Tag Archives | Space Center Holiday Schedule

Historic Event Adds Excitement to Holiday Celebration at KSC

KSC LaunchTheme parks are a great way to add excitement to any holiday vacation in Central Florida, but when a historical event takes place at the same time, the excitement launches to a new level…literally. Tomorrow’s launch of a Delta IV rocket is the first spaceflight for NASA’s new Orion spacecraft. Orion will take humans farther into space than they’ve ever gone before!

Not only is the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex all decked out for the holidays, it is also filled with camera crews, special interactive displays, models of Mars and Orion, as well as special guests. Correspondents, experts and writers will be providing tourists with an insight into their experiences as they cover past launches and this historic event. Rarely do you get to have an experience like this and have it included in regular admission!

If you want to spend an additional $20 to get closer to the launch, you’ll have to get up very early. Buses begin transporting guests at 3:00 a.m. (until 6:00 a.m.) for the Apollo/Saturn V Center where the launch pad is just a few miles away. At this special viewing location, you’ll experience the powerful sights and sounds of the historic launch. View the live launch countdown and hear commentary from NASA experts. Even at the Visitor Complex viewing location (included with admission), the coverage will be extensive.

After the early morning launch (schedule for December 4, 7:04 a.m.) enjoy all the attractions this theme park has to offer. A 41-foot Christmas tree and Holiday Rocket Garden Light Show are just a few of the extras you’ll enjoy during the holiday season. There is plenty to do and see during the 4.5-hour Orion flight. Coverage will continue as the spacecraft reenters Earth’s atmosphere at speeds near 20,000 mph! Orion will land in the Pacific Ocean where the U.S. Navy and NASA will recover the spacecraft.

If you plan to visit KSC later in December, there is plenty of exciting things to see and do. From December 22-31, a 3-D projection mapping presentation will be shown on the side of the 223-foot-long Saturn 1B rocket. The show takes guests through NASA history, including the first launches to the moon, the space shuttle program, assembly of the International Space Station and other developments. Then from December 26-31, a Holiday Laser Light Spectacular will be shown at dusk.

Always check the KSC web site for details concerning a launch. The date, time, and viewing opportunities are always subject to change. Launches can be affected by technical and mechanical issues as well as range operations and weather, either in advance or at the last minute. The mission is not without risks. View this video to see what NASA is up against during this amazing launch!

While we enjoy the holiday season, hopefully NASA will be busy gathering all of the information collected during this exciting holiday launch. Perhaps its next voyage will include a crew! These journeys certainly fill the need for peace and hope for humankind. Go Orion!!

Holidays in Space?

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to celebrate the holidays in outer space? How about in another country? Now at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, you can learn what it’s like to celebrate the holidays aboard the ISS with astronauts and cosmonauts from other countries. Now through January 1, the Space Center is hosting its first-ever “Holidays in Space” event.

During this special celebration, visitors can learn about holiday traditions in countries that are partners of the Interenational Space Station, including Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and of course, the United States. A mural just outside the Rocket Garden is filled with information about the holiday customs of each partner country. Decorative wreaths and garland throughout the Visitor Complex add to the international holiday celebration.

A section of the Rock Garden is also set up with a 40-foot-by-40-foot Space Skating Rink with a synthetic, polymer surface. Guests can enjoy 20-minute skating sessions beginning on the hour and half-hour from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., for $10 including skate rental ($8 for ages 3-11).  Here you will also find a 42-foot Christmas tree decorated with Space Station themed ornaments, lights and flags from the ISS partner countries.

If you’d like to watch the crew in space, you can see actual images prior to every IMAX film.  You can even send a holiday greeting e-mail  to the crew. Perhaps you have someone in your family that would rather send a letter to Santa this time of year, instead of the astronauts. They’re in luck, because guests can hand deliver their letters directly to Santa five times daily (10 – 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., 1:30 – 2:30 p.m., 3 – 4 p.m., 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.) through December 24th. He’ll be in his Launch Control Center, located near the IMAX theater. If you’re lucky, you can catch Mrs. Claus reading a special space-themed story for kids of all ages. She’ll make appearances at 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. daily.

A team of international carolers wearing astronaut flight suits will perform traditional holiday songs throughout the day. Holidays in Space is part of the regular admission price which is $43/adult and $33/kids 3-11, with exception of the skating, the commemorative 2011 Holidays in Space ornament, and Santa’s special holiday cookies. They are available for a nominal fee and feature a different cookie daily from around the world.

If you’re wanting to experience the holidays from a different perspective, go to the Kennedy Space Center this season. You’ll learn how to celebrate the holidays in another country or while in outer space. Actually celebrating in another country or in outer space is another matter. Unless Santa has been very good to you, you’ll have to let your imagination launch you from there.