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June 2, 2000

Catherine Watson
Linda Matthews-Schmidt
Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX
(281/483-5111)

Release: J00-34

NOTE TO EDITORS:

JSC Open House 2000 Event Set for August 26

For the fifth year in a row, the Johnson Space Center will open its doors to the public on Saturday, August 26, for its annual Open House event. Visitors will have the opportunity to meet JSC’s workforce, see how they plan and conduct human space flight missions and learn how NASA develops technologies that are being utilized in both business and everyday activities.

Open House, which begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m., is free to the public. Visitors may enter the center through three gates not normally open to the public - on NASA Road One just east of Saturn Boulevard, on Space Center Boulevard near Bay Area Boulevard, and on Space Center Boulevard near NASA Road One. Parking in JSC lots is available at no charge.

“We are looking forward again this year to hosting the public to the Johnson Space Center, " said JSC Director George W. S. Abbey. “We hope everyone will enjoy both the opportunity to meet the dedicated women and men who work here and the chance to learn how their investment in the space program makes it possible for us to continue our advances in space exploration while at the same time providing real benefits to our lives here on Earth." said JSC Director George W. S. Abbey.

Exhibits and hardware from all of JSC’s various programs will be featured in more than 19 buildings throughout the center. In addition, tours will be provided of the Sonny Carter Training Facility, where astronauts train for space walks in the largest indoor “pool” in the world, as well as Ellington Field, where NASA training jets, Shuttle Training Aircraft and the KC-135 weightless trainer are housed.

Visitors will be able to tour Mission Control to see both the Space Shuttle and International Space Station flight control rooms. This facility is the nerve center for human space flight operations and served as the model for the new echocardiography lab at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston where non-invasive tests are performed using ultrasound to examine the structure and functioning of the heart for abnormalities and disease.

In Building 9, at the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility, visitors can see a full size version of the first and only reusable spacecraft ever built -- the Space Shuttle -- which in the past year conducted a variety of missions including the deployment of the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, a servicing call to the Hubble Space Telescope, a radar mapping mission that covered more than 47 million square miles of the Earth's surface and most recently, a return to the International Space Station to prepare it for the arrival of the next major station component, the Zvezda Service Module, when it is launched next month.

Building 9 also contains full size mockups of the Zvezda module along with the other major components of the International Space Station. The Space Station is a U.S.-led, international project involving five space agencies and more than 16 nations in the most complex engineering project ever undertaken.

NASA Astronauts will be on hand throughout the day to provide autographs in several buildings, including both JSC cafeterias and Ellington Field. Food, beverages and souvenirs will be available for purchase as well around the center.

Other facilities used for research in advanced technologies involving composite materials, plant growth, life support systems, global positioning systems and physiological studies will be open to the public.

NASA’s X-38 vehicle, which will be available to return crews from the International Space Station, and the inflatable Transhab module proposed for crew habitation on the station will also be on display.

There will be educational activities for children and opportunities to be photographed beside real space hardware and hands-on interactive activities involving the Internet.

JSC’s annual Open House coincides with the annual Ballunar Liftoff Festival, a three-day event sponsored by local communities and held on the NASA grounds. The festival includes more than 100 hot air balloons, midway rides, games, skydiving exhibitions and other displays. Festival admission is $3 for adults. Children under 12 are admitted free.

For more information about JSC’s Open House, call 281-244-5312 or visit the JSC website at http://openhouse.jsc.nasa.gov/

 

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