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New Attraction Breaks Ground at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex On the Eve of 2015 U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame® Induction

New Attraction Breaks Ground at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex On the Eve of 2015 U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame® Induction
Visitor Complex Announces Heroes and Legends Featuring the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame as Four Veteran Space Shuttle Astronauts Join Hall of Fame Ranks

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (June 2, 2015) – KENNEDY SPACE CENTER – On the eve of the 2015 U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame® induction , Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex broke ground on a new attraction designed to bridge the gap between the trailblazers of the past and America’s future space explorers.
On Friday, May 29, the Visitor Complex announced plans for Heroes and Legends, featuring the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, a high-tech attraction, opening in 2016, designed to showcase the heroism of America’s early space pioneers and provide the Hall of Fame with a brand new home.

The following day, Saturday, May 30, the Visitor Complex played host to the 2015 U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame induction, during which four veteran space shuttle astronauts – John Grunsfeld, Steve Lindsey, Kent Rominger and Rhea Seddon – joined the prestigious group of space explorers. These events were attended by 26 veteran NASA astronauts and hall of fame members.
Grunsfeld, Lindsey, Rominger and Seddon joined the ranks of well-known space explorers such as Alan Shepard, John Glenn, John Young, Neil Armstrong, Sally Ride and Eileen Collins as members of the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. The induction of these four accomplished astronauts brings the Hall of Fame to 91 honored heroes. Earlier inductees represent the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Apollo-Soyuz and Space Shuttle programs.
Participating in the Heroes and Legends groundbreaking ceremony were: Charlie Bolden, NASA administrator and hall of fame astronaut; Bob Cabana, director of John F. Kennedy Space Center and hall of fame astronaut; Cheryl Hurst, director, communication and public engagement for NASA’s Kennedy Space Center; Dan Brandenstein, chairman of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation’s board of directors and hall of fame astronaut; Jim Houser, president of parks and resorts for Delaware North, which operates the Visitor Complex for NASA; and Therrin Protze, chief operating officer, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.  
While many members of the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame were there to represent NASA’s proud past, the present and future of the American space program also were represented by recipients of the Astronaut Scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation as well as students from Apollo Elementary School in Titusville, Fla.
“As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame and the groundbreaking for Heroes and Legends featuring the new U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, we not only celebrate NASA’s rich history but also look toward the future of space exploration,” said Charlie Bolden, NASA administrator. “This attraction promises to bridge the gap between the trailblazers of the past and those who will write the next chapter of space travel.”
Heroes and Legends will not only bring to life the enthralling stories of America’s pioneering astronauts, but also invite guests to vicariously experience the thrills and dangers of America’s earliest missions through high-tech elements and special effects, including simulated holograms and augmented reality. The highlight of Heroes and Legends is an omnidirectional theater with 3D and special effects, designed to make guests feel as though they are floating in the vastness of space. Stunning images will envelope them as legendary astronauts, including Alan Shepard, John Glenn, Jim Lovell and Neil Armstrong, invite them to join in their epic journeys into the vast unknown. The new U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame will serve as the culminating element of the attraction, allowing guests to interact virtually with nearly 100 astronaut heroes.
During the ceremony, Protze explained the significance of holding the groundbreaking on the 25th anniversary of the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, with many inducted astronauts in attendance.

“Today, we take the dream that was first conceived by America’s space pioneers and give it a new life, a new incarnation, befitting the service and sacrifice of all those who dared to follow in their footsteps – many of whom are in the room with us today,” Protze said. “I know I speak for all of those involved when I say, we could not be more proud to create this attraction in your honor.”
The 2015 Hall of Fame inductees have all accomplished great feats as astronauts and scientists:

  • John Grunsfeld completed eight spacewalks over the course of his five space shuttle missions. He worked heavily with the Hubble Space Telescope, carrying out three of its five servicing missions.


  • Steve Lindsey was pilot and commander of five space shuttle missions. During his last flight, he commanded the 39th and final flight of space shuttle Discovery, which delivered Robonaut 2, the first human-like robot in space, to the International Space Station (ISS).


  • Kent Rominger flew aboard five space shuttle missions and was commander of STS-96 Discovery, the first docking of the space shuttle to the ISS.


  • Rhea Seddon was selected by NASA in 1978 as part of the first U.S. astronaut class to include women. A veteran of three space flights, Seddon served on STS-40 Columbia as a mission specialist during the first Spacelab Life Sciences flight.

Rhea Seddon’s induction also represented a first for the Hall of Fame as she joined her husband, Hoot Gibson, in the select group. The couple also celebrated their 34th anniversary Saturday.
“I want to give my heartfelt thanks to the Astronaut Hall of Fame for the wonderful honor they are bestowing on me today,” Seddon said. “I look forward to supporting the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation that allows young people to live their dreams as I did.”
Grunsfeld highlighted the exciting future of the space program, saying “But looking toward the future, all the great things we have to look forward to: the James Webb Space Telescope, crews flying on commercial vehicles, crews living on the space station, and on to Mars, hopefully in the near future.”