Skip to Main Content
Back to New Releases

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Offers Day-Long Out-of-this-World Experience before Atlas V launch Aug. 31

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Offers Day-Long

Out-of-this-World Experience before Atlas V launch Aug. 31


Guests Can Enjoy Special Presentations by United Launch Alliance Engineers Aug. 29 and 30


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Aug. 26, 2015) – KENNEDY SPACE CENTER – Space enthusiasts looking for the perfect way to spend the day before the Aug. 31 Atlas V launch, scheduled for 6:07 a.m., will find Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex the ideal destination.  Prior to launch day, on Aug. 29 and 30, speakers from United Launch Alliance (ULA) will give special presentations about the upcoming mission and the Atlas V rocket to visitor complex guests.


The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station carrying the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS-4) satellite. The MUOS-4 is the fourth in a series of U.S. Navy next-generation satellite systems for ground communications of U.S. forces on the move.


United Launch Alliance (ULA) engineers Michelle Knox and Anton Kolomiets will present at Journey to Mars: Explorers Wanted. Knox will speak at 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday and Kolomiets will speak at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday. The presentations will be 20 minutes in length with an additional 10 minutes for questions and answers.


Knox is a test engineer, working primarily in the Tank/Weld Center in the ULA Decatur factory performing pressure and hydrostatic tests on tanks for Atlas and Delta rockets, as well as cryogenic testing of various vehicle parts. Kolomiets is a structures engineer with ULA, specializing in Delta IV cryogenic second stage and payload accommodations. He has been involved in the design, testing and production engineering support in groundbreaking missions, including Orion EFT-1 and the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage for NASA’s Space Launch System rocket.


The visitor complex is open daily 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., offering an array of exciting space-themed activities. Guests can enjoy such attractions and activities as:


·         Space Shuttle AtlantisSM, where visitors can “be the astronaut” as they get nose to nose with a real spaceflown orbiter. Space Shuttle Atlantis is displayed as if floating in space – the only space shuttle orbiter in the world exhibited this way. Guests also can train on various 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.  Guest “crew members” strap in for this all-too-real simulation, which immerses visitors in the sights, sounds and feelings of a space shuttle launch.  The five minute launch experience in the one-of-a-kind custom-designed crew cabin culminates with a breath-taking view of Earth from space.


·         The new “Journey To Space” film showcases NASA’s bold plans for the future, including landing astronauts on Mars and capturing asteroids – painting a clear picture for viewers that “NASA’s next era will be its greatest yet.”  Through extensive interviews with astronauts Chris Ferguson, commander of the final shuttle mission, and Serena Aunon, a new astronaut chosen for future flights, as well as narration by film and television legend Sir Patrick Stewart, the film gives a sweeping overview of NASA’s past space accomplishments, current activities and future plans.


·         The Kennedy Space Center Bus Tour is a must-see experience, taking guests on a narrated, video supplemented bus tour of Kennedy Space Center. Buses drive by the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) where the space shuttle was stacked for launch and the Apollo/Saturn V rockets were once assembled, as well as past iconic launch pads, now being prepared for future space exploration missions. The tour culminates at the Apollo/Saturn V Center.


·         The Apollo/Saturn V Center, where dramatic multi-media shows and numerous hands-on displays provide visitors with an inspirational and exhilarating look into America’s quest for the moon. Guests relive the historic launch of Apollo 8 at the Firing Room Theater, then marvel at a monstrous 363-foot long Saturn V moon rocket, the most powerful rocket ever built and one of only three Saturn V rockets in existence. The Apollo Treasures Gallery showcases treasures from the Apollo moon missions, including Apollo 14 Commander Alan Shepard’s spacesuit and the Apollo 14 Command Module, Kitty Hawk.


·         The visitor complex is the only place on Earth where guests have the opportunity to come face-to-face with a real astronaut every day at Astronaut Encounter. The half-hour, interactive question and answer session aims at inspiring children and adultsalike to strive for excellence. Guests have the opportunity to have a photo taken with the astronaut following the presentation.


·         The ever-popular Rocket Garden is a visitor complex hallmark.  The outdoor garden features eight authentic rockets from the past. It includes a Mercury-Atlas rocket similar to the one used to launch John Glenn into space in 1962.  Elements consist of dramatic lighting, water features, “climb-in” Mercury, Gemini and Apollo capsule replicas, seating and informative graphic elements.