Visit Space Shuttle Atlantis

ShuttleAtlantis

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex’s new Space Shuttle AtlantisSM attraction opens June 29, 2013.

This one-of-a kind, $100 million attraction features a nearly 360-degree, multi-level view of Atlantis raised 30 feet off the floor and rotated at an angle with its payload bay doors open, as if orbiting Earth. Space Shuttle Atlantis features state-of-the-art multimedia presentations and more than 60 interactive exhibits and high-tech simulators while shining a spotlight on the astounding achievements made during the shuttle program.

For the very first time, the public will be able to get nose to nose with what many consider to be the most complex machine ever built by mankind – almost close enough to touch it.
Other highlights and thematic areas include:

  • The Entrance – Outside Space Shuttle Atlantis, guests are greeted by a full-scale, 184-foot-tall vertical replica of the space shuttle’s external tank and two solid rocket boosters, giving visitors a true sense of the awesome power needed to launch the shuttle into orbit. The entrance walkway is lined with river rocks from Kennedy Space Center’s crawlerway, upon which Saturn V rockets and space shuttles were transported to the launch pads.
  • The Building – Space Shuttle Atlantis features two sweeping architectural elements, or “wings,” representing the space shuttle’s launch and return. The outer layer of the building, cloaked in iridescent hues of orange and gold, represents the fiery glow of re-entry. The taller, internal wing of the building is covered in a shimmering gray tile pattern representing the tiled underside of the orbiter. The building is designed to meet LEED Silver sustainability standards.
  • The Preshow – Multimedia and cinematic presentations build anticipation by illustrating the evolution of the 30-year Space Shuttle Program and the thousands of people who took part in creating and maintaining NASA’s five space-flown shuttles – Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour.
  • Hubble Space Telescope Theater – A high-fidelity replica shows the Hubble Space Telescope in all its glory, 43 feet long and 14 feet in diameter, with its solar panels fully deployed. A cinematic production in the 40-seat theater shows highlights of the Hubble program, including its 1990 launch, subsequent repair missions and stunning images of deep space.
  • International Space Station Gallery – Guests can climb aboard a high-fidelity replica of ISS modules and experience the sensation of floating in space. An interactive touch screen offers a variety of topics about living and working aboard the ISS. The topics are then explained using real footage shot exclusively for the Microgravity Theater by actual ISS crewmembers, who are shown in zero gravity inside the ISS. Freestanding pods recreate components of the station, including upside-down astronaut sleeping quarters and the space potty. A 16-foot-long, 4-foot-tall interactive media wall tracks the location of the ISS and provides downloads from the crew’s Twitter feed, as well as exciting updates about the scientific research conducted.
  • Shuttle Launch Experience – Guests can “get vertical” and strap in to experience the sights, sounds and sensations of a space shuttle launch. Veteran NASA astronauts who helped develop the attraction call it the next best thing to an actual space shuttle launch.
  • Astronaut Training Simulators – Future astronauts can practice landing the orbiter, docking to the ISS and manipulating the robotic Canadarm on 21 consoles modeled after actual NASA training simulators.
  • On Orbit Gallery – The 24-foot-long interactive Space Transportation System (STS) Timeline brings NASA’s 135 space shuttle missions to life with details on every launch, landing, astronaut, payload and more. Banks of interactive monitors provide an “X-ray” view of Atlantis’s crucial systems and prerecorded views of its interior, including the cockpit, middeck and payload bay. At the rear of Atlantis, guests can see an actual 8,000-pound space shuttle main engine. Virtual reality simulators invite guests to test their spacewalking skills, while budding commanders can take the controls in a space shuttle cockpit replica.
  • Space Shuttle Processing Area – The authentic “beanie cap,” or vent hood, from Launch Pad 39B finds a new home at the “Blast Off” game in which guests can kick together virtual molecules of hydrogen and oxygen to create the space shuttle’s liquid fuel. They can also try their hand at virtually mating the orbiter to the shuttle stack in the Vehicle Assembly Building. The wheels and tires from Atlantis’ final mission, STS-135, are also available for guests to touch and spin.
  • The Re-entry Zone – Visitors can see what it takes for astronauts to land the orbiter as a high-speed glider, creating their own sonic booms and gliding, or rather, sliding, to a landing on the steep slope of the Re-entry Slide.
  • Shuttle Express Gift Shop – The 4,000-square-foot shop features a wide array of shuttle and space-related merchandise displayed amid youth artwork depicting their visions for the future of space flight.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (Kennedy Space Center), Fla. – the home of human spaceflight, 45 minutes east of Orlando.

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