Space shuttle Endeavour: How to get tickets to watch final blastoff of Atlantis
On Tuesday, a few hours before the space shuttle Endeavour touched down on its final flight, its sister spacecraftAtlantis was rolled out to the launch pad atNASA’sKennedy Space Center inFlorida to prepare for its final journey into space. The launch, scheduled for July 8, will mark the end of the 30-year manned shuttle program.
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center has a limited number of Atlantis launch tickets to be sold for viewing from three locations. It has set a one-week registration period that will end at 2 p.m. PDT Sunday for people who want to be eligible for tickets, according to its website. Signing up doesn’t mean you will get tickets; it just means your name will be entered in a random drawing for the opportunity to buy tickets.
The only way to register for space center viewing is online (no phone calls) with a valid email address. If your name is selected, you have an opportunity to purchase up to six tickets. Check out the rest of the details at the Kennedy Space Center’s Web page.
Here are the three sites you can buy tickets for:
NASA Causeway: This site offers the closest views, about six miles from the shuttle launch pads. A ticket gets you a spot to stand in an open field to watch the launch. Tickets cost $61 for adults, $51 for children ages 3 to 11; prices don’t include tax.
Kennedy Space Center Complex: This ticket allows you viewing from the visitor center grounds, particularly the Rocket Garden lawn and Space Shuttle Plaza. Though you won’t be able to see the shuttle sitting on the launch pad from here, you will have a direct view of it blasting off as soon as it rises above the tree line. Tickets cost $43 for adults, $33 for children 3 to 11; prices don’t include tax.
U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame: This site stands just outside the Kennedy Space Center, about 12 miles from the launch pad. It’s the farthest viewing point, but you should be able to see the shuttle in the sky after liftoff and after it has cleared one of the ground buildings. Tickets cost $20 for adults, $16 for children 3 to 11; prices don’t include tax.
Aside from the official viewing sites, there are parks in nearbyTitusville and Cocoa Beach, Fla., plus Jetty Park atPort Canaveral. Check out this list of places near the space center for shuttle launch viewing.
If you plan to travel to Florida for this event, be warned: Shuttle launch dates are unpredictable. Although scheduled for July 8, the blastoff of Atlantis could easily be delayed by days. If you really want to see this historic launch, plan to stay a week and hope the shuttle takes off during that period. When there’s a delay, tickets are honored on the day that the shuttle actually launches.
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