Space Travel Update: What NASA Is Up To These Days

space travelWith the Space Shuttle program coming to an end and commercial space flight organizations providing service to the International Space Station, one might wonder what the people at NASA are doing these days. While we’re not sure about other NASA facilities, Kennedy Space Center is keeping busy with a variety of activities.

The Kennedy Space Center (KSC) has been the launch site used for every NASA human space travel flight since 1968. KSC is also a major Florida tourist attraction hosting attractions that include the Shuttle Launch Experience, a simulated journey of launching into space and orbiting Earth, as well as the Astronaut Training Experience, Rocket Garden, two IMAX theaters, the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame and more. Now, KSC is adding yet another attraction, Angry Birds.

The new Angry Birds Space Encounter will be the first comprehensive, interactive Angry Birds attraction in the United States. Designed for people of all ages, the new attraction promises to “brings to life the space adventures of the Angry Birds as they follow their kidnapped eggs into an inter-galactic wormhole, come face to face with Space Pigs and gear up with heroic superpowers,” said KSC in a press release.Set to open at the KSC Visitor Complex on March 22, NASA has a serious reason behind the Angry Birds fun. Collaborating with Angry Birds creator Rovio Entertainment, the idea is to teach players about physics and space exploration, energizing young people regarding future careers in science and technology.

But it’s not all work on the Space Coast of Florida as we see in this video:


[Photo credit – NASA]

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]

Space Shuttle Atlantis Move Scheduled, Public Invited

space shuttle atlantis

Space Shuttle Atlantis will make one more trip in November. No engines will fire. No astronauts will be on board. No visit to the International Space Station will be made. Still, the last voyage of Atlantis will a memorable one and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (KSC) is inviting us along for the ride.

A series of events, open to the public, are centered around the 10 miles rolling trip from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to the Visitor Complex atop the Orbiter Transporter System (OTS). It all begins on Friday, November 2, 2012, with “Atlantis – Celebrate the Journey” events that will mark Atlantis’ last voyage.

A variety of packages include admission to KSC (a $50 value) and round-trip transportation to Exploration Park. There, visitors will enjoy astronaut appearances, interactive exhibits, displays of spaceflight hardware from past, current and future programs. Exhibitors scheduled to attend include Boeing, Sierra Nevada Corporation, SpaceX and XCOR Aerospace.

Atlantis Adventure Package: features the opportunity to view and photograph Atlantis in 360 degrees from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., an opportunity to see Atlantis travel along the roadway and enter the orbiter home from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and a KSC Up-Close: Launch Pad tour, which takes visitors a quarter-mile within the perimeter security fence of Launch Pad 39-A to enjoy close-up views of the 350-foot-high launch pad.
Cost: $115 adult/$105 child (ages 3-11) plus tax.

Explorer Package: features the opportunity to view and photograph Atlantis in 360 degrees from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and an opportunity to see Atlantis travel along the roadway and enter the orbiter home from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: $90 adult/$80 child (ages 3-11) plus tax.

Lift-off Package: features an opportunity to see Atlantis travel along the roadway and enter the orbiter home from 5 to 6 p.m. along with the KSC Up-Close: Launch Pad tour
Cost: $75 adult/$59 child (ages 3-11) plus tax.

Rollover Package: features special exhibits as well as the Kennedy Space Center Tour, Shuttle Launch Experience, 3D IMAX® space films, Astronaut Encounter, Exploration Space: Explorers Wanted, U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame® and all exhibits during the day. Later, visitors get the opportunity to see Atlantis travel along the roadway and enter the orbiter home from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Cost: $50 adult/$40 child (ages 3-11) plus tax.

At the end of the day, Atlantis will arrive at her new $100 million permanent home, set to open in summer 2013. For more information, call 877-313-2610 or KennedySpaceCenter.com.



NASA photo