Planetarium’s ‘Final Journey’ series marks end of shuttle program


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium at the University of Louisville will commemorate the end of NASA’s 29-year space shuttle program by inviting the public in to watch the final launches of Atlantis, Endeavour and Discovery.

    “This is the end of an era in American space exploration,” said planetarium director Rachel Connolly. “We think it provides a good opportunity to revisit the triumphs and tragedies of the shuttle program and watch the final launches as a community.”

    The free “Final Journey” programs kick-off May 14 with the launch of Atlantis at 2:20 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Planetarium doors open at 1:45 p.m.

    Part of the planetarium’s Summer Under the Stars program, the “Final Journey” series will include presentations, video highlights of each shuttle’s career, activities for children and live viewing of the launches on the planetarium’s 55-foot screen in surround sound.

    Refreshments will include Tang, an orange-flavored drink often associated with NASA space missions.

    As all NASA launches are weather-dependent those planning to attend the event should check the planetarium’s website at or NASA’s website at for up-to-date information before heading to the planetarium.

    Launch dates for the other two shuttles are tentatively set for Sept. 16 for Discovery and mid-November for Endeavour.

    For more information, contact planetarium director Rachel Connolly at 502-852-0586.

    Cindy Hess
    Cindy Hess has more than 30 years of experience in communications, marketing and investor relations, including more than a decade at UofL. She is "sort of" retired but happy to come back to the Office of Communications and Marketing to help with special projects and assignments.