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August 4, 1999

Rob Navias
Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX
(281/483-5111)

Release: J99-29

NOTE TO EDITORS:

JSC Set To Welcome The Public to Open House ‘99

With an eye to the new millennium, the Johnson Space Center will open its doors to the public on Saturday, August 28, for its annual Open House, enabling visitors to meet JSC’s workforce and see how they plan and conduct human space flight missions. NASA developed technologies that have improved all of our lives will be on display as well.

The theme of this year's Open House is “Pathway to the Future”, reflecting the myriad of work conducted at JSC related to human exploration of the universe in the 21st Century.

Open House, which begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 5:30 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 for a first-hand view of human space flight,” said JSC Director George W. S. Abbey.” We hope the public will enjoy the experience of meeting our people and not only better understand how their investment in space exploration makes it possible for us to journey to the stars, but also how it provides real benefits to our lives here on Earth.”

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 where engineers and technicians are currently monitoring the daily progress of the new international outpost in orbit; view U.S. and Russian simulators used by astronauts to train for Shuttle and space station flights; tour facilities housing Shuttle space suits, docking mechanisms used to link Shuttles to the new space station and other new Shuttle hardware used in the upgrade of NASA’s reusable space vehicle; and have an opportunity to see moon rocks and a Martian meteorite.

Astronauts will be on hand throughout the day to provide autographs in five 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 will be open to the public involving composite materials, plant growth, life support systems, global positioning systems and physiological studies.

NASA’s new X-38 vehicle planned for crew return from orbit from the International Space Station and the inflatable Transhab module proposed for crew habitation on the station will also be on display.

Groups will perform during Open House, including “Max Q”, JSC's famed astronaut band. Additional entertainment will be provided, courtesy of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, whose representatives will be present throughout the day to provide visitors with information about their annual event at the Astrodome.

In the newly refurbished Teague Auditorium, programs will be offered to the public all day, featuring presentations on the International Space Station and Mars. The Clear Lake Symphony Orchestra will wrap up the day's events at 4 p.m. with a selection of popular space music - accompanied by high-tech imagery.

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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