You can chat with an astronaut at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

by Brittani Tuttle

As of Monday, Dec. 13, guests at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex can sit back and relax with a cocktail as they chat with an astronaut, thanks to a series of new and improved astronaut experiences being offered.

Every day, guests can have the chance to meet face-to-face with the space pioneers during the new ‘Chat with an Astronaut‘ offering, as well as the re-launched ‘Astronaut Encounter.’

“Our programs, events and attractions at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex are designed to bring our guests as close to space as possible, without ever leaving Earth,” said Therrin Protze, chief operating officer. “Inviting astronauts to share their memorable and inspiring stories with our guests is one way we do that. There are so many experiences that are unique to us at the visitor complex, and one of the most special is the opportunity to engage directly with our national space heroes.”

Chat with an Astronaut

This new offering will feature a sit-down with the ‘Astronaut of the Day’ in an intimate, small-group setting. The astronaut will answer guests’ questions as they enjoy food and drinks together. This replaces the former ‘Dine with an Astronaut’ program, and will be offered twice daily at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. ET.

This add-on includes a continental breakfast in the morning, or chef’s choice of culinary samplings in the afternoon, plus one alcoholic drink per adult ticket (more available for purchase), a commemorative gift and signed portrait of the astronaut. Tickets are priced at $50 per adult and $35 per child.

This experience is held indoors with social distancing in place. In addition, for the health and safety of everyone involved, astronauts will not pose for photos with guests.

Astronaut Encounter

Included with admission, the Astronaut Encounter presentations returned to the Universe Theater on Dec. 13. During the 40-minute experience, guests get the rare opportunity to meet veteran NASA astronauts and learn about their experiences in space as commanders, pilots, and mission and payload specialists.

The Astronauts of the Day schedule for December includes:

  • Don Thomas – Dec. 13-14
  • Mike Baker – Dec. 15-18
  • Ken Cameron – Dec. 19-22
  • Norm Thagard – Dec. 23-28
  • Tony Antonelli – Dec. 29 – Jan. 2

Bruce Melnick, veteran astronaut and director of operational excellence at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, is responsible for overseeing the Astronaut Encounter program.

“The opportunity to be part of the important mission to educate the next generation of space explorers is the perfect next phase of my career,” said Melnick. “I’m looking forward to sharing my passion for adventure and my experiences in space — and on Earth — with our guests as we bring exciting new programs to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.”

For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit KennedySpaceCenter.com.


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