Go behind the scenes at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for a VIP experience. Meet scientists, engineers, and astronauts and participate in space exploration simulations and astronaut training activities. 

Starting at: $3,995 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Apollo 16 Command Module  U.S. Space & Rocket Center   Saturn V Hall, U.S. Space & Rocket Center   Saturn V Hall, U.S. Space & Rocket Center  Take part in simulated space missions  Take part in simulated space missions  Take part in simulated space missions  Take part in simulated space missions  The spinning Multi-Axis Trainer  Take part in simulated space missions

Smithsonian at Space Academy

5 days from $3,995

Go behind the scenes at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for a VIP experience. Meet scientists, engineers, and astronauts and participate in space exploration simulations and astronaut training activities. 

or Call 855-330-1542

Overview

To mark the 55th anniversary of man's first space walk, join fellow travelers who share a passion for the history and future of space exploration on a VIP experience at the renowned U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Hunstville, Alabama. Attend daily discussions and panels with NASA scientists and engineers who have worked on the most important projects in the history of the space program. And with two astronauts as your mission leaders, participate in classic Space Academy activities, including group missions that simulate a lunar shuttle launch, and address the challenges of surviving on Mars. Plus, the adventurous have the option to try out some of the astronaut training simulators! You'll gain access to nearby Marshall Space Flight Center, historic rocket launch testing sites, and the NASA facility that oversees scientific operations on board the International Space Station. 

Highlights Include:

  • Special Speakers and Mission Leaders: Enjoy private talks by former astronauts Hoot Gibson and Mike Foreman, who as Mission Leaders will train your group and share insights for your missions. Homer Hickam, famous former NASA engineer and author of the best-selling memoir Rocket Boys, will also present a lecture*. Plus, participate in daily discussions and attend panels with NASA scientists and engineers who have worked on the most important projects in the history of the space program.
  • Behind-the-Scenes: Explore the nearby Marshall Space Flight Center, the largest NASA center and home of the U.S. government’s rocketry and spacecraft propulsion research. Visit historic rocket launch testing sites, and the Payload Operations and Integration Center—the NASA facility that oversees scientific operations on board the International Space Station. 
  • Space Academy Activities: Participate in classic Space Academy activities, including group missions that simulate a lunar shuttle launch and address the challenges of surviving on Mars. The adventurous have the option to try out the astronaut training simulators, featuring the spinning Multi-Axis Trainer and the Underwater Astronaut Trainer, which creates a feeling of weightlessness that prepares astronauts for performing tasks in reduced gravity.

*Note: Speaker subject to change.

Itinerary

Day 1 – Welcome to Space Academy

Arrive at Huntsville International Airport and take advantage of the complimentary airport transfer to the Huntsville Marriott at the Space & Rocket Center.

Come together in the evening for a welcome reception and dinner at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center (USSRC). Dinner will be held in the awe-inspiring Saturn V Hall, which holds an authentic Saturn V Apollo moon rocket over 300 feet long. USSRC educators will introduce USSRC and its history, and provide an overview of what you and your fellow travelers will experience over the coming days. (R,D)

Day 2 – Alpha Mission

Return to the Saturn V Hall this morning for a private guided tour led by an expert and former NASA employee. In addition to the Saturn V rocket, the hall holds key pieces from the history of space exploration like the Apollo 16 capsule.

After lunch, take part in your first group mission as you work together as a team. Your trainer will be a former NASA astronaut who will prepare you for your mission. Along the way, you can ask many of the questions you’ve wanted to ask an astronaut. Afterward, the adventurous can experience Space Academy’s famous simulators in the AstroTrek Hall. Take a spin on the 1/6th Gravity Chair, 5 Degrees of Freedom Simulator, Manned Maneuvering Unit, and the Multi-Axis Trainer—a gimbal rig that simulates an uncontrolled spin in microgravity (260 lbs. maximum weight limit). Weather permitting, head outside after dinner this evening for a stargazing session led by USSRC staff. (B,L,D)

Day 3 – Marshall Space Flight Center

Huntsville is also home to Marshall Space Flight Center, the civilian rocketry and spacecraft propulsion research center of the U.S. government.  (Note: the grounds of Marshall Space Flight Center are only accessible to U.S. citizens. You will need to bring government identification with you to enter the area). Explore the ECLSS (Environmental Control and Life Support System) building, where the tools that allow astronauts to survive in space are developed.

Stop at a historic Redstone Test Site, which dates back to the founding years of the program when Wernher von Braun and his colleagues tested rockets here. Continue to the Laboratory Training Complex, which holds a recreation of a portion of the International Space Station (ISS) to train the Flight Control Team to support science operations for U.S. payloads aboard the ISS.

Finally, observe employees at work in the Payload Operations Integration Center, which oversees the scientific experiments being performed on board the ISS. After lunch, continue with a behind-the-scenes look at USSRC’s hidden gems as head curator Ed Stewart presents a selection of items from the archive. These include artifacts and documents from the life of Wernher von Braun—the founding scientist of USSRC—and the early years of the U.S. space program.

Then, enjoy time for hands-on endeavors. Separate into teams to build and then launch your own model rockets. (B,L,D)

Day 4 – Underwater Astronaut Trainer and Mission to Mars

This morning, suit up for the Underwater Astronaut Trainer. One of only three in the U.S., this heated pool is 24 feet deep and simulates neutral buoyancy in order to train astronauts to perform tasks in microgravity. For those preferring to stay on land, meet with a speaker from the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, a nonprofit organization that seeks to unlock the secrets of the human genome to advance medical research.

Attend a panel discussion with several of USSRC’s famous “NASA Emeritus” volunteers. These individuals are former NASA employees with backgrounds in engineering, computer science, and other fields who have worked on the biggest projects in the history of the U.S. space program. The panel will be followed by lunch with the speakers.

After lunch, it’s time for your next mission. Take part in a Mission to Mars that addresses the challenges of surviving on another planet.

Come together this evening for a final farewell reception and dinner. Recap your adventures of the week and receive your own personalized Space Academy flight suit. (B,L,R,D)

Day 5 – Depart for home

Depart this morning for Huntsville International Airport via the complimentary hotel shuttle. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)