12 days September 2021
Register now at [email protected] and we will contact you later in the year with full tour details
A comprehensive tour visiting key sites in the history and future of space exploration. From the first rockets, to the iconic missions, space stations and developing space tourism industry.
Covering NASA space centres and several museums in Orlando and Houston plus the Very Large Array and the Virgin Galactic Spaceport America, before continuing to California to visit Caltech, where Albert Einstein taught, as well as the Mount Wilson Observatory and California Science Centre. Joining the tours will be leading academics and journalists to add depth and insight to this highly engaging tour. A truly unique way to see the USA and discover not just what drives its success in conquering space but also its astronomy, pioneering spirit, historic towns, culture and beautiful wildernesses.
In partnership with Intrepid Travel
DAY 1: ARRIVE WASHINGTON DC AND WELCOME DINNER
Welcome to the USA! On arrival into Washington DC, a transfer to the hotel has been arranged. You will be met at the hotel by New Scientist’s Leah Crane, as well as your tour leader who will assist you with check in. At 6pm, join the group for a welcome reception and tour orientation. After dinner, Leah Crane will give an evening talk on the fascinating history of USA space travel.
DAY 2: NASA GODDARD SPACE CENTRE AND GUEST LECTURE
This morning you will visit NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre to learn about the centre’s current work in Earth science, astrophysics, heliophysics, planetary science, engineering, communication and technology development. This is also the site of the Gemini capsule model.
After dinner, Leah Crane will give a talk on recent exciting developments in the USAs renewed interest in exploring space.
DAY 3: UDVAR-HAZY SPACE CENTRE AND ORLANDO
After a leisurely morning in Washington DC, transfer to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Space Centre. Udvar-Hazy Centre is home of the Challenger space shuttle and numerous other treasures from flight history. After, you will make your way to the airport for your 2.5 hour flight to Orlando. On arrival in Orlando, meet your local tour director and transfer to your hotel where you can check in and relax before having a briefing with your tour leader.
DAY 4 & 5: NASA KENNEDY SPACE CENTRE
After breakfast, spend two days exploring the vast NASA Kennedy Space Centre. This includes:
•Space Shuttle Atlantis℠
•Twin IMAX® Theater 3D Films
•Shuttle Launch Experience®
•Meet an astronaut•Numerous Shows and Exhibits*
•KSC Bus Tour
DAY 6: HOUSTON AND NASA SPACE CENTRE
Transfer to the airport for your 2.5 hour flight to Houston.
This afternoon, you will set off for the NASA Space Centre Houston. Visit historic mission control, Saturn V AT Rocket Park, and more on a guided tram tour. Afterwards, explore the Starship Gallery and other NASA exhibits unguided. The Johnson Space Centre is NASA’s lead for International Space Station operations and missions, home to the Orion Multi-purpose crew vehicle, and numerous advanced human exploration projects. The centre also plays an important role in NASA’s Commercial Crew programs. After a full day, return to your hotel for overnight.
DAY 7: ALBUQUERQUE, SOCORRO AND GUEST LECTURE
After a leisurely morning in Houston transfer to the airport for your 2.5 hour flight to the historic city of Albuquerque in New Mexico.
This evening you will be met by Chris Impey who will give an evening talk on the future of space travel.
DAY 8: VIRGIN AMERICA SPACEPORT, TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES AND GUEST LECTURE
Begin your day at the Virgin America Spaceport USA for a guided tour accompanied by Chris. The tour includes numerous interactive exhibits, option to experience the GShock simulator (that subjects the would-be astronaut to rapid acceleration comparable to what an actual astronaut might feel in flight). Then you will venture into the Spaceport Operations Center (SOC) and interact with Spaceport America crewmembers and the state-of-the-art fire station before stopping in front of the iconic gateway to the space terminal and it’s hangar.
Later, peruse the funky downtown of Truth or Consequences. Formerly known as Hot Springs, the city of “T or C” has long been a destination for wellness tourism. For centuries, people have visited these hot springs for their healing properties, “taking the waters” at the many bath houses in town. Today, the charmingly restored hotels, motor courts and spas reflect this history and offer travellers a wide range of shops, restaurants, wineries and art galleries.
Later in the afternoon, travel back to San Antonio where you will have an evening seminar by Astronomer Chris Impey after dinner on Radio astronomy.
DAY 9: VERY LARGE ARRAY AND LOS ANGELES FOR PASSADENA
Early this morning you will travel approximately 1 hour to see sunrise at The Very Large Array with Chris. It comprises of 27 radio antennas spread over 22 miles that are able to detect extremely faint radio emissions from the distant stars. You will explore the visotrs centre with Chris.
You will then travel back to the Albuquerque Airport and depart for Los Angeles, CA. Then travel to Pasadena and check into your hotel for a three night stay.
DAY 10: HALE SOLAR LABORATORY, CALTECH AND NASA JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
This morning you will visit the Hale Solar Laboratory, a small but beautiful observatory and laboratory for George Ellery Hale, a pioneering figure in the development of the discipline of astrophysics in the United States. Hale discovered magnetic fields in sunspots and helped create some of the most important telescopes in the world.
Next you will have a guided tour of Caltech, where Albert Einstein taught for three semesters and where notable scientist and science communicator Richard Feynman worked and won his Nobel Prize in physics in 1965.
After lunch, a guided tour of the Nasa Jet Propulsion Laboratory will take up the rest of the day. The leading centre for robotic exploration of the solar system, where US space probes are tested prior to their launches, the Mars Curiosity rover is controlled, and images from the Spitzer Space Telescope are processed.
DAY 11: MOUNT WILSON OBSERVATORY AND CALIFORNIA SCIENCE CENTRE
Today you will first visit the Mount Wilson Observatory – in the first half of the 20th Century this was the most famous observatory in the world. This is where Edwin Hubble proved the existence of distant galaxies in 1924, and you will have a private behind the scenes tour of the telescopes.
You will then continue to visit the California Science Centre where you can see the Space Shuttle Endeavour and other exhibits on the technology and training required for space travel. The centre has a wide variety of other exhibits which you are free to explore before returning to your accommodation for lunch.
Your afternoon is free to enjoy and explore as you wish. Enjoy a final meal as a group before departing California tomorrow.
DAY 12: DEPART CALIFORNIA
Having crossed the U.S.A and the history of its space research, say farewell to California after breakfast as you depart for home.