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December 13, 2006

NASA Public Affairs Office
Stennis Space Center, MS 39529-6000


Running out of places to go or things to do with family and friends this holiday season? Then take the short drive to NASA Stennis Space Center in Hancock County Mississippi.

Stennis Space Center is where Apollo Saturn V engines that took Americans to the moon in the 1960s were tested. Today, every space shuttle main engine is test-fired and proven flight-worthy at Stennis.

Visitors to StenniSphere, the visitor center at Stennis Space Center, board shuttles for a 25-minute narrated tour of America's largest rocket engine test complex. There, they can get an up-close view of the massive test stands, and often experience the shake, rattle and roar of a rocket engine as it is being tested.

The museum at StenniSphere has 14,000 square feet of exciting displays and exhibits from NASA, the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command and other agencies. Hands-on activities are fun and educational for both children and adults, ranging from a mock test control center to a real space shuttle main engine.

Also at StenniSphere is the 1960s cafe, the RocKeTeria, where visitors may dine for lunch. Souvenirs or holiday gifts may be purchased at the Space Odyssey Gift Shop.

StenniSphere offers free tours to the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and charter tours may be scheduled Monday through Saturday, with the exception of Christmas Day and New Year's Day when StenniSphere is closed. Tours originate from the Launch Pad tour stop at the Hancock County Welcome Center at Interstate 10, just 45 miles east of New Orleans. (Visitors 18 and older must present a valid identification with photograph, such as a driver's license or passport.)

For more information, please call 1-800-237-1821 or 228-688-2370; or visit http://www1.ssc.nasa.gov/public/visitors/.

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