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Wed, May 23, 2012

Kennedy Space Center Welcoming Visitors During 50th Anniversary Year

Popular Summer Travel Destination Features VAB Tour, Opportunities To View Launches

NASA is offering visitors rare access to several key areas of Kennedy Space Center during its 50th anniversary year to enhance a popular destination that already features an array of authentic attractions showcasing the space program and opportunities for up-close viewing of ongoing rocket launches.

A special Kennedy Space Center Up-Close Tour has been extended through the end of 2012 to provide visitors a look inside the 525-foot-tall Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), where the Apollo rockets and space shuttles were assembled. One of the largest buildings in the world, the VAB had been off limits to visitors for more than 30 years until the tour was added in November.

The space agency is also working with Delaware North Companies, which operates Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, on final details of new tours featuring operational areas that visitors have also rarely had the opportunity to see. Announcements regarding the new tours are expected in the coming weeks.

The visitor complex remains one of the best vantage points to see rocket launches taking place from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. More than 10 launches have been scheduled for 2012 to carry NASA science missions and government satellites, as well as to test commercial space programs. An Atlas V rocket carrying a satellite was launched May 4, and next is a demonstration launch of a Falcon 9 rocket by SpaceX, the first mission by a commercial company to travel to and dock with the International Space Station. "There's an opportunity to see fascinating aspects of the space program that few people have seen, and a chance your visit can coincide with a rocket launch," said Bill Moore, chief operating officer of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. "We want people to know that a visit to Kennedy Space Center remains a visit to an operating facility where a lot of exciting things are happening. It's a world-class destination that offers a truly authentic and memorable visitor experience, and this year is an ideal time for Florida residents and vacationers to visit," Moore said.

The 50th anniversary year features several events, including a celebration July 1 to mark the anniversary of the space center being officially acknowledged as an operating spaceflight center under the name Launch Operations Center. It was later changed to John F. Kennedy Space Center in honor of the president and his vision of Americans landing on the moon.

FMI: www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.

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