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Houston Makes Space for Astronaut Center

August 16, 1992|KIM UPTON

When Space Center Houston opens Oct. 16, it will be the first time the 1 million visitors who annually trek to the NASA/Johnson Space Center--where astronauts are trained and from which their life in space is monitored and directed--have an organized attraction to explore. Nearly five years of work went into the $70-million visitor center, which is designed to be a hands-on way to learn about the manned space program.

Space Center officials say visitors will be able to experience space travel much like the astronauts do, with computer simulators re-creating space shuttle landings and the sensation of maneuvering in a weightless environment. Visitors also will be able to explore the Skylab trainer--a space station mock-up the size of a three-bedroom house that was used to train Skylab mission crews--and see a lunar lander that was used on the moon. Another highlight is a guided tram tour into parts of NASA that were previously closed to the public. The center was designed by Walt Disney Imagineering and produced by BRC Imagination Arts, and was funded by private donations and tax-exempt bonds. Admission will be $8.75 for adults and $5.25 for children under 12. Children under 3 and qualifying school groups will be admitted free.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday August 23, 1992 Home Edition Travel Part L Page 2 Column 5 Travel Desk 1 inches; 31 words Type of Material: Correction
Wrong oceans--Due to a reporting error, last week's trivia quiz in News & Briefs was incorrect. The question should have read: Which African country borders both the Atlantic and the Indian oceans? (Answer: South Africa.)

Travel Quiz: Which African country borders both the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans?

The Claim Form's in the Mail: In the next few days, nearly 10 million claim forms are scheduled to be mailed to travelers who purchased airline tickets on major domestic carriers between Jan. 1, 1988, and June 30, 1992. The forms will determine eligibility for a portion of a pending $458-million settlement in a class-action, price-fixing lawsuit alleging that American, Continental, Delta, Midway, Northwest, Pan Am, TWA, United and USAir airlines illegally set air fares before offering them to the public. Without admitting wrongdoing, the carriers have agreed to pay qualifying travelers in the form of travel certificates good for discounts on air travel. The vouchers will be interchangeable among airlines, with the exception of the Northwest certificate.

There are three eligibility categories: those who purchased at least one domestic ticket during the period; those who bought at least five round-trip or 10 one-way tickets valued at less than $2,500, and those who purchased tickets worth more than $2,500 (documentation, such as credit card statements, canceled checks or expense account reimbursement forms, may be required).

Travelers who believe that they qualify but do not receive a claim form in the mail can request one by sending their name and address to: Airlines Antitrust Litigation, P.O. Box 267, Pennsauken, N.J. 08110-0267. All forms must be postmarked on or before Feb. 15, 1993. A final hearing, now scheduled for Oct. 19, is necessary before the settlement is approved by the court. Consumers who apply and qualify may receive the certificates as soon as mid-1993.

Back to Zagreb: As a sign that life is returning to normal in at least some parts of the former Yugoslavia, Austrian Airlines has resumed service from Vienna to Zagreb, Croatia, with four weekly flights. Service was discontinued last year when the secession of Croatia from Yugoslavia led to civil war.

It's All in the Game: Game Boy computer sets--Super Marioland, Tetris or Yakuman--are now available for passenger use on nonstop Japan Airlines flights between LAX and Tokyo (also between Tokyo and New York, Washington, Paris and London). Since there are a limited number of sets available and they are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, it is best to put in a request for game use with flight attendants upon boarding.

The Eyes Have It: Losing a contact lens on the road can be inconvenient and expensive, but a new service by the mail-order company Lens Express is guaranteeing replacements within 24 or 48 hours anywhere in the world serviced by Federal Express. Call in the prescription or, if that's not available, the doctor's name, and the company will send lenses via overnight or second-day delivery. Cost includes the lens price (about $20 for a six-pack of disposables to $129.90 for a pair of soft opaque lenses), plus the cost of shipping and handling (domestically, $8.95 for Federal Express second-day delivery, $19.95 for overnight delivery or about $35 for foreign destinations). Lens Express: (800) 666-5367 (from the United States, Canada, the Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico) or (305) 422-8180.

Quick Fact: Average cost for three meals for a business traveler in New York: $94.05. (Source: Corporate Travel Index.)

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