The Wallops Flight Facility is found near Virginia Beach, right around the eastern shore of the state. The facility is under the operation of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Its primary purpose is a rocket launch site, though it also offers a visitor’s center and other educational and informational facilities.
The history of this facility dates back to the year 1945. The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, NASA’s predecessor, created the site for rocket launching in that year, working with the Langley Research Center. The site’s original intent was to conduct high-speed aerodynamic research. In the 1980s, the facility became a part of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt. Since its beginning, the site has been responsible for the launch of 14,000 research vehicles.
The visitor’s center of the Wallops Flight Facility is of particular interest to people visiting Virginia Beach. The center has a variety of hands-on exhibits for children and adults alike. There are specially organized activities that cater to children and allow them to learn about NASA technology. Once a month, NASA invites people to launch their own rockets from the WFF site. Topics include planets, astronomy, aeronautics, space shuttle, life in space, careers and the earth environment. Videotaping is allowed. The visitor’s section is also called the Educator Resource Center (ERC).
Recently, the Wallops Flight Facility was highlighted in the news as it organized a week-long workshop called “RockOn!”, welcoming students and professors from universities all across the country. This event creates a hands-on workshop environment so people can build their own experiments that fly on sounding rockets.
The site recently received a special honor for environmental recognition within the Commonwealth of Virginia. It was only the second federal facility in the area to receive such an honor. The official honor was the Extraordinary Environmental Enterprise level of the Virginia Environmental Excellence Program. You can find the center at Educator Bldg. J-17 in Wallops Island, VA 23337.
Why not arrange for a visit to the facility if you are in or near Virginia Beach and Wallops Island? This is an excellent opportunity, if you have children, to deter their interests away from leisure and into scientific discovery. It’s not only fun and interactive but also educational. The Wallops Flight Facility is not only an important landmark, but a site that children will genuinely love to see!