Space Center Houston

The Official Visitors Center of NASA's Johnson Space Center

Contact: Communications Department (281) 244-2122; [email protected] 

One Small Step – One Big Lift 

Shuttle Replica Independence Lifted Atop Historic Shuttle Carrier Aircraft 

HOUSTON, Aug. 14, 2014 – The world’s attention was again focused on Houston today as the space shuttle replica Independence was hoisted by crane to its permanent home atop the nonprofit Space Center Houston’s historic shuttle carrier aircraft. The free public event “Rise of Independence” marked another chapter in the ongoing story of Space Center Houston’s future one-of-a-kind international landmark exhibit. 

“This exhibit might be housed at Space Center Houston, but this is YOUR exhibit and YOUR history,” Manned Space Flight Education Foundation Chairman of the Board Fred Griffin passionately told the assembled crowd. “Join the mission and help support this future world treasure.” The nonprofit education foundation needs to raise a final $2.2 million in order to complete the $12 million educational project. 

Space Center Houston President and CEO Richard Allen Jr. presided over the opening ceremony preceding the lift where speakers included NASA Johnson Space Center Director Dr. Ellen Ochoa, who spoke of her excitement in seeing the legacy of the space shuttle program preserved through this exciting new educational exhibit. 

Former astronaut and retired USAF Col. Eileen Collins, the first woman to pilot and command a space shuttle, spoke of the educational value of the future exhibits and the importance of developing a STEM-based workforce to succeed in the global economy. These comments were echoed by University of Houston-Clear Lake President Dr. William Staples, who also referenced a 2010 university-conducted study which determined that Space Center Houston provides a $45 million annual economic impact to the greater Houston area. This same study determined that the shuttle exhibit alone is expected to increase this impact, both long-term and during construction. 

Just before 8 a.m. members of the Bay Area Youth Symphony were joined by Friendswood resident Timothy Judd (who previously won the contest to name the shuttle replica the Independence) to led the crowd in a T-minus-10 countdown to start the massive crane from Mammoet. With the August sun rising in the east, the crowd of several thousand watched in amazement as Independence was lifted gently and placed upon the historic Boeing 747 shuttle carrier aircraft where it ultimately will become a destination for visitors from around the world. 

Those wishing to give are invited to join the many generous donors in honoring the remarkable story of the shuttle program and celebrating our nation’s space shuttle program by texting “Shuttle747” to 41444 today or visiting www.spacecenter.org/giving. More information about this event may be found at www.spacecenter.org/look-up-in-the-sky

Event B-roll and photos, interviews and speaker bios may be downloaded at http://bit.ly/1lVMvds

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The Manned Space Flight Education Foundation Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit space museum with an extensive science education program. The cornerstone of its science education mission is Space Center Houston, which USA Today called “The Big Draw” in the greater Houston area with nearly 800,000 visitors annually and a $45 million economic impact on the greater Houston area. It is the official visitor center of NASA's Johnson Space Center and draws more than 100,000 teachers and students annually from around the world. For more information, go to www.spacecenter.org

SOURCE: Manned Space Flight Education Foundation Inc. 


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Rise of Independence
Space Center Houston

Contact: Communication Department (281) 244-2122; [email protected]

'Rise of Independence' Will Create International Landmark 

Release Date: July 29, 2014 

What: The massive space shuttle replica Independence will be lifted by a 282-foot-tall (86 meter) crane to its permanent home atop Space Center Houston's historic shuttle carrier aircraft. The "Rise of Independence" is a free public event to celebrate this historic moment. Rain or other inclement weather will postpone the event. Updates will be posted on both the center website (www.spacecenter.org) and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/spacecenterhouston). 

When: Thursday, Aug. 14. The lift will be at 8 a.m. A ceremony preceding the lift will begin at 7:15 a.m. with notable speakers. 

Where: Space Center Houston Parking Lot, 1601 NASA Parkway, Houston, TX 77058.

Who: Speakers include NASA JSC Director Dr. Ellen Ochoa, Space Center Houston President and CEO Richard Allen Jr. and retired astronaut Col. Eileen Collins (USAF, Ret.), the first female to pilot and command a space shuttle.

Best Photo Ops:

  • The crane lifting and maneuvering the 160,000 lb. (72,600 kg) shuttle replica onto the historic SCA.
  • Engineers and skilled crane personnel coordinating lift operations.
  • The public, NASA and Space Center Houston representatives and government officials.
  • The "Lift Crew" (a group of Houston-area music students) in hard hats, playing violins and leading the countdown.

Other Background: The SCA and Independence will be an unprecedented, international landmark standing over eight stories tall and featuring interactive exhibits once it opens in 2015. Visitors will be able to enter both vehicles -- an experience unavailable anywhere else in the world. 

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The Manned Space Flight Education Foundation Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit space museum with an extensive science education program. The cornerstone of its science education mission is Space Center Houston, which USA Today called “The Big Draw” in the greater Houston area with nearly 800,000 visitors annually and a $45 million economic impact on the greater Houston area. It is the official visitor center of NASA's Johnson Space Center and draws more than 100,000 teachers and students annually from around the world. For more information, go to www.spacecenter.org.

SOURCE: Manned Space Flight Education Foundation Inc.


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Facing Mars Exhibit
Facing Mars Exhibit
Facing Mars Exhibit
Photo Cutlines (PDF)

Media Contact: Michael Wampler, office (281) 244-2136; cell (281) 684-1729; [email protected]

If You Could Travel to Mars, Would You Go?

HOUSTON, May 20, 2014 – The challenges of a human mission to Mars are as big as any humans have faced. We know that we can get there, but will we be able to survive? How will we solve the many challenges? What will happen when we push our bodies and minds far beyond any place we have been before?

Starting this Saturday, May 24, visitors will be asked these simple questions at Space Center Houston’s new exhibit “Facing Mars.” Focusing on the real-life obstacles of sending humans to Mars, this groundbreaking exhibition, developed and designed by the Ontario Science Centre, shows visitors how the challenges of a Mars mission aren’t limited to technology or money. It asks questions associated with traveling to Mars for which there currently are no known answers. It also engages participants in the physical, psychological and scientific challenges that come with interplanetary travel.

“From the start, our team of scientists and designers set out to create an exhibit focused not solely on what we know, but on what we don’t know – yet.” says Dr. Devon Hamilton, senior scientist and exhibit developer, Ontario Science Centre. “We are showcasing problems with no set solutions, because to get to Mars we have to develop entirely new ways of thinking.”

This exhibition offers 28 interactive stations with three broad themes:

 

  • On the Surface of Mars: Explore some of the aspects of the technology needed for Mars exploration, from puzzle-solving robotic rovers to testing space gloves, to experimenting with glider designs. Get a flyover view of the Martian landscape; and explore the challenges of living on the surface of Mars from determining a sustainable and healthy menu to the problems posed by dust.
  • Psychological Challenges: How do you select a crew for what may be a lethal adventure? How are crew members affected by crowding and isolation? What role does non-verbal communication play in the emotional health of astronauts?
  • Physical Challenges: Explore the challenges of keeping a crew alive during a long spaceflight, to dealing with the realities of the prolonged microgravity exposure on astronauts’ bones. Design, test and launch a model rocket; examine the puzzle of protecting astronauts from lethal radiation.

 

“Unlike other space exhibits, ‘Facing Mars’ isn’t just about visiting another planet; it’s about exploring whether humans have the ingenuity to solve the fundamental challenges of the next phase of space travel and exploration,” says Paul Spana, Space Center Houston’s exhibits manager.

Ticket prices are $22.95 for adults, $21.95 for seniors (65+) and $18.95 for children (3-11). Visitors can save $5 by buying in advance online at www.spacecenter.org, or by visiting one of several Houston-area promotional partner locations. See Space Center Houston website for details.

This limited-engagement exhibit runs through Sept 1, 2014 and is included with paid admission to Space Center Houston. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to www.spacecenter.org.

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The Manned Space Flight Education Foundation Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with an extensive science education program and a space museum. The cornerstone of its science education mission is Space Center Houston, one of the top attractions in the greater Houston area with nearly 800,000 visitors annually and the official visitor center of NASA's Johnson Space Center. For more information, go to www.spacecenter.org.

SOURCE: Manned Space Flight Education Foundation Inc.


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Facing Mars Exhibit
Facing Mars Exhibit
Facing Mars Exhibit
Photo Cutlines (PDF)

Media Contact: Michael Wampler, office (281) 244-2136; cell (281) 684-1729; [email protected]

If You Could Travel to Mars, Would You Go?

What: Space Center Houston’s new exhibit “Facing Mars” will take visitors on a voyage of discovery, challenging them to test limits and venture to new frontiers. In one visit, participants will be able to become an astronaut-in-training, a planetary geologist and a spacecraft technician through this new interactive exhibition that focuses on the real-life challenges of sending humans to Mars. This limited-engagement exhibit runs through Sept. 1 and is included with paid admission to Space Center Houston. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to www.spacecenter.org.

When: Daily May 24-Sept. 1, 2014

Where: Space Center Houston, 1601 NASA Parkway, Houston, TX 77058 Ticket prices: $22.95 for adults, $21.95 for seniors (65+), $18.95 for children (3-11).

Visitors can save $5 by buying in advance online at www.spacecenter.org or by visiting one of several Houston-area promotional partner locations.

Why: “Unlike other space exhibits, “Facing Mars” isn’t just about visiting another planet; it’s about exploring whether humans have the ingenuity to solve the fundamental challenges of the next phase of space travel and exploration,” says Paul Spana, Space Center Houston’s exhibits manager.

# # #

The Manned Space Flight Education Foundation Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with an extensive science education program and a space museum. The cornerstone of its science education mission is Space Center Houston, one of the top attractions in the greater Houston area with nearly 800,000 visitors annually and the official visitor center of NASA's Johnson Space Center. For more information, go to www.spacecenter.org.

SOURCE: Manned Space Flight Education Foundation Inc.


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Dr. Melanie Johnson
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Media Contact: Michael Wampler, office 281-244-2136; cell 281-684-1729; [email protected]

Space Center Houston Director Will Receive National Museum Award

HOUSTON, May 15, 2014 – The education director of the nonprofit Space Center Houston will receive a national award of excellence Monday, May 19, at the American Alliance of Museums Annual Meeting and Museum Expo in Seattle, Wash.

Dr. Melanie Johnson has earned the 2014 Nancy Hanks Memorial Award for Professional Excellence. The award honors a museum professional with less than 10 years of experience in the field.

“Dr. Melanie Johnson is living proof of what museums, committed as they are to our common educational mission, can accomplish,” said AAM president Ford W. Bell. “Yet the positive impact museums have everywhere, every day, is due to the people who work in them. I have been privileged to meet innumerable dedicated museum professionals, and Dr. Johnson sets the standard for our entire field.”

Johnson is an integral part of the team that has transformed Space Center Houston, making it a vibrant, effective, authoritative museum for the history of space flight. And she has done all this with less than five years both on the job and in the museum field. Johnson came to Space Flight Houston after a successful career in higher education administration. Her influence extends beyond the museum’s walls, as her educational initiatives have made a profound impact on Houston schools. Johnson’s mantra − “The art of happiness is serving all people” − has inspired her colleagues at Space Center Houston.

“She has been able to [spark] an unprecedented cultural shift in the organization, [one] that would render it a transformative leader in space education delivery,” wrote Paula McCann Harris in her nomination of Johnson. Harris is a board member of the Manned Space Flight Education Foundation, which owns and operates the Space Center Houston museum. She chairs its education committee. Harris also is a board trustee of Houston Independent School District. Johnson holds a doctorate of education from Texas Southern University and previously worked at The Art Institute of Houston and Galveston (Texas) College.

First given in 1985, the Nancy Hank Memorial Award recognizes a specific achievement that has benefitted either the honoree’s home institution or the museum field in general. The cited achievement may be in any area of a museum’s operation: administration, exhibitions, education, public relations, registration, collections management or development. Alternatively, the accomplishment may benefit the museum field generally (for instance, a development plan, membership plan, exhibition design, or collection policy that can serve as a model for other museums).

The award commemorates the lifelong support by the late Nancy Hanks of cultural endeavors, and in particular her encouragement of young professionals in the cultural arena. Nancy Hanks served eight exceptional years as chair of the National Endowment of the Arts, among other accomplishments.

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The Manned Space Flight Education Foundation Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit space museum with an extensive science education program. The cornerstone of its science education mission is Space Center Houston, one of the top attractions in the greater Houston area with nearly 800,000 visitors annually and the official visitor center of NASA's Johnson Space Center. For more information, go to www.spacecenter.org.

SOURCE: Manned Space Flight Education Foundation Inc.

The American Alliance of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. With more than 21,000 individual, 3,500 institutional and 300 corporate members, the Alliance is dedicated to ensuring that museums remain a vital part of the American landscape, connecting people with the greatest achievements of the human experience, past, present and future. For more information, visit www.aam-us.org.

AAM Media Contact: Dewey Blanton 202-218-7704; [email protected]


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Location:

Space Center Houston is located at:
1601 NASA Parkway
Houston, TX 77058
approximately 25 miles South of downtown Houston in the NASA/Clear Lake area.

©2011-2014 Space Center Houston, All Rights Reserved.
Space Center Houston is the Official Visitors Center of NASA's Johnson Space Center which is the home of astronaut training and Mission Control.
We are a seperate 501(c)(3) organization, not a government agency.
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