ATX: The Astronaut Training Experience.

Bucket List: Train like an astronaut at Kennedy Space Center

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Editor’s Note: For dRTB’s Health & Happiness Issue 2021, Mary Lou Janson explores the many ways in which Florida is the perfect destination for checking off lifetime bucket lists — whether you’re looking for once-in-a-lifetime adventures on land, underwaterin the sky or on the racetrack.

Want to add a real out-of-this-world experience to your Florida bucket list?

Enroll in the Astronaut Training Experience® Center – Exploring with Lockheed Martin at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. This half-day program incorporates authentic NASA science and engineering to offer interactive, hands-on tasks for those aspiring to interplanetary travel.

Astronauts-in-training decipher data compiled by both flight control personnel and spacecraft crew to ensure successful lift-offs. Crucial repairs to the spacecraft’s exterior must be accomplished in a zero-gravity atmosphere mimicked by immersive microgravity simulation technology. It’s delicate work done from a fully reclined chair that floats over the floor on a thin layer of air.

An astronaut “trainee” experiences zero gravity in a specially designed chair that floats on a thin layer of air. 
Kennedy Space Center

Climb aboard a capsule for a bumpy ride replicating the rocking and rolling of land rovers. Or collect lots of samples from the Mars surface with the help of virtual reality headgear and hand controls.

it’s not Mars, but it’s close.

Sessions currently are available Wednesdays and Saturdays year-round. Cost is $175 per person (plus tax). Classes typically fill up weeks in advance. With the first all-civilian SpaceX mission crew slated for launch this fall, this could be your first step toward a future space flight.