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Kennedy SC special tours of Vehicle Assembly Building ending

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Cocoa Beach, Florida
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for Cocoa Beach
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Kennedy SC special tours of Vehicle Assembly Building ending

KSC has offered optional ($25 extra) "close-up" tours into the huge Vehicle Assembly Building (with a ceiling 52 floors high, this is where the huge launch vehicles are vertically assembled before being hauled, upright, to the launch pad) after the shuttle program ended in 2011. For security reasons, these tours will end around February 11, as the "SLS" replacement program for the STS space shuttle moves into the VAB.

The current tour features a view of a SLS, 4-passenger Orion capsule that is already in the staging area of the VAB. The heat shield for the capsule just arrived and sits in a crate along the tour.

I think interest will grow over launches as the SLS (Space Launch System) is phased in, because the rocket will dwarf the current Atlas, Delta 4, and SpaceX -- even bigger than the space shuttle. The SLS vehicles will be in the range of the old Saturn V, over 300 feet. The biggest version of the SLS vehicle will be even larger than the Saturn V -- which was used for the moon landings -- around 380 feet. The goal is to send men to the surface of Mars via an Orion capsule and landing module within about twenty years. The first test launch of an unmanned Earth orbital version will be in 2015, and there may also be another moon landing or a landing on an asteroid after that.

Also, note that KSC offers a special viewing area for some current launches from outside the Saturn V Center building, about 5 miles from the pads. For the Atlas launch last night (scheduled for 9:05, but delayed until 9:33), the tickets were $20 extra above admission to the space center.

Chickamauga, Georgia
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1. Re: Kennedy SC special tours of Vehicle Assembly Building ending

This isn't surprising since they plan to start utilizing that building again, but I'm sure there were many who enjoyed it while it was offered.

2. Re: Kennedy SC special tours of Vehicle Assembly Building ending

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Removed on: 27 January 2015, 06:18