KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (February 10, 2012) – 50 years ago, Project Mercury astronaut John Glenn made history by becoming the first American to orbit the Earth. This stunning achievement relied upon the strength of a powerful Atlas rocket to successfully carry Glenn’s spacecraft, Friendship 7, into space. Nearly 50 years to the day of Glenn’s 1962 flight, an advanced United Launch Alliance Atlas V 551 rocket will lift-off from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex recognizes the historic ties between these events, and is offering visitors the opportunity to watch the Feb. 16 launch of the Atlas V, currently scheduled to occur between 5:46 and 6:30 p.m.
Launch viewing from the main Visitor Complex is included in the price of a general admission ticket and includes launch commentary broadcast over the public address system. Visitor Complex admission is $43+ tax for adults and $33+ tax for children ages 3-11.
A limited number of tickets are available to view the launch from the east lawn of the Apollo/Saturn V Center. Launch Transportation Tickets are an additional $20 plus tax, and include broadcast launch commentary. Bus boarding for the Apollo/Saturn V Center begins at 3:30 p.m.
The Feb. 16 launch will deploy the U.S. Navy’s first Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) tactical communications satellite. MUOS is designed to greatly enhance ground communications for American forces on the move.
Those interested in viewing the upcoming Atlas launch may also be interested in attending “Celebrating 50 Years of Americans in Orbit” on Feb. 18. A special evening program entitled “On the Shoulders of Giants,” in which John Glenn and Scott Carpenter, the first two Americans Atlas rockets carried into orbit, will be the guests of honor, is among the highlights.
To learn more about the important role of Atlas rockets in American spaceflight, guests may add the “Cape Canaveral: Then & Now” tour to their admission package. This tour takes guests to the original Cape Canaveral launch sites associated with the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs, and it is a “must-do” for anyone interested in fully experiencing the storied history of American orbital spaceflight.
To purchase tickets or for more information on launch viewing, the “Celebrating 50 Years of Americans in Orbit” program, and the “Cape Canaveral: Then & Now” tour, please call 877-313-2610 or visit www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.