Space Shuttle Now Officially A Tourist Attraction

space shuttle

Space Shuttle Atlantis arrived this week at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to begin life as the star of a $100 million exhibit called the Shuttle Launch Experience, expected to open in July 2013. It was the historic final journey of a space shuttle orbiter, signaling the beginning of life after space for the shuttle fleet.

“We think visitors to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will be awed and inspired by how they will see and experience Atlantis,” said Bill Moore, chief operating officer of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in a statement.

Atlantis completed its historic final journey led by 30 former astronauts who joined the orbiter for the final leg of the trip. Parked in front of the last open wall of the 90,000-square-foot exhibit building, Atlantis will be encapsulated in a protective wrap while that wall is completed.

Once inside the visitor’s complex, Atlantis will be raised 36 feet off the ground then rotated about 43 degrees to mimic spaceflight. On display, its payload bay doors will be open and the robotic arm extended.

Along with Atlantis, the Shuttle Launch Experience will have over 60 interactive, immersive exhibits about the entire shuttle program including a 363-foot-long Apollo/Saturn V rocket and other unique space artifacts.

At the entrance to the Shuttle Launch Experience, guests will walk past a full-size external fuel tank and two solid rocket boosters. Strategically positioned, a silhouette of the orbiter is attached to show guests the exact size and placement of the 184-foot-tall space shuttle.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex opens daily at 9 a.m. Admission includes the Kennedy Space Center Tour, the new Shuttle Launch Experience, 3-D IMAX space films, Astronaut Encounter, Exploration Space: Explorers Wanted and the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, featuring historic spacecraft and personal astronaut memorabilia. For more information, call 877-313-2610 or visit www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.

Right now and through November 12, the space center is offering a sneak peek, up-close and personal look at Atlantis as part of any tour. During scheduled times, a Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex tour guide will take guests through the construction zone and allow guests to take pictures and pose within the secured area.

NASA has spread around the tourism wealth by positioning remaining orbiters around the country. Enterprise is at the Sea-Air-Space Museum in New York City, Discovery is at
Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Virginia and Endeavour is at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, California.




[Photo Credit: NASA photo]

Photo Of The Day: Endeavour In San Francisco

photo of the day

This Photo of the Day, “Endeavour in SF – see you in LA!” comes from Gadling Flickr pool member jrodmanjr and is taken with a Canon EOS 7D.

In 19 years of service, Endeavour went on 25 missions, carried 133 astronauts, spent 299 days in space and traveled 122,883,151 miles. Captured here by jrodmanjr is the shuttle’s last journey, which began Monday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and will end at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. Seen here, space shuttle Endeavour passes over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Upload your best shots to the Gadling Group Pool on Flickr. Several times a week we choose our favorite images from the pool as Photos of the Day.

Tips for getting featured: include the camera you used along with any other equipment or processing software that might help other photographers know more about your image. Also, captions mean a lot when the image is not one that is easily recognizable … not a problem here for jrodmanjr.

Space Shuttle Endeavour To Fly One Last Time

space shuttle endeavour

Space shuttle Endeavour will be departing Kennedy Space Center for the last time next month and the public is invited to a series of events happening in September.

First, the public has the opportunity to see Endeavour as it is being prepared for its journey atop the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) September 14 and 15. Scheduled exclusive Endeavour bus tours will let guests view the orbiter as it is lifted by the mate-demate device (MDD) and placed atop a specially designed Boeing 747 aircraft. Viewing and photo opportunities will be available from the bus. The tour price is $20 per adult/$14 per child in addition to regular admission

Then, on Monday, September 17, at about 7:30 a.m. EDT, a limited number of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex guests will have a front-row seat to witness the departure of Endeavour from the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF). Another fly-out viewing option is from the Visitor Complex as the history-setting mission covers the sky above the attraction’s Rocket Garden. The tour price for this up-close opportunity is $40 per person plus admission.
Also, live NASA TV video coverage of Endeavour’s fly-out and commentary will be broadcast in the IMAX Theater. Doors will open at 6 a.m. EDT. Coverage begins at 6:30 a.m. EDT.

In 19 years of service, Endeavour went on 25 missions, carried 133 astronauts, spent 299 days in space and traveled 122,883,151 miles. As a collectible, complimentary gift during the festivities, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex guests will receive a lithograph of Endeavour as a keepsake.

For more information and to purchase tickets, call 877-313-2610 or visit www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.

The Last Endeavor of the Endeavor



[Flickr photo by AlphaTangoBravo / Adam Baker]

NASA funds commercial space travel

Space shuttle Endeavour is ready to fly it’s 25th and final mission on April 29th. That brings us one step closer to the end of the U.S. space program as we know it and one step closer to the future of space travel. In preparation for that future NASA recently awarded $millions to several private contractors for the construction of space taxi’s able to fly to the International Space Station after the shuttles have been retired.

Called the Commercial Crew Development Program, NASA’s goal in this second round of grants is “to accelerate the availability of U.S. commercial crew transportation capabilities and reduce the gap in American human spaceflight capability. Through this activity, NASA also may be able to spur economic growth as potential new space markets are created.” the space agency said in a press release.

This week, NASA awarded between $22 million and $92.3 million to four different companies for work on commercial crew space transportation system concepts to include the design and development of elements of their systems.

“We’re committed to safely transporting U.S. astronauts on American-made spacecraft and ending the outsourcing of this work to foreign governments,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. “These agreements are significant milestones in NASA’s plans to take advantage of American ingenuity to get to low-Earth orbit, so we can concentrate our resources on deep space exploration.”

The lions share, $92 million, will go to Boeing for development of their front-runner CST-100 spacecraft that uses existing materials and technology that is safe and affordable. The CST-100 will carry up to seven people or a combination of people and cargo and is compatible with a variety of existing expendable launch vehicles. Another company, SpaceX will work on that concept too, their version called Dragon.

Meanwhile, Sierra Nevada works on a winged and piloted spacecraft called the Dream Chaser Orbital System. This one will launch on an Atlas V rocket, and will have on-board propulsion utilizing their hybrid rocket motor technology.

Finally, Blue Origin, the Washington-based firm founded by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, is working on a reusable suborbital ship known as New Shepard. This one blasts off from their launch site in Texas where it will take-off vertically and accelerate for about two and a half minutes before shutting off its rocket engines and coasting into space. In space, the Crew Capsule will separate from the PM and the two will reenter and land separately for re-use.

NASA photo