U.S Space and Rocket Center: Out of this World

: The Pathfinder Shuttle is the centerpiece of Shuttle Park
Located in Huntsville, Alabama, the U.S. Space and Rocket Center serves as the official NASA Visitor Center for Marshall Space Flight Center, home to development of the Space Launch System– the most powerful rocket ever designed—which will carry human explorers to an asteroid and to Mars.

The U.S. Space and Rocket Center gives visitors a close look at space hardware.

Visitors can view a variety of fabulous space artifacts, including the Saturn V rocket which has been designated a National Historic Landmark, and a moon rock brought back by Apollo 12. The Center’s Shuttle Park includes the world’s only fully-stacked Space Transportation System, along with the Pathfinder orbiter.

Along with the rest of the planet, the Space and Rocket Center has been affected by COVID-19 and its iconic Space Camp is closed, set for reopening in May, 2021. Once it reboots, Space Camp will resume its program of astronaut training techniques using equipment adapted from NASA’s astronaut program for its young attendees. Campers are able to cultivate teamwork and leadership skills as they participate in simulated missions to the International Space Station and beyond. Space Camp’s alumni include NASA and ESA astronauts, along with children and teachers from more than 150 international locations.

Meanwhile there’s still plenty to do at the Space and Rocket Center. The Discovery Shuttle Experience allows visitors to tour the Lunar Base, Mars Habitat and International Space Station Modules, followed by a 20-minute experience aboard the Discovery Shuttle Simulator or in Discovery Shuttle Mission Control.  Apollo 11 Virtual Reality is a new type of interactive documentary which uses a mix of original and archival audio and video combined with accurate recreations of the spacecraft and its locations to allow visitors to relive the epic journey to the moon.

A moon rock brought back by Apollo 12 is one of the popular exhibits

The Family Astronaut Training Experience, a weekend program,  includes astronaut training exercises, rocket construction and launch, and a show in the Rocket Center’s INTUITIVE Planetarium or in the National Geographic Theater.

The Saturn V rocket towers over the center

The U.S. Space and Rocket Center is open Tuesday through Sunday. For more information and to obtain tickets, check the website at www.rocketcenter.com.

photos courtesy U. S. Space and Rocket Center

About the Author

Freelance writer Kathie Farnell lives in Foley, Alabama, ten miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, with her husband, photographer Jack Purser, and a flock of cats. She has written travel articles for print and web publications since 1992, and also produces programming for public television and radio through her nonprofit corporation, Artemis Media Project. The couple enjoy exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations and spending time on the Gulf beaches.

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