Press Release

Fireworks, Visiting Astronauts, Live Music to Highlight NASA Marshall Center’s Shuttle Event

By SpaceRef Editor
August 16, 2011
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Thousands are expected to flock to NASA’s “Celebrate the Ride” shuttle event Aug. 20 at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala. Hosted by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center of Huntsville, the celebration will commemorate the historic, 30-year Space Shuttle Program, and honors the legacy of innovation and inspiration the shuttle represents for current and future generations of American explorers.

Huntsville-area residents and the public are invited to join Marshall Center civil service employees and retirees, contractors and their families for the event, set for 6-10 p.m. CDT.

“We look forward to joining with friends, coworkers past and present and NASA supporters across our community to salute the thousands of men and women who sent America’s flagship to space for three decades,” said Marshall Center Director Robert Lightfoot. “We are proud of our heritage of flight — and the foundation it has laid for our future in space.”

The event is sponsored by The Boeing Company and cosponsored by the Space & Rocket Center; the Huntsville operations of Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co., ATK Space Launch Systems, Jacobs, United Space Alliance and Teledyne Brown Engineering; and by Sam’s Club of South Huntsville.

Tickets are $5 per person, which includes a meal of a hot dog, chips and soft drink for each guest and access to the entire museum and most rides. Admittance is free for children 3 or younger. IMAX movie presentations are an additional $5 per person. Other meals, drinks and refreshments will be available for purchase. Cake and a commemorative Space Shuttle Program cup will be provided to each guest at no additional charge.

Participants are encouraged to preregister for the event at:

Those who preregister should bring with them a printout of their online registration for admission and to receive their meal. Visitors also may register at the door Aug. 20.

Overflow parking for the event will be available, and continuous bus service will be provided to and from all parking sites, including the former Chrysler Building at 103 Wynn Drive; Redstone Federal Credit Union at Wynn Drive; Calhoun Community College/Sci-Quest parking lots at 102-D Wynn Drive; the Teledyne Brown Engineering lot at 300 Sparkman Drive Northwest; and the Lockheed Martin lot at 4800 Bradford Drive Northwest.

Special guests, activities and performances During the festivities, participants can meet and mingle with a number of veteran shuttle astronauts, including Lee Archambault, Jan Davis, Jim Halsell, Shane Kimbrough, Fred Leslie, Lee Morin, Dan Tani and Butch Wilmore. Archambault piloted STS-117 in 2007 and served as commander of STS-119 in 2009. Davis was a mission specialist on STS-47 in 1992 and STS-60 in 1994 and payload commander on STS-85 in 1997. Halsell piloted STS-65 in 1994 and STS-74 in 1995, and commanded STS-83 and STS-94 in 1997 and STS-101 in 2000. Kimbrough served as a mission specialist on STS-126 in 2008. Leslie was a payload specialist on STS-73 in 1995. Morin was a mission specialist on STS-110 in 2002. Tani was a mission specialist on STS-108 in 2001 and again on STS-120 in 2007. Wilmore piloted STS-129 in 2009. NASA shuttle managers and engineers from the Marshall Center, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Fla., and NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston also will participate. Autograph sessions will be available at sites across the Space & Rocket Center throughout the evening.

The festivities also will include rides, games, large-screen shuttle videos, Oscar the interactive robot, an inflatable space shuttle slide and other activities for children. Special Marshall Center exhibits and presentations will showcase the center’s role in developing and flying the shuttle throughout the life of the program, and the many accomplishments it enabled.

Live music acts will perform on a number of stages throughout the evening. Performers will include ensembles from the U.S. Army Materiel Command Band, including their Dixie band, jazz combo, rock band and jazz orchestra; the Wranglers, a group of Marshall Center engineers who work in the Space Shuttle Projects Office; and members of the Marshall Music Club.

The event will conclude with a 20-minute fireworks display provided by the event sponsor and cosponsors.

The Marshall Center developed the shuttle’s powerful propulsion elements — the external tank, solid rocket boosters and the space shuttle main engines — when the program began in the early 1970s. The center managed these elements throughout the shuttle’s 30-year history of flight.

For more information about the Space Shuttle Program, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.