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The world's most comprehensive attraction devoted to the space shuttle, Space Shuttle Atlantis at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, is much more than a permanent home for the priceless Atlantis spacecraft.
This $100 million attraction, opening June 29, will shine the spotlight on NASA's 30-year Space Shuttle Program and its accomplishments, most notably the deployment and servicing missions for the Hubble Space Telescope and the launch and assembly of the International Space Station.
The new Space Shuttle Atlantis attraction tells the stories of the Hubble Space Telescope's successes and setbacks with an entire area - including a full-size, high-fidelity replica - devoted to the first of NASA's great observatories.
The replica measures 43 feet long - more than a full-size school bus - and 14 feet in diameter. Its fully deployed solar arrays extend an additional seven feet on each side.
The look of Hubble has changed over the years, so the replica was designed to portray Hubble, as it looks today in space, capturing surface details, as small as a few inches in size.
A nine-minute cinematic presentation in the 40-seat Hubble Space Telescope Theater tells the dramatic story of Hubble's triumph over technical issues, including flaws in its mirrors and other broken or outdated equipment, during its 23 years in space.
Side-by-side at the new attraction, the Hubble replica and Atlantis - the last shuttle ever to make contact with the space observatory - remind guests of the vast unknowns that remain to be explored in NASA's next great space program.
It was on STS-31, in Space Shuttle Discovery's payload bay, that the Hubble Space Telescope, NASA's hope for "a window to the vast unknown" was first ferried into space on April 24, 1990, to be deployed one day later. Five servicing missions spanned 16 years.
Since Hubble's deployment in 1990, the space shuttle has launched two more of NASA's four great observatories, including the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory in 1991 and the Chandra X-ray Observatory in 1999. The Spitzer Space Telescope was launched aboard a Delta rocket in 2003.
The world's most comprehensive attraction devoted to the space shuttle, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex's new Space Shuttle Atlantis brings visitors nose-to-nose with Atlantis, as only astronauts have seen it before - with payload bay doors open, as if it were floating in space.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex brings to life the epic story of the U.S. space program, offering a full day or more of fun and educational activities, including the Kennedy Space Center Tour featuring the Apollo/Saturn V Center with an actual Saturn V moon rocket, the new Angry Birds Space Encounter, Shuttle Launch Experience, 3D IMAX space films, Astronaut Encounter, Exploration Space: Explorers Wanted and many other interactive exhibits.
The new $100 million home for Space Shuttle Atlantis opens June 29.
For more information, call (877) 313-2610 or visit www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.