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Space Shuttle Exhibit Takes Flight at the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (May 2, 2008) – Honoring the latest chapter in America’s manned space program, the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame® is opening a new Space Shuttle wing at the popular attraction. Space Shuttle: The Astronaut Experiences exhibit opens Friday, 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. The new Space Shuttle exhibit continues the amazing story of the astronaut’s journey through the American space program from Mercury, Gemini and Apollo to today’s Space Shuttle program.

“No where else can you find a more comprehensive collection of personal space memorabilia from the American space exploration program with the addition of the Space Shuttle program, than at the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame,” said Dan LeBlanc, Chief Operating Officer of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, which includes the Hall of Fame. “Space Shuttle: The Astronaut Experiences shares the human story behind the Space Shuttle program and chronicles major milestones and space travel accomplishments of more than two decades.”

Storylines include the unique aspect of the first-ever reusable space transportation system: the Space Shuttle, the early astronaut pioneers, the first class of Space Shuttle astronauts, the experience of working and living in space as a permanent destination, and a remembrance honoring the men and women of Challenger and Columbia.

Personal artifacts, videos and photographs from the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame Space Shuttle astronauts dramatically bring to life memorable moments and professional accomplishments in the lives of the astronauts living and working in space for days and weeks at a time.

Among the Space Shuttle artifacts and items donated from astronauts’ personal collections include Bob Crippen’s flight suit and boots worn on STS-1, food tray and flown galley alongside shrimp, asparagus and Mexican scrambled egg food packs, an orbiter overhead window, Dick Scobee’s Space Shuttle astronaut class of 1978 “Thirty Five New Guys” t-shirt, one of his most cherished possessions, Norm Thagard’s penguin suit from his Russian Space Station Mir mission, and a mid-deck chair flown on Columbia and Challenger.

Relive the missions of four Space Shuttle astronauts with their personal commentary in a series of presentations. Find out what Pilot Bob Crippen was thinking as the countdown clock approached 3…2…1…lift-off of the first Space Shuttle mission. Take a journey with Sally Ride, the first American woman in space. Hear from Charlie Bolden, commander of the first joint Russian flight to Space Station Mir, about the challenges of working in space. Discover tips for living in space from six-time astronaut Story Musgrave.

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 to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex 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 Experience 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

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.