The Astronaut Beach House

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Before astronauts get suited up and launched into space, they spends their final days relaxing with their wives and kids in a private beach house near Cape Canaveral, in Florida. The two-story beach house, located about a mile from the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center, has played host to hundreds of astronauts and their families who have barbecued on its patio, a tradition that has been on for nearly fifty years. Situated above the dunes at the edge of a pristine beach, the house provides a spectacular view of the vast ocean and the sky, as well as the launch pad. Its isolation makes it the perfect place to bid farewells to family members.

The house was originally built in the 1940s, and was a part of the Neptune Beach subdivision at Cape Canaveral. In 1963, the property was bought by NASA to accommodate the expanding Kennedy Space Center. While most other houses and structures were torn down, the Beach House was saved from the wrecking ball.

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Roofing materials, blown loose by Hurricane Matthew, lie on the ground behind the Beach House at NASAs Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Originally the beach house was called the “Astronaut Training and Rehabilitation Building”, and later the “Kennedy Space Center Conference Center”, but it has always been referred to as the “Astronaut Beach House”, or simply the “Beach House”.

In the early days, during NASA’s Mercury, Gemini and Apollo Programs, astronauts were allowed to spend overnight at the beach house, but the rules changed during the shuttle era. Departing shuttle crews were taken to the beach house for a barbecue or picnic, and then left alone for some private time with their loved ones before they taken into mandatory quarantine before the launch.

In between missions, the beach house was used by the space agency as a place for official meetings, conferences and brainstorming sessions. It was also used as a gathering place for social occasions where NASA mangers entertained guests including celebrities, members of the Congress, businessmen and foreign space executives.

Although the beach house hasn’t seen much use since the Shuttle program ended in 2011, it still is an important part of history. Proudly displayed within its spartan interior is a glass case with an array of wine and champagne bottles signed by various astronauts.

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Photo credit: Rod Herrea/Flickr

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Photo credit: Rod Herrea/Flickr

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Photo credit: Rod Herrea/Flickr

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Photo credit: Rod Herrea/Flickr

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Photo credit: Rod Herrea/Flickr

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Photo credit: Rod Herrea/Flickr

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Photo credit: Rod Herrea/Flickr

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Photo credit: Rod Herrea/Flickr

Sources: NASA / Wikipedia / Spaceflight Insider / Some Trust in Chariots

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