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NASA's Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex marked yet another major milestone recently in the construction of its 90,000-square-foot, $100 million home for space shuttle Atlantis by announcing the official name and visual identity for the exhibit, as well as the grand opening date of June 29.
The exhibit not only will showcase Atlantis as if it were in space - raised 30 feet off the ground and rotated 43 degrees - but will also tell the compelling story of the entire shuttle program, including the thousands of people behind this incredible feat of engineering, its key role in the development of the International Space Station and the launch and repair of the Hubble Space Telescope, as well as how it paved the way for today's new space programs and the future of space exploration.
More than 60 interactive, immersive exhibits and simulators will provide guests a never-before-experienced perspective on the shuttle's complex systems, components and capabilities.
To create the multimillion-dollar, one-of-a-kind home for Atlantis, including its name and visual identity, or logo, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and NASA have been working in partnership with St. Louis-based PGAV Destinations, a global leader in the planning and design of unique destinations with nearly 50 years' experience in the attractions/destinations industry.
After weeks of development and testing, dozens, if not hundreds of name combinations were considered. All agreed that the name must convey emotion, fun, excitement and inspiration, and should be easy for both adults and children to understand, repeat and remember. Ultimately, the partners chose to go with a simple name that resonated the most powerfully with guests - "Space Shuttle Atlantis."
Mike Konzen, principal of PGAV Destinations, said the logo for Space Shuttle Atlantis was created in a gradient of fiery oranges representative of the shuttle's launch and re-entry to earth. These symbolic colors also were used in the metallic "swish" representing the shuttles' re-entry on the outside of the new exhibit building. The light-to-dark range in the lettering conveys the excitement and drama of the shuttle program, while the iconic silhouette of the orbiter, or shuttle, is aptly used to represent the "A" in Atlantis. The NASA insignia, or "meatball," serves as a reminder of the pride and patriotism in America's space program, while the words "Kennedy Space Center" pay tribute to the launch site of each of the Space Shuttle Program's 135 missions.
The logo will appear on monument signage at the entry, on a variety of retail merchandise, on marketing and promotional materials, and complements the new Space Shuttle Atlantis in inspiring future space explorers.
Next month marks another milestone in the exhibit's construction, with the beginning of the installation of a full-scale external tank and two solid rocket boosters at the entry to Space Shuttle Atlantis. These components of the space shuttle "stack" will serve as a grand gateway, with guests walking beneath the massive orange external tank, which will be suspended 24 feet above the ground, mounted between the two solid rocket boosters and reaching 185 feet 11/16 inches tall into the air. Installation of the entryway structure will be completed in June.
Construction continues on schedule inside the exhibit as well.
In May, Atlantis will be unwrapped from the shrink wrap that was applied in November to protect it from construction dust and debris. The payload bay doors will be opened, showing a full-scale model of the Hubble Space Telescope.
This view, with Atlantis rotated 43 degrees, showcases the shuttle on an angle as if it were in space, as only the astronauts from its 33 missions have had a chance to see from the International Space Station. Atlantis' Canadarm (robotic arm) also will be extended.
For more information about Kennedy Space Center Complex, visit www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.