Literally decades in the making, Heroes and Legends featuring the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame is now open at Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex.
Positioned just inside the entrance, the attraction takes guests on a journey through an awe-inspiring immersive exhibit that uses cutting-edge technology and interactive elements to introduce the legendary men and women who pioneered our journey into space.
A new memorial designed to pay tribute to the crews of Challenger and Columbia has opened at the Kennedy Space Center.
At nearly 2,000-sq-ft, the “Forever Remembered” memorial contains the largest collection of personal items of both flight crews, along with recovered hardware from both shuttles, never seen by the public before.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and Astronomy Magazine are partnering to host the Great Balls of Fire Contest, giving away a 9.6-pound authentic meteorite collectable and a space adventure trip for four to the Visitor Complex.
The trip includes round-trip airfare to Florida (provided by Astronomy Magazine), a three-day/two-night stay at the Courtyard by Marriott in Cocoa Beach (provided by Marriott), Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex admission tickets, Lunch With An Astronaut tickets, and a Kennedy Space Center Up-Close Tour.
Visitors looking to visit the Kennedy Space Center’s Vehicle Assembly Building have only a few more days left, as they will end their up-close tour of the VAB on February 11.
The VAB tour has been available for more than two years and is part of the KSC Up-Close Mega Tour, also ending Feb. 11, which includes a visit to Launch Pad 39-A.
The reason given for the tours ending is that KSC is preparing for modifications needed as the space center changes into a multi-user spaceport and preps for the Space Launch System.
One of the largest buildings in the world, the VAB had been off limits to visitors for more than 30 years until the Up-Close tour was added in November 2011. For the first time since 1978, guests at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex have had the chance to disembark their tour buses and tour inside the VAB to see firsthand where monstrous vehicles were assembled for launch, from the very first Saturn V rocket in the late 1960s to the very last space shuttle, STS-135 Atlantis, in 2011.
The Kennedy Space Center will be sealing a time capsule within a wall of the Space Shuttle Atlantis on September 9, and the public is welcome to watch.
Inside the time capsule are items related to NASA’s 30-year shuttle program, including a “Mission Accomplished” bear from the final shuttle mission (STS-135 Atlantis), a Kennedy Space Center director’s coin, a mission patch for every shuttle mission, lanyard, official souvenir book and NASA meatball sticker.
The capsule is not scheduled to be opened until 2061.
The time capsule ceremony starts at 10am, and is included in general admission to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 877-313-2610 and visit KennedySpaceCenter.com.
Kennedy Space Center is putting the finishing touches on their new Space Shuttle Atlantisattraction, and they have announced that they will be installing a full-size, high-fidelity version of the Hubble Space Telescope as part of the exhibit.
The replica cuts through two stories of the attraction, and measures 43 feet long and 14 feet in diameter. Its fully deployed solar arrays extend an additional 7 feet on each side.
“Guests can get a feel for the incredible size of the telescope and will be able to view the Hubble replica from very close up, just as they will do with Atlantis,” said Bill Moore, chief operating officer of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
This $100 million attraction, opening June 29, will shine the spotlight on NASA’s 30-year Space Shuttle Program and its accomplishments, most notably the deployment and servicing missions for the Hubble Space Telescope and the launch and assembly of the International Space Station.
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is once again holding its Holidays In Space celebration for guests, now through January 1, 2013.
A 42-foot Christmas tree, located in the Rocket Garden, will be decorated with 600 miniature flags from the 15 partner countries of the International Space Station.
KSC Visitor Complex guests also can learn about the holiday traditions of each of the International Space Station (ISS) partners: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States. Prior to every IMAX film, guests will have the chance to see actual images of ISS crews celebrating the holidays in space.
Santa Claus will be appearing in Santa’s Launch Control Center, between Astronaut Encounters and Robot Scouts. Onsite elves (Kodak representatives), will snap family photos and provide prints for sale, or guests may capture the moment with their own cameras.
Mrs. Claus will also be there, holding space-themed story times like “The Cat in the Hat – There’s No Place Like Space” and “What the Moon is Like.”
Both Clauses will be available at 10am, 10:30am, noon, and 2pm, through December 24. Storytime will take place at 3:30pm daily. Santa and Mrs. Claus will also make special appearances in the Space Shop at 4pm daily.
International carolers will also be performing in the Rocket Garden three times daily (10am, 11am, and noon), at the Saturn V Center (2pm and 3pm), and in the Space Shop (4:15pm).
All Holidays in Space events are included with regular admission to the KSC Visitor Complex which is $50 + tax for adults and $40 + tax for children ages 3-11.
For more information or to purchase tickets for Holidays in Space, call 877-313-2610 or visit kennedyspacecenter.com.
On Friday, November 2, 2012, the Kennedy Space Center launch facilities were left without an orbiter in the program for the first time since 1979.
At 6:30am, Atlantis began her 9.8 mile journey from the KSC Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to her new permanent home at the KSC Visitors Center just outside the secure KSC launch facilities. As she rolled out of the VAB for her last mission, she was greeted by members of the team that had cared for Atlantis over the years since being put into commission in April 1985.
There was a palpable sadness in the air — from the Atlantis team that had put so much of their lives into the orbiter; to the press corps that have covered the shuttle missions over the years; as well as the KSC and USA staff involved in so many launches and landings of the beautiful spacecraft.
One Atlantis team member recited this fitting saying, often attributed to Dr. Seuss, “Don’t cry because it’s over – smile because it happened.” It set the mood perfectly in the chilly predawn morning as they watched Atlantis leaving her working facilities for the final time. The workers, some who have already lost their jobs as shuttle operations ended, carried a banner that read “We Made History – Atlantis” as they walked behind the orbiter.
Atlantis, the last shuttle to fly in space, rode atop 76 wheels on the Orbiter Transporter System (OTS) for her final journey, with a top speed of only 2 miles per hour. The orbiter weight was 154,000 lbs., and with the transporter, the combined vehicles weighed well over 300,000 lbs. as they made their way on the roads from the VAB to the Visitors Center. In order to avoid having obstacles in the way of her move, 120 light poles, 23 traffic signals, and 56 traffic signs had to be removed to ensure a clear path during transport.
Fans of the Space Shuttle Program will have their last opportunity to see Atlantis on the move when it makes its historic final journey on November 2, 2012, at Kennedy Space Center.
During this trip, Atlantis will travel nearly 10 miles from Kennedy Space Center to its new home at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
The move will begin at 7am when Atlantis leaves Kennedy Space Center’s Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at about 2 miles per hour on the 106-foot-long Orbiter Transporter System. The orbiter will make its way to Kennedy Space Center headquarters where at about 9:45am thousands of current NASA employees and former shuttle workers are scheduled to attend a private event that will include a ceremony to mark the transfer of Atlantis to the visitor complex.
Atlantis will then head to Space Florida’s Exploration Park, a 65-acre area that will provide a festival setting for a half-day event where guests can see the shuttle up close. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Kennedy Space Center Director Robert Cabana and the space shuttle astronauts from STS-135, the final shuttle and Atlantis mission, are also expected to attend.
Exploration Park will also feature spaceflight and exploration exhibits provided by several space industry partners and NASA, including the Orion Crew Module.
The Exploration Park portion of the day is open to those purchasing the special Explorer Package, which includes regular Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex admission.
“The final trip of Atlantis will be the very last time anyone is going to see a space shuttle in motion or out in the open, making it a truly unique and momentous viewing opportunity,” said Bill Moore, chief operating officer of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex for Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, which operates the visitor complex for NASA.
Atlantis will then leave Exploration Park and complete the final leg of its journey, traveling in front of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex along State Road 405/NASA Parkway before entering its new home, a $100 million interactive exhibit complex currently under construction and set to open in July 2013.
In order to make the trip happen, NASA and Delaware North had to remove and replace 120 light poles, 23 traffic signals, 56 traffic signs and one high-voltage power line to make way for the orbiter.
After the approximate 6pm arrival, a 10-minute fireworks show will illuminate the skies of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, providing the grand finale to an extraordinary day.
Explorer Package and regular visitor complex admission holders, through the Rollover Package, can witness the last part of Atlantis’s journey as it enters the visitor complex.
Below are details of the two ticket packages being offered for Nov. 2: