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12 Atlantis Astronauts Reunite at Kennedy Space Center To Salute their Space Shuttle: Atlantis


Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex celebrated the one-year anniversary of the $100-million Space Shuttle AtlantisSM attraction with Atlantis Astronaut Adventure featuring 12 NASA astronauts, all of whom flew on the historic orbiter.


The 12 Atlantis astronauts – 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 – participated in a first-of-its-kind Lunch with an Astronaut featuring an astronaut at each table.


In addition, the astronauts appeared throughout the day in Astronaut Encounter at the Visitor Complex. Each astronaut gave a 30-minute “Mini Mission Recap” highlighting their missions aboard Atlantis.


“It’s an amazing experience to be able to stand in a room with astronauts, I mean they’ve gone to space and that is, to me, the most incredible experience,” said Tonya George of Merritt Island, Florida, who was in attendance at today’s events.


Veteran NASA astronaut Robert “Hoot” Gibson, one of the astronauts participating in the day’s events, spoke about space exploration saying, “With the International Space Station we’ve got American astronauts that are orbiting the Earth right now, right at this moment, every day of the year.” He added, “I think we have a bright future in exploration. The SLS, Space Launch System, is going to give us a capability to go beyond orbit.”


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.