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August 19, 1997

Doug Peterson
Johnson Space Center
(281) 483-5914

Jovan-Justine Love
Johnson Space Center
(281) 483-9319

John Lawrence
Johnson Space Center
(281) 483-5111

Release: J97-24

Space…For All People -- Johnson Space Center Hosts Open House August 23

With a theme of "Space...for all people", the Johnson Space Center opens its doors wide to the public for a "behind the scenes" look at the Center and its programs on Saturday August 23, 1997 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Everyone attending can visit over twenty buildings and facilities featuring over one hundred exhibits and demonstrations designed to help visitors "experience" space. The Open House is completely free, with no admission, ticket or registration required.

Hundreds of NASA volunteers, including astronauts, are set to discuss their favorite topic -- human space flight, and help visitors understand the Johnson Space Center activities that make human space flight a reality.

The public is encouraged to come early since in past years the event has attracted tens of thousands to the Center’s 1,620 acres. Parking will be plentiful and trams will provide rides to the locations described in a brochure and map given to visitors.

Nearly every facet of space flight is featured in the fascinating line-up of displays, demonstrations, and space hardware described in the brochure. Mission operations, Shuttle and space station training and simulations, robotics and virtual

reality, manufacturing and fabrication, spacecraft propulsion and energy systems, space communications, life support and space suits, and a wealth of science investigations are all included.

See the following more detailed description for examples of this huge showcase of space:

Space fans will preview the new human spacecraft, the X-38, see how astronauts don space suits, and find out why space researchers believe life once existed on Mars. Visitors will experience the new Mission Control Center and relive history in an exciting film presentation at the historic Apollo-era control room.

Landing a simulated Shuttle and docking with the space station lead a variety of interactive simulations that thrill visitors of all ages. Guests can tryout robotic arms and hands, manipulate space tools, test Shuttle radio communications, and experience video-teleconferencing.

NASA astronauts will be available the entire day for autographs and picture taking. And, the crew of the up-coming 90 day closed chamber test will explain the special challenges of living in a closed chamber for months on end.

Guests will be able to bring a little bit of the space program home because some demonstrations create souvenirs such as personalized name plates, aluminum shuttle pieces, vacuum molded plastic parts, photos of visitors in a Shuttle seat, and even JSC decals.

Mars, a new "star" of the Open House, is featured in Mars meteorite research, the latest photographs from the Sojourner rover on Mars, and concepts about eventual human exploration of the red planet.

The Center’s Teague Auditorium will offer seven exciting slide presentations about the past, present and future of human space flight. Astronauts and scientists will discuss: "Photos from Space", "The X-38: Lifeboat for International Space Station", "Revolutionizing Biomedical Research - the Bioreactor", "Apollo…Missions to the Moon", "Human Voyage to the Moon and Mars", "Yes, There Is Life on Mars", and "Science in Space".

The Auditorium’s lobby will provide a cool setting where youngsters can learn more about space by building Shuttle gliders, launching "Alka-Seltzer" rockets, coloring space pictures, and surfing NASA internet pages. These activities were a big hit last year.

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JSC’s huge Building 9, a favorite stop, is home to the full size Shuttle and International Space Station mock-ups. While the Space Station exhibit trailers offer a close-up look at where astronauts will eat, sleep and perform cutting edge scientific research in the new International Space Station.

Outside the Center’s gates, Ellington Field on Highway 3 and the Sonny Carter Training Facility at the north end of Space Center Boulevard, shouldn’t be missed. Numerous aircraft such as the KC-135A "Vomit Comet", the 747 Shuttle carrier aircraft, and the T-38 training jets will be open for visitors to inspect, while the Texas-sized 6.2 million gallon pool for simulating zero gravity is featured at the Carter training site.

By the end of the day, some visitors will be experts on subjects such as space "spin-off" benefits of the space program, what life on the Mir is really like, and what their city and state look like from space.

Visitors can ask space experts all those questions they’ve always wanted to ask! And, at several locations they’ll find answers to such questions as why plants are important to future space travel, why the Shuttle sometimes can’t launch in perfect Florida weather, and even why the astronauts love hot sauce in space!

The JSC cafeterias will be open as well as several small gift stores where visitors may buy space souvenirs and clothing. Numerous information booths and water stations will help visitors quickly and comfortably find their favorite locations.

More information about the JSC Open House can be found on the Open House Information Line at 281-483-4241.

Concurrent to the Open House, the Ballunar Liftoff Festival, is also at the JSC site on August 22, 23, and 24. This event, with a $2 entry fee for adults, features about 100 hot air balloons, parachutists, skydiving, model rocket and model aircraft demonstrations, and aerial flyovers by the Confederate Air Force. For more information contact the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce at 281-488-7676.

On the day of the Open House, media representatives should check in at the NASA/JSC News Room in Building 2 for assistance in identifying and locating exhibits and demonstrations.

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