Dec 2, 2020 | Katie Anderson
Opportunities to Do More
Just like most cultural institutions around the world, 2020 has been a difficult year for the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. Attendance numbers were much lower than usual, and Space Camp isn’t operating right now, While it’s been tough, the crew at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center used this quieter time to develop new programs that could be offered to small groups in a safe and socially distanced environment. Taking advantage of areas not usually open to the public, the Rocket Center has been able to provide science-based lessons and experiences to our museum visitors. These new offerings include:
The I.D.E.A.S. Lab includes a fun acronym for the Invention, Design, Engineering, Astronomy and Space Lab. Each month, we tackle a new topic centered around these five core concepts. Past topics have included building Martian landers, designing and launching rockets, and mixing chemicals to determine the best combination for rocket fuel. Our education team leads children and adults on a journey of discovery and hands-on learning. That’s what really sets this experience apart – guests can get their hands dirty and put concepts they may have learned in school or read about in a book to the test!
Have you ever thought “You know, I would have made a pretty amazing astronaut,” or “It would be cool to go to outer space minus the danger”? Get the door, because opportunity is knocking! These new experiences take place on the Space Camp training floor, an area generally reserved for Space Camp. Guests may choose between the four-person Discovery Shuttle Experience or the two-person Enterprise Shuttle Experience.
In the Discovery Shuttle Experience, guests get a taste what it takes to pilot the shuttle to space and back. As the commander and pilot of the shuttle, they learn the sequence of controls needed to solve any anomalies (a fun vocabulary word for a problem) that occur by flipping the correct switches and pressing the right buttons that cover the flight consoles surrounding them. They also get a chance to land the shuttle on the runway to bring a successful flight to an end.
The Enterprise Experience takes simulated space travel to a entirely new level! Guests, acting as commander and pilot, make their way into lower Earth orbit (call it L.E.O., if you want to impress your friends) aboard the Enterprise shuttle. That’s where the fun really starts! Following a complex set of commands, commander and pilot must get ready to embark on a spacewalk to repair a broken satellite! Everyone gets strapped into a harness (you don’t want to float away in space) and works to complete a series of tasks to repair and deploy the satellite. One guest even gets to ride on the famous Canadarm that lifts the rider 15 feet into the air to allow for a close inspection of the broken satellite. After the mission is complete, commander and pilot return to the cockpit and make their journey back to Earth.
This simulator is usually reserved for Aviation Challenge campers, but this is your opportunity to take to the (simulated) skies and fly an F-18 Super Hornet. Guests sit in a cockpit surrounded by knobs, buttons, joy sticks and switches that may make them think they are in the real thing! An instructor guides the new pilot through the controls and off they go! Try a barrel roll or get really clever and attempt a Cuban Eight!
This suite of new programming joins our INTUITIVE® Planetarium shows, traditional documentary movies and virtual reality experiences to make a visit to the museum more memorable than ever before. So, if you have ever wanted to fly a fighter jet, be an astronaut, or just want to get your hands dirty in the name of science, head to rocketcenter.com and book an experience that will put your crew over the moon.
Senior Director of Museum Operations
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