Special Up-Close Tour Can Include Views of Atlantis or Endeavour Through OctoberKENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (July 27, 2012) – Now through October, visitors to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex who take the special behind-the-scenes tour inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) have a good chance of getting an up-close view of a space shuttle inside the massive structure.
NASA rolled Space Shuttle Atlantis into the VAB from the adjacent Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF) at Kennedy Space Center on June 29 to make room for Space Shuttle Endeavour, the next shuttle to undergo “Transition and Retirement” processing to prepare it for display as an exhibit.
Atlantis is expected to be in the VAB until mid-August, when it would trade places with Endeavour. Atlantis’s own processing will then be completed to prepare it for public display at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in a multimillion-dollar exhibit targeted for a July 2013 grand opening.
Endeavour is expected to then be in the VAB for a number of weeks until mid-September when it heads to Los Angeles and becomes the last shuttle to “fly out” from Kennedy Space Center atop the Shuttle Aircraft Carrier (SCA), a specially modified Boeing 747 airplane. Atlantis will return to the VAB on Oct. 11 and remain on display until Nov. 1.
The KSC Up-Close: The Vehicle Assembly Building Tour provides visitors a look inside the 525-foot-tall building 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 late 2011. The tour includes views of rocket and space shuttle launch pads, the interior of the VAB, and the 6 million-pound crawler-transporters, which moved the space shuttle and the Apollo Saturn V rockets from the VAB to the launch pad
Two other Kennedy Space Center 50th anniversary behind-the-scenes tours are also available. The KSC Up-Close: Launch Control Center (LCC) Tour takes visitors inside Firing Room 4, one of the LCC’s four firing rooms and the one from which all 21 space shuttle launches since 2006 were controlled. It opened June 15.
The KSC Up-Close: Launch Pad Tour, which opens Friday, allows public visitors inside Launch Complex 39 for the first time in Kennedy Space Center’s history to tour one of the launch pads from which the space shuttles and Apollo Saturn V moon rockets were launched.
All of the tours are led by a knowledgeable space expert, giving visitors an insider’s view of the space program from launch preparation to liftoff. The tours are expected to be offered through the end of the year and are available to a limited number of guests. The tours culminate at the Apollo/Saturn V Center. Price is $25 for adults and $19 for children ages 3-11 plus tax, in addition to admission.