Shuttle Independence timed tickets

The Space Shuttle Program’s orbiters were designed to allow six crew members to live and work in relative comfort while orbiting Earth. It’s a little harder to turn that somewhat cramped environment into a place that guests can tour.

The viewing area within the shuttle replica Independence is significantly smaller than that of the shuttle carrier aircraft NASA 905. Because of this, a limited number of people at a time will be allowed at regular intervals into the shuttle replica Independence. This will help everyone to be comfortable while experiencing how astronauts felt in a shuttle.

This timed ticket is the best way to enter the shuttle, instead of standing in a line for the first open slot.

The plane will not use timed ticketing; visitors either will enter it after touring the shuttle or, if only touring the plane, guests will stand in line for the first available opening to enter the plane.

Guests who are not entering the shuttle or airplane are free to wander around Independence Plaza without waiting in line.

How it works

Before your visit, a free ticket can be selected on our website for a designated time. Tickets must be either printed prior to arrival or presented on your mobile device to the Crew Member at the tour-loading area. Your ticket for a shuttle replica tour reserves a spot for the time frame selected. Tickets are valid only for the time specified, and you must arrive AT LEAST 15 minutes prior to your scheduled tour time. Late arrivals cannot be guaranteed entry at the time specified on a ticket.

In the event that a scheduled tour is missed, we will make every reasonable accommodation, which may include but is not limited to a seat on the next available tour if space is available, or standing in line for the next open slot. If you miss your timed entrance, please ask a Crew Member for assistance.

Please note that part of this exhibit is open to the air and visitors are subject to weather conditions as they leave the building to enter the plane and shuttle. The tour also could be postponed or cancelled if weather conditions are unsafe. Please monitor weather and plan accordingly.

If your ticket is for a time during inclement weather, we will make every reasonable accommodation which may include postponing all timed tickets until inclement weather has passed or placing ticketholders in a stand-by line. Once you select your timed visit and proceed to check out, you will receive an email confirmation with an electronic version (PDF) of your ticket attached.

What to do on your visit

On the day of your visit to Space Center Houston, bring your printed or electronic version (on a mobile device) of your Independence Plaza timed ticket to the exhibit queue. Arrive at least 15 minutes before your tour is scheduled to begin. Present your timed ticket to the Crew Member waiting near the queue.

If you lose your ticket or forget it at home, don’t despair. We also will accept the electronic (PDF) version of your ticket shown on your smartphone or tablet, or you can go to the timed ticket stations at the Membership Desk and ask to have it reprinted. The desk is located to the left as you enter from the front of the building, just behind the Stellar Science Stage.

Two other ways to get a timed ticket

Spontaneity is the spice of life. Sometimes, that leads to an impromptu trip to bask in the wonders of space at Space Center Houston.

If you are already at the center but do not have a timed ticket, there are two options to obtain one.

Upon arriving inside the center, go first to the timed ticket stations at the Membership Desk, which is located to the left of the main entrance behind the Stellar Science Stage. There, a Crew Member can assist you in reserving a spot on one of the tours that day. Timed tickets are limited on these tours, however, so make sure to reserve your spot early.

The second option is to go to our website at and reserve a spot through your mobile device. Once you’ve done this, present the email confirmation and the electronic ticket version (PDF) at the tour queue at your designated time.

Still have questions? Please read our frequently asked questions and answers about the tour and timed ticketing.

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