Saturday, January 21, 2012

Kennedy Space Center Offers Guests Rare Opportunity to See Two Space Shuttles at Once

by Joe Kleiman, IPM Online News Editor
Courtesy Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
Cape Canaveral, FL, USA (January 21, 2012) -- The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex announced today that through January 31, guests on the KSC Up Close Tour will have the rare opportunity to view both space shuttles Atlantis and Endeavour inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB).  At almost 53 stories, the VAB is one of the largest buildings on the planet.  Originally designed for the Apollo missions to the moon, the VAB was later modified to prepare the space shuttles for launch.

The shuttles are in the VAB as part of a transfer process to and from the Orbiter Processing Facility, where they are being decommissioned and prepped for exhibition.  When their new homes are complete, Atlantis will be headed to a $100 million facility at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex scheduled to open in 2013.  Endeavour will be flown to Los Angeles at the end of 2012, where it will become the centerpiece of the new Air and Space Center at the California Science Center in Exposition Park.  Meanwhile, the Smithsonian Institution's National Air & Space Museum announced yesterday that "NASA will soon be announcing when it will deliver the Space Shuttle Discovery to the Museum."  Discovery will go on display at the Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center, located at Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, VA.  It will be replacing the shuttle test vehicle Enterprise, which will be flown to its new home at New York's Intrepid Air-Space-Sea Museum this summer.

In addition to the shuttles headed to their respective museums, the Museum of Flight in Seattle received ownership from NASA on January 19, 2012 of the Full Fuselage Trainer, a full-scale mockup of the space shuttle used for systems testing and astronaut training.  The trainer will be partitioned and flown in five or six flights from Houston to Seattle on the only remaining Super Guppy in operation.  The Trainer is scheduled to open to the public mid-June.
Super Guppy, courtesy Johnson Space Center

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is operated by Delaware North.  www.kennedyspacecenter.com