CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida - The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will celebrate the one-year anniversary of the $100-million Space Shuttle Atlantis attraction with Atlantis Astronaut Adventure on Thursday, October 9, 2014 featuring 12 NASA astronauts, all of whom flew on the historic orbiter. These very special Guests will participate in a first-of-its-kind Lunch with an Astronaut from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. on October 9.
The 12 Atlantis astronauts are Clayton Anderson, Bo Bobko, John Creighton, Charlie Walker, Hoot Gibson, Fred Gregory, Ken Ham, Mike McCulley, Jerry Ross, Brian Duffy, Bob Springer and Dan Tani. Visitor Complex guests who purchase special Lunch with an Astronaut tickets will have one of the astronauts sitting at their table and receive a space shuttle keepsake signed by that astronaut and a Kodak photo with the astronaut as well. Lunch with the Atlantis Astronauts is $39.99 for adults and $29.99 for children, in addition to daily admission. Please call 855-378-0169 for reservations, as seating is limited.
In addition, the astronauts will be featured throughout the day in Astronaut Encounter at the Visitor Complex. Each astronaut will give a 30-minute “Mini Mission Recap” highlighting their missions aboard Atlantis. Astronaut Encounter is included in daily admission.
The 12 astronauts also will participate in signing opportunities in the Space Shop throughout the day with lithographs and books available for sale and signing.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex annual passholders can attend a special presentation featuring a question and answer session with the astronauts in Space Shuttle Atlantis from 8 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.
Space Shuttle Atlantis has become a “must-see” experience for Central Florida tourists following its grand opening on June 29, 2013. Guests experience the inspiring accomplishments of the U.S. space shuttle program at the unique 90,000-square-foot attraction where visitors get nose to nose with a real spaceflown orbiter. The Atlantis orbiter is displayed as if floating in space as if departing from the International Space Station – the only space shuttle orbiter in the world exhibited this way.
Guests also can train on various realistic Space Shuttle Atlantis simulators: take a simulated spacewalk, land the space shuttle on the shuttle landing facility, operate the robotic Canadarm or dock with the International Space Station. Shuttle Launch Experience®, part of Space Shuttle Atlantis, is an incredible journey of vertically launching into space and orbiting Earth aboard the space shuttle. Guests also strap in for an all-too-real simulation, which immerses visitors in the sights, sounds and feelings of a space shuttle launch, including simulated weightlessness.
Since Space Shuttle Atlantis opened, the Visitor Complex has added the new Great Balls of Fire interactive exhibit which allows guests to discover the risks that asteroids, comets and meteorites present to our planet. The exhibit explores how we keep track of near-Earth objects while examining the effects of possible impacts. Within the Great Balls of Fire exhibit is Asteroid Encounter, where guests can climb aboard a “spaceship” and blast off to the asteroid belt and Jupiter while compiling data about asteroids and comets. Guests also can explore what would happen if one of these celestial bodies were to hit their hometown, determine Science Fact or Science Fiction of Hollywood movie clips and much more.
Also new is the KSC Up-Close Explore Tour, which gives an insider’s view of the U.S. Space Program, from the launch sites of today at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to the past and future of space exploration at Kennedy Space Center. The KSC Up-Close Explore Tour includes up-close views of the massive, 525-foot-high Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) (one of the largest structures in the world) and the Shuttle Landing Facility. The tour stops in between the Kennedy Space Center launch pads for a close-up photo opportunity, in front of the VAB, and on the NASA Causeway where guests are surrounded by a panoramic view of launch pads at Cape Canaveral that are currently accommodating rocket launches by NASA, SpaceX and the United Launch Alliance.
The Visitor Complex also provides some of the closest public launch viewing areas for the ongoing schedule of rocket launches taking place at Kennedy Space Center/Cape Canaveral Air Force Station each year. Guests can experience the sights, sounds and ground-shaking vibrations as rockets launch, carrying not only NASA science missions and government satellites, but also commercial space endeavors, such as SpaceX.