The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center will open from 6 - 8 a.m. on Thursday, December 4 for special programs and a viewing of the planned launch of the Orion, NASA’s new spacecraft designed for human exploration of Mars. NASA has scheduled a test flight for the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle for December 4 at 7 a.m., with launch parties planned across the U.S. The Discovery Center’s early morning launch party will include special programs and activities for students and families and a live viewing of the launch, for only $5 per person (free for members and children two and under).
The first space capsule NASA has tested in 40 years, Orion is designed to take humans deeper into space than ever before – and a New Hampshire native, Astronaut Lee Morin, Captain, USN, MD, has played a critical role in Orion’s cockpit design. Launched into space atop a Delta IV Heavy Rocket, Orion will fly over ten times higher than the Space Shuttle, orbit the Earth twice, and reenter Earth’s atmosphere about four hours in space. There will be no crew on board for Orion’s first flight, which involves a critical safety check of Orion’s systems. But in the future, Orion will play a key role in enabling humanity to set foot on Mars. Should NASA delays its launch for any reason, the Discovery Center’s event will still proceed as planned, only with a substitute video on Orion instead of a launch viewing.
The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center features 21st century interactive exhibits on aviation, astronomy, Earth and space sciences, a state-of-the-art planetarium and a variety of science, technology, and engineering and mathematics programs. The engaging, robust educational programs are geared towards families, teens, seniors, students, community groups and lifelong learners. For more information, visit www.starhop.com.