Event Details
Payload Blog

Launch Director Tour of Space Shuttle Atlantis®

Dec 17, 2020 - Dec 18, 2020 | 9:30 AM and 1:30 PM Space Shuttle Atlantis

NASA’s Space Shuttle Program is rich with 30 years of innovative technology and advances in space exploration. The Launch Director Tour of Space Shuttle Atlantis® with Mike Leinbach gets you up close to this incredible period in NASA’s history. See space shuttle Atlantis with her last launch director, Mike Leinbach, and learn about the risks and rewards of the Space Shuttle Program from an insider. The tour begins with a walking tour along the incredible spacecraft from nose to engines. From there, blast off in the Shuttle Launch Experience®, putting yourself in the seat of an astronaut launching into low-Earth orbit. Finally, visit Forever Remembered, the memorial honoring the astronauts who lost their lives in space shuttle missions STS-51L Challenger and STS-107 Columbia. Mr. Leinbach will offer a unique insight as he led the Columbia Reconstruction Team after the tragedy.

Tour Details:

  • $65 in addition to daily admission
  • Tours are scheduled 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM, and 1:30 - 4:30 PM
  • Space is limited to 30 participants
  • Please note: guests must be a minimum of 44 inches/111.76 cm to ride the Shuttle Launch Experience.
  • Minors must be accompanied by a participating, paying adult over the age of 18.

Learn More

Reserve Tour

About Mike Leinbach

Mike Leinbach was the final Space Shuttle Program Launch Director at NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC). He was responsible for overall shuttle launch countdown policy, planning and execution activities for the final eleven years of the program.

Mike joined NASA in 1984 as a structural engineer working on launch pad upgrades for the Space Shuttle Program. He became the Deputy Director of the International Space Station program office at KSC in 1998, and became the Shuttle Launch Director in August 2000. He led the Launch Team for all Shuttle missions from then to the end of the program in 2011, serving as the person to give the final “Go” for launch.

Mike led KSC’s forces in the initial Columbia debris recovery effort in Texas and Louisiana in February 2003 immediately following her catastrophic accident and loss of seven astronauts. Shortly thereafter, he led the Columbia Reconstruction Team to determine the cause of the accident from the debris collected and reassembled at KSC. He was the driving force behind the Columbia Preservation Team and the initiative to lend debris to industry and academia to develop better and safer spacecraft in the future. His book, “Bringing Columbia Home,” tells the inside story of the mammoth effort of the 25,000 Americans that helped find Columbia’s debris and reconstruct it.

Mike Leinbach Launch Director Tour

Launch Director Tour of Space Shuttle Atlantis®


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