The space centre has long been an ideal showcase for all that NASA has done in the past and continues to do in the field of space exploration, but it is even more pertinent today as the home of the U. S. space programme is actually ramping up rather than slowing down with the end of the shuttle voyages. The importance of the shuttle missions in assembling the International Space Station and deploying the Hubble Space Telescope will never diminish, but all eyes have now turned toward a new voyage, this one even grander—and much more unknown—than anything in the past.
The IMAX movie Journey to Space, which replaced Space Station 3-D, is a beautiful documentary of where space exploration is going, and where it’s going is Mars. Narrated by actor Sir Patrick Stewart of the Star Trek: The Next Generation television show, the movie details NASA’s vision for the future, starting with the Space Shuttle programme and ending with astronauts on Mars.
Visitors who have done Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Launch Experience can’t help but recall the feel of each stage of the Space Shuttle’s voyage as seen in the movie, and we highly recommend taking in the attraction before seeing Journey to Space, for that very reason. Experiencing the physical immensity of a launch adds an intensity to the film that brings it all into sharp focus.
Astronaut Chris Ferguson, commander of the final Shuttle mission, and Serena Aunon, one of NASA’s newest astronauts, lead viewers through preparations for a new form of space vehicle, the Orion capsule that will make the two-year round-trip to Mars, as well as the Olympus inflatable habitat that will allow astronauts to live and work on Mars, and the incredible new Space Launch System that will, literally, launch the whole thing.
Back on terra firma, Kennedy Space Center is enjoying its busiest year since 1998, with the most launches in 17 years, and has some big changes of its own coming in 2016 (watch this space!). Other changes at the centre include the removal of Robot Scouts and Angry Birds, refurbishment of the PERK coffee and snacks truck, and, a major make-over in the dining department.
Orbit Café has been fully refurbished, with a futuristic look appropriate to its location in the shadow of the mighty Atlantis building. Touch-screen ordering, a bright, open kitchen, and some seriously tasty offerings make a welcome change at this long-standing restaurant, and we love the build-your-own-salad option (simply touch the screen to indicate your selections, and a team member has your customised salad waiting!). Hydroponic lettuce displays also emphasise Orbit Café’s dedication to fresh foods.
Kennedy Space Center has long been an ideal get-away from Orlando’s hectic pace. Add an airboat ride to your day and you’ve got the perfect combination of entertainment, education, and all-around family fun.
Find out more about Kennedy Space Center tickets here!