KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (January 1, 2009) – Some of the names are embedded in the American psyche like few other modern-day figures: Alan Shepard, John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Jim Lovell and Sally Ride. They along with 70 other space pioneers have earned his or her way into American history by daring to dream big, working with determination and embracing the unknown in the line of duty. Their stories, from manned space programs Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and now Space Shuttle, are accessible to the world at the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame®, part of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
Equal parts illumination and exhilaration, the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame shares the human story behind space travel in a heretofore-unprecedented fashion, with the largest collection of astronaut artifacts and mementos ever assembled. Among the thousands of artifacts donated from astronauts’ personal collections: Gordon Cooper’s May 15, 1969 TV cue cards inscribed “I’m go for 22,” Jim Lovell’s boy scout handbook, Gus Grissom’s Mercury 7 flight suit and helmet, Buzz Aldrin’s high school football jersey, and Alan Shepard’s MR 3 umbilical plug, his last physical link to Earth during the first U.S. manned spaceflight aboard Freedom 7. Also on display are astronaut journals to be read and recordings of countdowns to be heard. Complementing this expansive collection are displays of historic flown spacecraft, including the Mercury Sigma 7 capsule and the Apollo 14 Command Module, Kitty Hawk.
Honoring the latest chapter in America’s manned space program, an exhibit has been added to the popular attraction. Space Shuttle: The Astronaut Experiences exhibit opened May 2, 2008. Through the astronauts' testimonials, unique personal experiences and more than 60 authentic artifacts, the Space Shuttle exhibit creates a personal connection with visitors, bringing to life the enduring stories and endeavors of the Space Shuttle men and women honored in the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.
For those who want to put themselves through the paces that separate NASA’s best from the rest, the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame also features interactive simulators that offer a true taste of space.
Among them are the G-Force Trainer, which simulates the pressure of four times the force of gravity and Mission on Mars, an invigorating virtual ride across the Red Planet’s rocky terrain. Located at the entry to the 140,000-acre KennedySpaceCenter site, the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame is an ideal launch point for a day’s journey.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame open at 9 a.m. Closing times vary by season. The Visitor Complex and the Hall of Fame are open daily except December 25 and certain launch days. Admission includes the new Shuttle Launch Experience, Kennedy Space Center Tour, 3D IMAX® space films, Astronaut Encounter, all exhibits, and the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame®, featuring historic spacecraft, simulator rides, the new Space Shuttle: The Astronaut Experiences and the world's largest collection of personal astronaut memorabilia. Admission is $38 + tax for adults and $28 + tax for children ages 3-11. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Commander’s Club Annual Pass is $50 + tax for adults and $40 + tax for children ages 3-11. For more information, call 321-449-4444 or visit www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.
About the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame®:
In 1984, the Mercury Seven Foundation was established by the six surviving members of America's original Mercury astronauts and Mrs. Betty Grissom, widow of the seventh, to preserve the United States' leadership role in science and technology by providing scholarships to outstanding college science and engineering students. Later, they envisioned a site, like the Baseball or Football Halls of Fame, where space travelers could be remembered. Their dream was realized with the opening in 1990 of the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. The Foundation broadened its membership to include astronauts from the Gemini, Apollo, Skylab and Space Shuttle programs and changed its name in 1995 to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.
The U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame was acquired by NASA and Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, which operates the Visitor Complex on NASA’s behalf, in December 2002. Under an agreement with DNCP&R, the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation serves as a consultant in the operation of the Hall of Fame, which includes supervising the selection of astronauts to the hall.