that the sailing may not always be smooth no matter what your goals are. On your journey to living a healthier lifestyle, you can be sure you’ll have bad days as well as good. It’s up to you not to give up.

The key to winning your journey to a healthy lifestyle is doing what you know you need to do. Picking yourself up when you fall. And remembering as long as you keep moving forward you will reach your goals. Have an amazing week.

To your health,


Denise Sanger is an over 50 health/lifestyle blogger and speaker. Known for motivation, inspiration & loving the BEACH. Certified fitness instructor, Silver Sneakers Instructor, Zumba, STRONG by Zumba instructor, gentle flow yoga, teaches morning classes at Country Strong Gym. Denise may be reached at, 386-292-6105 or

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