A ceremony today at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex marked the official kick-off of Lockheed Martin as the title sponsor for the Astronaut Training Experience® (ATX), the newest venue at the visitor complex. The occasion was marked with fanfare and celebrations as representatives from Lockheed Martin pressed a ceremonial “launch” button to signify the official beginning of the relationship with Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
In addition, students from Stone Middle School and Southwest Middle School tested their skills in the Astronaut Training Experience program during which they discovered what it would be like to train like the next generation of space explorers who will travel to Mars. Through the rest of this year, fifth graders (for fall of 2018) throughout the country who visit with a full-admission-paying-adult*, will receive free, one-day admission to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and be able to explore on their own, though the Astronaut Training Experience and Mars Base 1 are add-on experiences.
ATX and Mars Base 1 use immersive simulation technology to transport participants to Mars, train them to live and work in the harshest environments and teach them what it’s like to travel to the Red Planet, using real NASA science to address engineering challenges.
In comments delivered at the event, Lisa Callahan, vice president and general manager for Commercial Civil Space at Lockheed Martin said, “This is an exciting time in human spaceflight. We’re building the Orion spacecraft here at the Kennedy Space Center, and it’s my hope that one of the students learning in the Astronaut Training Experience will one day be one of the astronauts that flies Orion to Mars.”
The Astronaut Training Experience boasts the most high-tech, hands-on activities available at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex through two distinct programs: Astronaut Training Experience and Mars Base 1. Astronaut Training Experience provides an opportunity for visitors to train like an astronaut preparing for a mission to Mars. Mars Base 1 provides participants with a chance to live on Mars, as “rookie astronauts,” while performing base operations along with real science experiments and engineering tasks.
Located prominently in the heart of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Astronaut Training Experience activities are designed with a focus on problem solving, communication and collaboration, making them ideal for team building in an interesting and inspirational environment. The programs, which are led by expertly trained educators, feature realistic science and engineering applications, and balance virtual reality with physical experience.
“We are so proud of the new ATX and Mars Base 1 as it offers our visitors the rare opportunity to really engage with the idea of becoming an astronaut,” said Therrin Protze, COO of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. “This additional offering allows participants go through the training and contend with real, on-the-job challenges that astronauts face. They also have the chance to perform real NASA science experiments and contribute to data that will be used in the field. We are thrilled to be supported by title sponsor Lockheed Martin on ATX and Mars Base 1, as their rich history of space exploration and technological innovation aligns perfectly with our mission.”
As part of its title sponsorship, Lockheed Martin has loaned Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex a full-scale mock-up of an interactive deep space habitat that visitors can walk through to see concepts of how astronauts will soon walk in orbit around the Moon. Lockheed Martin is working with NASA under its NextSTEP program to develop a prototype of a lunar orbiting habitat for NASA’s Gateway. Visitors will be able to walk through the mock-up display and see concepts of how astronauts will soon work in orbit around the Moon.
For more information or to book a visit, go to www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.