September 2017

Join us on a two-week, action-packed tour in the United States with New Scientist astronomy and space experts.

This amazing, one-off itinerary will take you on a thrilling journey through the history of space travel. Covering six states and over seven space centres, you will enjoy lectures with experts, VIP experiences and genuine insight into the science and people behind modern space exploration.


  • Stand nose-to-nose with the Discovery shuttle in the Steven F Udvar Hazy Space Centre and experience launching into outer space at the NASA Kennedy Space Centre
  • Gaze up at the Apollo 11 capsule as you enter the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum before studying Viking, Gemini and Mercury capsules
  • Venture into the Spaceport Operations Center at Virgin Spaceport America and interact with crewmembers. Explore Alabama’s US Space and Rocket Center where the Saturn V Moon Rocket is displayed.
  • Talk with an astronaut at the NASA Kennedy Space Centre & enjoy expert lectures from astronomy authority and astronaut-in-waiting Nigel Henbest.

Meet our experts

Nigel Henbest

Prof Nigel Henbest, BSc, MSci (Cantab), DSc (Hon), FRAS is a British astronomer, born in Manchester and educated in Northern Ireland and at Leicester University, where he studied physics, chemistry and astronomy. He did postgraduate research at the University of Cambridge before becoming a freelance science writer. He has written 40 books and over 1,000 articles on astronomy and space and these have been translated into 27 languages, many of them in collaboration with Heather Couper. Previously he has been Astronomy Consultant to New Scientist magazine, editor of the Journal of the British Astronomical Association and media consultant to the Royal Greenwich Observatory. Along with Couper and Stuart Carter, director of the Channel 4 series The Stars, he set up Pioneer Productions where he produced award-winning television programmes and series.

25th September 2017, day to day itinerary

On arrival into Washington DC, make your own way to your hotel and check in before meeting your leader for a 6pm welcome meeting in the evening.  There will be a note for you on arrival with details of where your meeting will take place.

This morning we visit NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center to learn about the center's current work in Earth science, astrophysics, heliophysics, planetary science, engineering, communication and technology development. This is also the site of Gemini capsule model.


Return to DC in the late afternoon.  If time permits, visit the Smithsonian museums (unguided).  The evening is free to explore the DC sights, theaters or monuments.

There are no activities planned early morning.  We depart the hotel at approximately 11:00am and transfer to the Steven F Udvar Hazy Space Center for a guided tour with expert docent.  Udvar Hazy is home of the Challenger space shuttle and numerous other treasures from flight history.


After Udvar-Hazy tour you will transfer to the airport for your flight to Orlando.


On arrival into Orlando, you are met and transferred to your hotel.  There is time to check in and relax before having a briefing with your leader and some recommendation for dinner (at own expense).

After breakfast, transfer to the NASA Kennedy Space Center.  NASA buses depart continuously every 15 minutes throughout the day and the last tour departs at 3:30 pm. These tours are approximately 2 hours in length.


INCLUDED in the two day entry pass: 

•Space Shuttle Atlantis℠ 

•Twin IMAX® Theater 3D Films

•Shuttle Launch Experience®   

•Special Viewing for Rocket Launches

•Meet an astronaut

•Numerous Shows and Exhibits*

•KSC Bus Tour 


Return to Orlando for free evening.

We return to NASA space center for a second day of exploration.

Today we transfer to the airport for your flight to Atlanta. On arrival you are met and transferred to Huntsville.


Check into your hotel and enjoy a free evening.

Full day at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. The Rocket Center houses more than 1,500 artifacts from America’s space program, including an authentic Saturn V moon rocket and Pathfinder, the world’s only full-scale space shuttle stack.


Included in your Daily Space Adventure:

•Entrance to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center with 1 hour guided tour

•Shuttle Park

•Rocket Park

•Public Museum Simulators

•“Science on Orbit” exhibit (International Space Station Permanent Exhibit)

•Live Space Presentation

•IMAX movie


Afterwards, explore any other relevant local space history sites of Huntsville. The evening is free.

Today we drive to New Orleans, prepare for a long drive. On arrival in the late afternoon, we have time to explore the French Quarter, jazz, and the city's unique culinary offerings.


Enjoy a group dinner and meet your expert Nigel for an informal chat about what lays ahead.

Today we visit NASA's Stennis Space Center for a bus tour of Stennis Space Center followed by some free time at the Infinity Space Center. A NASA tour guide will board our coach bus for the Stennis tour.


If you are lucky,  It may be possible to witness a test launch, depending on schedule.


Return to New Orleans for a free evening.

Early morning transfer to airport for your flight to Albuquerque. 


On arrival we are met and transferred to a restaurant for a group lunch.  Afterwards, we make our way to the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, for a guided tour with docent.


Late afternoon transfer to Las Cruces.

This morning we visit the White Sands National Monument with Nigel. Here great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed 275 square miles of desert, creating the world's largest gypsum dunefield.  From time to time, White Sands Missile Range performs missile tests that may close Highway 70 to traffic. Depending on the nature of the testing, Dunes Drive may also be closed during missile tests for visitor safety. During these times, the visitor center remains open.


After exploring White Sands National Museum we'll head to the New Mexico Museum of Space History to gain insight about this region's relationship with the space program, including early rocket experiments .  Nigel will give a presentation to the group with some time to ask any questions afterwards.

Morning transfer with Nigel  to the Virgin America Spaceport USA for a guided tour. The tour includes numerous interactive exhibits, option to experience the GShock simulator (that subjects the would-be astronaut to rapid acceleration comparable to what an actual astronaut might feel in flight). Later, visitors venture into the Spaceport Operations Center (SOC) and interact with Spaceport America crewmembers and the state-of-the-art fire station before stopping in front of the iconic URS/ Foster + Partners structure and Gateway to Space terminal/hangar for a photo opportunity.


Late afternoon continue to Albuquerque for overnight.

Today you get to witness something spectacular! Get to gates of the Trinity site by 7:30am today take a tour of Trinity, Nigel will  say goodbye to the group here and you will continue on to the VLA telescope site for viewing.

Trinity site in New Mexico, is the desolate spot where the first atomic bomb was tested. As the site is seldom open to the public, it will be a rare opportunity to get close to some of the key science behind space flight engineering.


Group transfer to the airport for a flight to Houston PM.  Check in on arrival.

Today enjoy breakfast at the hotel and set off for the NASA Space Center Houston, late morning.  You’ll visit historic mission control, Saturn V AT Rocket Park, and more on a guided tram tour.


Afterwards, explore Starship Gallery and other NASA exhibits unguided.


Johnson Space Center is NASA’s lead for International Space Station operations and missions, home to the Orion Multi-purpose crew vehicle, and numerous advanced human exploration projects. The center also plays an important role in NASA’s Commercial Crew programs.

Free morning, transfer to IAH for departure.


September Tour: £5045 per person
Single Supplement: £820 per person


  • Comfortable accommodation and transport throughout
  • Breakfast board plus additional meals as specified
  • Full time tour leader
  • Entrance fees
  • Talks with site experts
  • Lectures and time with our New Scientist Experts Nigel Henbest
  • Domestic flights (baggage not included)

To find out more about booking this trip, please call our New Scientist team on 0203 308 9917 or send an enquiry via the form below. Please note that places are limited, so we advise booking early.

Your details

Get inspired by Nigel Henbest's words on the May departure:

“From a rusty mangled section of a 1940s V-2 rocket to the space launch control room of the future at Spaceport America, the New Scientist tour in May spanned the whole of space history in one enjoyable ride

We visited the eerily empty  control room in Texas, where the Flight Director heard Neil Armstrong say "Houston, the Eagle has landed" and Apollo 13 report "Houston, we've had a problem." Next door, in a buzzing room dominated by huge screens with live displays from space, we watched mission controllers planning a space walk from the International Space Station. The visitor centre is dominated by a space shuttle is perched on top of the converted Boeing 747 that flew it across America - step aboard for an insider view.

We found deep history at Huntsville's US Space and Rocket Museum and at the New Mexico Museum of Space History, where Wernher von Braun built and tested the rockets that took America into space - and on to win the Space Race. His Saturn V rocket engines were tested at giant concrete stands that we visited in the swamps near New Orleans: they are now restraining the fiery engines of  the world's most powerful rocket, the forthcoming Space Launch System.

The world's premier launch site, the Kennedy Space Center, boasts everything from a Saturn V and space shuttle Atlantis through private launches to the International Space Station and the build-up to the lift-off of the Space Launch System.

There's more unique insight into the Space Race and the Cold War at the Goddard Space Center, the Smithsonian Museum,  the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History. And at Spaceport America we visited the future: the long runway and futuristic terminal building where Virgin Galactic will fly private astronauts on a personal trip to space.”