Grand Opening of Independence Plaza
Stream the Grand Opening Live at

Release Date:  Jan. 23, 2016


The opening will be celebrated with fireworks, RE/MAX skydivers, astronauts, hands-on science activities and live presentations as Space Center Houston celebrates “Mission Accomplished.” For more information on the grand opening, visit The new exhibit complex is the only place in the world where an exact shuttle replica is mounted on top of an authentic shuttle carrier aircraft and the only place where both can be entered. Capture the excitement.

Imagery Available:    

Imagery is available at Imagery from opening day will be posted on day of opening.


Space Center Houston, 1601 NASA Parkway, Houston, TX 77058


Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016          

General public times:

The parking lot opens at 7 a.m., the opening ceremony begins at 8:25 a.m. and the center’s main doors open at 9:10 a.m. See the complete grand opening schedule here.


  • See visitors meet astronauts
  • Watch skydivers land during the festivities
  • Touch the interactive displays in the plane and discover how the shuttle flew.
  • Position a shuttle and SCA with engineering precision to get them to mate.
  • Walk through a space shuttle and feel like an astronaut.
  • See children fly cold-air balloons, design their own moon rock and launch mini-shuttles.
  • Interview key people who made the exhibit come to life.

Possible Interviews:

  • Richard Allen, president and CEO, Space Center Houston
  • Paul Spana, exhibits manager, Space Center Houston
  • Carmina Mortillaro, senior exhibits developer, Space Center Houston (Spanish Fluent)
  • Dr. Ellen Ochoa, Center Director, NASA Johnson Space Center and astronaut
  • Fred Griffin, chairman of the board, Manned Space Flight Education Foundation


Communications Department, (281) 244-2122,

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The Manned Space Flight Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit space museum with an extensive science education program. The cornerstone of its science education mission is Space Center Houston, which USA Today called “The Big Draw” in the greater Houston area with nearly 1 million visitors annually and a $45 million economic impact on the greater Houston area. Space Center Houston is Houston’s first and only Smithsonian Affiliate and the official visitor center of NASA Johnson Space Center.  The center draws more than 100,000 teachers and students annually from around the world. For more information, go to

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