Kennedy Space Center Celebrates 50th Anniversary Year with Special Tours and Offers
NASA is offering visitors rare access to several key areas of Kennedy Space Center during its 50th anniversary year to enhance a popular destination that already features an array of authentic attractions showcasing the space program and opportunities for up-close viewing of ongoing rocket launches.
A special Kennedy Space Center Up-Close Tour has been extended through the end of 2012 to provide visitors a look inside the 525-foot-tall Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), where the Apollo rockets and space shuttles were assembled. One of the largest buildings in the world, the VAB had been off limits to visitors for more than 30 years until the tour was added in November. New tours will feature operational areas that visitors have also rarely had the opportunity to see.
Ongoing Rocket Launches
The Visitor Complex remains one of the best vantage points to see rocket launches taking place from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. More than 10 launches have been scheduled for 2012 to carry NASA science missions and government satellites, as well as to test commercial space programs. An Atlas V rocket carrying a satellite was launched in May, and a demonstration launch of a Falcon 9 rocket by SpaceX, the first mission by a commercial company to travel to and dock with the International Space Station.
“There’s an opportunity to see fascinating aspects of the space program that few people have seen, and a chance your visit can coincide with a rocket launch,” said Bill Moore, chief operating officer of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
New Home for Space Shuttle Atlantis
Events are also planned to mark milestones in the creation of the future home of the Space Shuttle Atlantis, expected to open in July 2013. Ground was broken in January on the exhibit, and this fall Atlantis will “roll over” from its processing facility inside the Kennedy Space Center to the Visitor Complex for permanent display. The 65,000-square-foot Atlantis exhibit will provide guests a unique vantage point to view Atlantis up close, while telling the story of the 30-year Space Shuttle Program through a number of hands-on, interactive and immersive mediums.
Humankind’s Greatest Adventure
Kennedy Space Center’s remarkable collection of rockets, launch pads, NASA aerospace technology components and launch viewing opportunities offers an authenticity and behind-the-scenes access unlike any other. The Visitor Complex offers visitors numerous activities and interactive programs, including meeting real astronauts that will leave them with a new-found understanding of the U.S. space program.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex opens daily at 9 a.m. Closing times vary by season. Admission includes the Kennedy Space Center Tour, Shuttle Launch Experience, 3D IMAX® space films, Astronaut Encounter, Exploration Space: Explorers Wanted and all exhibits. Admission also includes the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame®, featuring historic spacecraft and the world’s largest collection of personal astronaut memorabilia, open from noon until 6:00 p.m. daily. Parking, wheelchairs, strollers and pet kennels are free of charge. Admission is $45 + tax for adults and $35 + tax for children ages 3-11. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Commander’s Club Annual Pass is $58 + tax for adults and $48 + tax for children ages 3-11. For more information, call 877-313-2610 or visit www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.