Astronaut Encounters

Want to meet an astronaut? Fortunately you can! There are a few space centers in the U.S. that offer astronaut encounters where visitors can meet with an astronaut and learn what it’s like to travel to and work in space.

Have you ever met an astronaut? Leave a comment below and let us know what it was like!

The following is a list of astronaut encounters:

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex:

Address: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Space Commerce Way, Merritt Island, FL

Website: www.kennedyspacecenter.com

Established in 1962, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is a space museum in Florida that features exhibits on NASA’s various space missions as well as interactive exhibits where visitors can do things like walk on a projected moon surface and touch a moon rock.

The complex also offers four astronaut encounters which includes a Chat with an Astronaut Experience, an Astronaut Encounter, a Fly with an Astronaut Encounter and an Autographs in the Space Shop Encounter.

Chat With an Astronaut:

The Chat with an Astronaut experience is a 45-minute Q&A session with an astronaut in a small group setting. Visitors enjoy some food and beverages while having a group conversation with the astronaut about what it’s like to live and work in space.

The experience is not included in the price of admission to the visitor complex and is instead available as an add-on experience.

The experience is offered twice a day Monday through Saturday and includes complimentary breakfast or lunch, one alcohol drink per adult ticket and a commemorative gift and signed portrait of the astronaut.

Astronaut Encounter:

During the Astronaut Encounter, visitors get a chance to meet with veteran NASA astronauts such as commanders, pilots and mission and payload specialists who have traveled to space.

During the 40-minute encounter, the astronauts share their experiences during a live presentation and question & answer session. The encounter is held daily and is included in the price of admission.

Fly With an Astronaut:

The Fly with an Astronaut encounter is a guided tour of the Kennedy Space Center with an astronaut. After the tour, visitors are taken back to the visitor complex to enjoy a catered lunch with their astronaut guide.

After lunch, the astronaut tells the group about his or her personal accounts and experiences which is then followed by a Q&A session with the tour group. The visitors also receive special pins commemorating the experience.

This is followed by a guided tour of the Space Shuttle Atlantis, which is on display at the visitor complex, and the tour concludes with the Shuttle Launch Experience, which is a space shuttle simulator that allows visitors to experience what it’s like to be launched into space.

The purchase of the Fly With An Astronaut experience includes admission to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

Autographs in the Space Shop:

The Autographs in the Space Shop is an autograph session with the Astronaut of the Day at the Space Shop during which visitors can bring something that they would like signed by the astronaut. The autograph session is available daily and is included in the price of admission to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

In addition to the Astronaut Encounters, the complex also offers guided tours of the facility, a NASA Overnight experience and allows visitors to touch a moon rock collected during the Apollo 17 mission.

The Kennedy Space Center and the visitor complex are owned by NASA and are operated by NASA contractor, Delaware North.

Space Center Houston:

Address: 1601 E NASA Pkwy, Houston, TX

Website: spacecenter.org

Established in 1992, Space Center Houston is a space museum in Texas that features over 400 space artifacts, including space capsules from various missions and a lunar samples vault with a moon rock that visitors are allowed to touch.

The museum also offers two astronaut encounters which include a Breakfast with an Astronaut experience and an Astronaut Missions Memories experience.

Breakfast with an Astronaut:

The Breakfast with an Astronaut encounter is a group meal with an astronaut. Guests enjoy a breakfast catered by Wolfgang Puck followed by a Q&A session with the astronaut.

The menu includes fresh fruit, scrambled eggs, hash brown potatoes, fried chicken, waffles, pastries and beverages such as juice, coffee or water.

The purchase of a Breakfast with an Astronaut ticket includes admission to the Space Center Houston. The Breakfast with an Astronaut encounter is available on select Fridays and every Saturday morning.

Astronaut Mission Memories:

The Astronaut Mission Memories is a 30-minute group session with an astronaut who will share some of his or her experiences and memories from the space mission they took part in.

The Astronaut Mission Memories is included in the price of admission to the Space Center Houston and takes place twice a day every Friday and Saturday.

You can check the Astronaut Experiences page on the website for a full list of names and schedules of the astronauts taking part in these encounters.

U.S. Space and Rocket Center:

Address: U.S. Space & Rocket Center, One Tranquility Base, Huntsville, AL

Website: www.rocketcenter.com

The U.S. Space and Rocket Center is a visitor center located at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. The center features the largest collections of rockets and space memorabilia in the world, exhibits about the International Space Station and a G-Force Accelerator.

The center offers Astronaut Chats with NASA astronauts on Thursday evenings during the summer. The chats feature discussions with astronauts about their time in space.

In addition to the astronaut chats, the center also offers an Astronaut Training Experience, a flight simulator experience, space camp and space academy.

Sources:
How to Meet and Astronaut.” Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, kennedyspacecenter.com/blog/meet-an-astronaut
Fly with an Astronaut.” Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, kennedyspacecenter.com/explore-attractions/behind-the-gates/fly-with-an-astronaut
Astronaut Encounter.” Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, kennedyspacecenter.com/explore-attractions/heroes-and-legends/astronaut-encounter
Chat with an Astronaut.” Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, www.kennedyspacecenter.com/explore-attractions/heroes-and-legends/chat-with-an-astronaut
Astronaut Experiences.” Space Center Houston, spacecenter.org/exhibits-and-experiences/astronaut-experiences/

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