The adventure and romance of humans going into orbit doesn't quite have the same excitement as it did in the 1960s when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon until you visit NASA Headquarters in Florida.
Around an hour from the theme park capital, Orlando, is the launch pad of the world's most extreme travellers. Kennedy Space Center. It's where more than 300 highly-trained astronauts have blasted into space, reaching speeds of 28,000km/h.
Shuttle Launch Experience allows visitors to have the sights, sounds and sensations of a real space shuttle launch. It's a vibrant experience, starting from the moment you enter the six-storey structure, architecturally consistent with facilities at Kennedy Space Center.
As a crew member, you climb along the gantry while veteran shuttle astronauts share testimonials and set the stage.
There is a pre-launch briefing before your space shuttle commander takes their crew step-by-step through what's about to come. Video screens spring to life on robotic arms and sound and lighting effects dramatise the moments before take off.
The exhilarating journey in the $60 million simulator is incredibly real as you leave planet Earth and head for an unknown galaxy. Mind-blowing technology, sounds and lighting are used to recreate vibrations and G-forces experienced during a real shuttle launch. You will actually feel as though you are travelling from zero to the speed of sound in less than a minute.
As the shuttle enters outer space everything is eerily quiet and before you know it, you are looking back at earth in total amazement and awe. For most of us, this is probably the closest we will ever get to entering space, but the experience is so real, it will satisfy even the most ardent space junkie.
The Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral in Florida.
Kennedy Space Center entry is around $40 for adults and $35 for children. The price includes the new Shuttle Launch Experience, Kennedy Space Center Tour, 3-D IMAX space films, Astronaut Encounter, exhibits and the US Astronaut Hall of Fame. It opens ast 9am every day, except December 25 and some launch days.
Air New Zealand has flights to Orlando.
- Sydney $2645
- Melbourne $2732
- Brisbane $2749
- Adelaide $2945
- Perth $2929
Available for travel between November 1 and December 9, 2008 and again between February 1 and March 31, 2009. Conditions apply.
All prices correct October 9, 2008.
For further information
Kennedy Space Center
Ph: +1 321 449 4444
Air New Zealand
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