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The Kennedy Space Center - An Educational Emporium

Dec 10, 2007
Student group travelers should plan on spending a day exploring this fascinating attraction where exhibits and inspiring shows immerse them in the past, present, and future of the space program. Exploration of NASA's launch headquarters covers an amazing area that includes towering launch pads, huge rockets, history-making technology, and vast stretches of Florida wildlife.

For a deeper experience into the operations of the Kennedy Space Center, student group travelers should join the NASA Up-Close Tour or The Cape Canaveral: Then & Now Tour. The Up-Close Tour examines how the space shuttle is assembled and where astronauts prepare and train for their missions. During the tour, students visit the Kennedy Space Center's headquarters, and get the closest view possible of the Space Shuttle launch pads. Visitors also visit the Shuttle Landing Facility and NASA's gigantic Crawler Transporters.

Paving the way for today's space exploration, the Cape Canaveral: Then and Now Tour takes students back in time to the original sites of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs. Visitors relive the launch of America's first satellite at the Air Force Space and Missile Museum. Other stops include the launch pad complex where astronaut Alan Shepard began America's first human spaceflight, as well as the Apollo Launch Pad 34, the site of the tragic Apollo 1 fire.

The Kennedy Space Center Tour, departing every 15 minutes from the Visitor Complex, takes students to the International Space Station Center, a fascinating facility that offers a glimpse into the actual structure where NASA prepares components for the International Space Station. The Habitation Module contains facilities similar to those that space station crew members use for living, sleeping, and working.

An elevated observation room overlooks the actual processing bay where each space station component is checked out, processed, and readied for its trip into space. Also included on the tour is a visit to the LC 39 Observation Gantry, a 60-foot-tall complex that provides 360-degree views of the two giant Shuttle Launch Pads. A theater presentation and interactive room at the gantry's base provide a behind-the-scenes briefing on what it takes to launch and land every NASA Space Shuttle.

Using the madcap antics of Professor Pruvitt and his wacky colleagues, "Mad Mission to Mars 2025" transforms students into the world of an astronaut trainee. The show includes hands-on fun and 3-D computer animation as guests take an educational voyage through the cosmos.

The Space Mirror Memorial, designated as a national memorial in 1991, honors the 24 U.S. Astronauts who gave their lives for space exploration. Emblazoned on the monument's black granite surface are the names of fallen astronauts from Columbia, Challenger, and Apollo, as well as astronauts involved in training and commercial airplane accidents. The names on the Space Mirror Memorial appear as if to be projected into the heavens.

In the Astronaut Hall of Fame, student group travelers can live the human side of space exploration in the Astronaut Adventure room, with an interactive experience that provides a taste of space, including the G-Force Trainer that allows students to feel the pressure of four times the force of gravity. In the Hall of Heroes, visitors become acquainted with those astronauts inducted into the Hall of Fame.

One of the most popular programs at the Kennedy Space Center is "Lunch with an Astronaut." The program provides students with a one-of-a-kind experience to meet a member of NASA's Astronaut Corps and get their autograph. Held once daily, astronauts share personal stories while guests enjoy a delicious meal. Past participating astronauts have included John Glenn, Jim Lovell, and Jon McBride. Additionally, each day at the Visitor Complex, guests have a unique opportunity to meet a member of NASA's Astronaut Corps. The daily briefings allow time for guest interaction and an answer and question period.

The newest Kennedy Space Center attraction, the Shuttle Launch Experience, stimulates a journey of the space shuttle's rush to earth's orbit. Visitor crew members are guided by veteran Space Shuttle Commander Charlie Bolden as he takes them through the launch sequence. As video screens spring to life, sound and lighting effects dramatize the moments before the launch.

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers a variety of educational programs, including Camp Kennedy Space Center, Overnight Adventures, field trips, and more. Inspiring IMAX films bring the dream of spaceflight to life with dramatic footage shot by NASA astronauts during actual missions.
About the Author
travel adventures Travel Adventures is staffed by educators who understand the needs of teachers. Serving over one half million students since our inception, we provide hassle-free travel arrangements while empowering teachers to create change by expanding the classroom to the world. Our experienced team of travel professionals is dedicated to exceeding your student travel expectations.
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