By Joel Achenbach — But the space center is looking rough around the edges, like a historical site. The cafeteria draws a sparse crowd at lunchtime. The media center is quiet. Two launch pads, 39A and 39B, await the arrival, someday, of the SLS, or some other rocket needing to go somewhere. One pad still has a massive space shuttle gantry, as if hoping a shuttle will materialize.
The dominant structure on the Cape, soaring 525 feet, is the Vehicle Assembly Building. It's a mega-hangar built in the 1960s, the height of the Cold War space race, when NASA had a blank check and needed a structure large enough to hold a vertical Saturn V moon rocket.
There's not much left inside. Up top, vultures perch on the edge of the roof, and then jump — soaring on the updrafts as the Florida wind slams into the great, empty building.