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Kennedy Space Center marks 50th year

Posted by Paul Kandarian  June 20, 2012 07:44 AM

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It may seem hard to believe, but the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Orlando, Fla. is 50 years old. NASA, which is 53, is offering visitors access to several key areas of the facility that weren't accessible before.

A special Kennedy Space Center Up-Close Tour runs through the end of 2012 to provide visitors a look inside the 525-foot-tall vehicle assembly building where the Apollo rockets and space shuttles were assembled. One of the world's largest buildings, it had been off limits to the public for more than 30 years, until the tour was added in November. The tour gives visitors a chance to check out rocket and space shuttle launch pads and the 6 million-pound crawler-transporters, which moved the shuttle from the building to its launch pad.

Center officials said the opportunity to visit the vehicle assembly building is being offered for a limited time. The tour culminates at the Apollo/Saturn V Center. Price is $25 for adults and $19 for children ages 3-11 plus tax, in addition to admission.

A second attraction, the Cape Canaveral: Then & Now Guided Tour, is a narrated, in-depth journey guiding visitors through the Cape's 50-year history of space exploration. Highlights include Launch Complex 5/6, site of the first two Mercury launches and the birthplace of NASA's manned space program; the Air Force Space and Missile Museum; the Mercury Memorial; and Launch Complex 19, site of 10 manned missions in two years. The tour stops at Launch Complex 34, site of the 1967 Apollo 1 tragedy in which astronauts Gus Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee perished in a fire during a launch test.

Photo ID is required for guests age 18 and older. International guests must present a valid passport to participate. Photography and video are limited to designated tour stops. Price is $25 for adults and $19 for children ages 3-11 plus tax, in addition to admission.

For all information on the center, visit www.kennedyspacecenter.com


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