HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., soon will throw open many of its doors to the public, sharing an inside look at the work of the nation's space program. Beginning July 20, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville will launch a regular series of Marshall bus tours.
"We're excited to partner with the U.S. Space & Rocket Center for this revealing tour of our world-class facilities," said Marshall Center Acting Director Gene Goldman. "Marshall is tasked with developing some of NASA's most critical science, engineering and space exploration projects and missions -- helping to extend a human presence into the solar system, unlock the secrets of the cosmos, and improve and protect lives here on Earth.
"Demonstrating the innovations and intricacies of that work to visitors from all over the nation will be a pleasure and a privilege for the Marshall team," he added.
Tours will visit a number of key Marshall laboratories and test sites, including many involved in development of NASA's Space Launch System, the advanced, heavy-lift launch vehicle that will enable new exploration missions beyond low-Earth orbit. The Marshall Center is leading development of the Space Launch System for NASA -- a national endeavor incorporating the work of NASA field centers and industry partner facilities across the country.
Bus tours also will introduce visitors to historic sites where early American rockets were tested; state-of-the-art facilities where NASA develops and tests powerful new flight vehicles, space systems, uncrewed science probes and space imagers; and the International Space Station Payload Operations Center -- where Marshall personnel are in contact around the clock with station crews, orchestrating science experiments and maintaining communications between astronauts and researchers around the world.
"It is our honor to be Marshall's Visitor Center and to once again open the doors to their groundbreaking work," said Dr. Deborah Barnhart, chief executive officer and executive director of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. "We are pleased that Redstone facilities and programs will be featured on the tours going forward."
The Marshall Center bus tours will be available to all visitors to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, situated at One Tranquility Base off Interstate 565 in Huntsville. For center hours, directions and more information, visit: http://www.rocketcenter.com
More about the Marshall Center
Established in 1960, the Marshall Center is one of NASA's largest field centers, occupying more than 1,800 acres on the U.S. Army's Redstone Arsenal. Approximately 5,000 scientists, engineers, technicians and support personnel work in 125 unique and specialized facilities and laboratories. Marshall is the third largest employer in the Huntsville area, and a major contributor to the economic success of North Alabama and the Tennessee Valley.
NASA relies on the center's engineering and scientific expertise to build launch vehicles, spacecraft and scientific instruments that enable the United States to explore and discover. Marshall provides the multidiscipline engineering expertise behind a variety of space transportation and propulsion systems. It has been a major contributor to NASA flagship missions, from the historic Apollo lunar voyages and 30 years of space shuttle flights, to the Space Launch System and other cutting-edge vehicles, systems and missions now being developed to conduct advanced science and exploration in Earth orbit and beyond.
Marshall also enables scientific discovery through development of hardware and instruments for projects including the Chandra X-ray Observatory -- now in its second decade of documenting some of the most vivid cosmic phenomena ever seen -- and the Japanese-led mission Hinode studying the sun. The center develops, integrates and operates major components and systems on the International Space Station and supports its science operations around the clock.
The popular U.S. Space & Rocket Center -- combining a rich aviation and aerospace museum, hands-on science learning center and family theme park -- serves as Marshall's Visitor Information Center. At the Space & Rocket Center, visitors can learn more about Marshall's legacy and ongoing work. Interactive Marshall exhibits and unique, historic NASA artifacts demonstrate Marshall's critical role in supporting the breadth of NASA's missions.
For more information about the work of the Marshall Center, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/marshall