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Fri, Apr 22, 2005

Space Day Is May 5th At Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center

Offering Extended Hours and Free Parking

The public is invited for a cosmic adventure as the National Air and Space Museum again hosts the Space Day global launch celebration, to be held Thursday, May 5, at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

To encourage families to attend, the Smithsonian facility in Chantilly, Va., will have extended hours for the day, 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. The program will offer hands-on exhibits, astronaut appearances, live performances, tours, curator talks, stories for children—even the chance to race balloon rockets and drive Mars rovers.

Participants also will have the chance to win an array of prizes, including a Bushnell telescope, round-trip tickets on Independence Air and all-expense trips to Family Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala.

Space Day was created in 1997 by Lockheed Martin Corporation, which sponsors the event with more than 70 partners and associates including the museum and NASA.

Parking at the Udvar-Hazy (pronounced OOD-var HAH-zee) Center, usually $12 per vehicle, will be free all day.

Space Day is designed to encourage students to consider careers in space exploration as they study math, science, engineering and technology. A satellite broadcast of activities at the center, combined with historic NASA footage, will be distributed to 140,000 schools across the United States and Canada. The theme of this year's Space Day is "Return to the Moon," based on the latest presidential goals for the U.S. space program.

“As the baby boomer generation looks toward retirement, the demand for young scientists and engineers is expected to increase at almost four times the rate of all other occupations," said Bob Stevens, Chairman, CEO and President of Lockheed Martin. "The Space Day initiative seeks to inspire the next generation to enter this vital career pipeline.”

For the first time, Space Day visitors to the Udvar-Hazy Center will be able to explore the recently launched James S. McDonnell Space Hangar, whose centerpiece is the refurbished Enterprise—the only NASA space shuttle on display to the public.

"The McDonnell Space Hangar shows in unique detail the scope of space exploration history and that captures the imagination of young people," said museum director Gen. J.R. "Jack" Dailey. "The future engineers, designers, technicians, astronauts and educators who come out for Space Day will be the ones to write the next chapters of the story our museum tells."

The hangar is also home to the Gemini VII spacecraft, an instrument ring segment from an unflown Saturn V rocket, a space shuttle main engine, the mobile quarantine trailer that housed the returned Apollo 11 crew, and scores of cruise missiles, satellites and space telescopes. Among its hundreds of smaller artifacts are a human-sized NASA android used for spacesuit testing and research crystals formed in orbit.

More than 1,500 sixth-graders from Northern Virginia schools will take part in the Space Day program at the Udvar-Hazy Center, which kicks off with an opening ceremony featuring remarks by former senator and astronaut John Glenn. Also taking part will be the crew from future space shuttle mission STS-116, which will focus on continued construction of the International Space Station.

The satellite broadcast of the activities at the Udvar-Hazy Center is available as an electronic lesson program for students in grades 4 through 8; it is produced by the museum and the Fairfax County (Virginia) Public Schools Department of Information Technology.

Admission to the Udvar-Hazy Center and the museum's flagship building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is free. The museum operates a shuttle bus between the two locations from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a round-trip ticket costing $12. Group discounts are available.

Both facilities are open daily with the regular hours of 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Closed Dec. 25.) The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located off Route 28 near Washington Dulles International Airport.



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