NASA Astronauts, Moonwalkers Headline New Planetarium Show

The Morehead Planetarium and Science Center will launch its new show, Destination: Space, with a weekend of activities from Sept. 28-Oct. 1, including live appearances by a moonwalker and a current NASA astronaut. The public is invited to meet the astronauts at two free events during the weekend.

The premiere showing at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28, will be free of charge and includes an appearance by Charlotte native Charlie Duke, one of only 12 men to walk on the moon. All subsequent showings will require tickets at regular admission prices. During the opening weekend, Destination: Space will replace all other shows in the planetarium’s Star Theater.

The show is a journey through the history of America’s space program and a look at what lies ahead – from the 1960s to NASA’s current plans to send astronauts to Mars. Moonwalkers Duke and Buzz Aldrin are featured in the show along with other current and former astronauts, including Kathy Thornton, Robert Satcher and Bill Thornton ’52, a Faison native.

On Saturday, Sept. 30, in Morehead’s Banquet Hall at 11:30 a.m., current astronaut Thomas Marshburn, a Statesville native, will speak about “Astronauts of the Future” at an event for kids and families. He will sign autographs afterward. This is a free event with limited space, and guests will be seated in order of their arrival.

Destination: Space is an original Morehead Planetarium and Science Center production narrated by the retired CBS news anchor, Walter Cronkite. Cronkite became known as the “voice of the space race” for his coverage of America’s early space missions, including his live broadcast of the first successful moon landing.

“Walter Cronkite’s voice was a hallmark of the space program during the 1960s and 1970s,” said Jeff Hill, Morehead Center’s director of marketing and business ventures. “We wanted to recapture the excitement and optimism of that time, and we want to renew America’s fascination with space.”

Destination: Space, funded with support from GlaxoSmithKline, is one of the few planetarium shows in the United States that focus on space exploration. Morehead Planetarium played a role in space program history during the 1960s and 1970s, when it served as a training center for NASA, teaching celestial navigation to more than 60 astronauts.

The full schedule of Destination: Space launch activities is available online or by calling (919) 962-1236.

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