Santa Invited To Explore Kennedy Space Center's Three Programs
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- For the first time in almost 50 years, the nation's preeminent launch site will present Santa Claus with three agency programs to unwrap as he goes rockin' around NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida this Christmas Eve.
Kennedy is inviting Santa to walk around the Commercial Crew Program's wonderland, where he can check on the status of space transportation systems under development by seven U.S.-led aerospace companies. He can learn about ATK's Liberty launch vehicle, Blue Origin's New Shepard capsule, Boeing's CST-100 module, Excalibur's Almaz vehicle, Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser spacecraft, SpaceX's Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 rocket, and United Launch Alliance's Atlas V rocket, any of which could take good little boys and girls into space in the future. For the Commercial Crew Program's next round of development activities in early 2012, there's even a buzz among elves and Santa babies around the world that Kris Kringle is considering submitting his own transportation design called an "Out-of-Space Convertible-2" that's light blue.
Next up on his holiday itinerary, Santa will be able to dash on by the agency's 355-foot-tall mobile launcher. It's being modified by the 21st Century Ground Systems Program to support NASA's heavy-lift rocket, which is being designed, called the Space Launch System. He also could check out test equipment for NASA's new Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, called Orion, in Kennedy's Operations and Checkout Building. The agency is open to having him inspect the spacecraft's design for roominess and comfort. After all, if one day he's going to take billions of toys to children living outside the realm of Earth's atmosphere, he'll need plenty of cargo space and life support systems.
To that end, Santa could gain some intergalactic-sized inspiration from NASA's Launch Services Program. LSP has about a half-dozen different launch vehicles to choose from when it looks to rocket NASA's scientific spacecraft across our solar system. If Santa wants to diversify his gift-giving delivery system for future planetary pit stops, he can see what LSP did just from August through November this year, directing launches to Jupiter, the moon, Mars and even into orbit around our own home, Earth.
As always, Kennedy's Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) runway will be available for Santa Claus and his nine flying reindeer to use on their Dec. 24 worldwide trek. And just like the rest of Kennedy Space Center is doing following the retirement of the Space Shuttle Program this summer, the SLF is transitioning to a multi-purpose, multi-user facility. Which means, come Christmas Eve next year, Santa's sleigh may be sharing the skies with other customized craft -- from the top of the porch, to the top of the wall, dashing away, dashing away, dashing away all!
For more information about NASA's Commercial Crew Program, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew
For more information about NASA's 21st Century Ground Systems Program, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/ground
For more information about NASA's Launch Services Program, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/launchingrockets/index.html
For more information about NASA's Kennedy Space Center, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/kennedy
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