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Florida Space Coast tourism runs hot, despite shuttle scrapping

As NASA and the part of Florida known as the 'Space Coast' is trying to reshape its self image after the permanent grounding of the Space Shuttle program, the agency's last surviving vehicle, Atlantis, is resting at its final destination – on display at Cape Canaveral.

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At the Kennedy Space Center’s Visitor’s Complex, preparations were underway in January 2013 for the celebration of the new shuttle display in the summer of 2013. The exhibition will probably become a must-see for everyone with interest in space travel and the achievements and failures of the shuttles during their many years of service. A new building, an imposing one that looks like a power plant, has been erected, and the shuttle stands already inside, undergoing final polishing for its new life as exhibit object.


During NASA’s heydays, the agency drew crowds from all over the world to every new rocket launch at Cape Canaveral. But however exiting the Atlantis attraction may be when it opens, the days of government organized and financed space adventures are long gone. The United States, to be sure, has other holes to put its money in. And as the Traveling Reporter discovered during our visit to the Space Coast, NASA now has to fight the view of some people that the space agency must be pretty much out of work since the shuttles have been grounded for good.

Rob, tour guide onboard one of NASA’s buses that carry tourists around the space center, asks the inevitable rethorical question as the bus departs from the Visitor’s Complex at Kennedy Space Center: “How many of you think we’re out of business after the shuttle program has ended?”

Nobody dare raise their hand.

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The editor of the Traveling Reporter works as a business news editor, and is a frequent traveler. When not doing any of that, he spends time on his boat and tries to figure out where to travel next. Two of his top destinations are the Philippines and San Francisco. Email Erik! Follow the Traveling Reporter at Stumbleupon, Tumblr, Chime In, Pinterest, Google+, Weibo, Storify, Facebook, Traveldudes, Myspace.