Space Shuttle Atlantis opens its doors at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
By Chris Fish
BREVARD -- The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is now home to the most comprehensive and interactive space exhibit in the world.
On June 29, Space Shuttle Atlantis, an attraction devoted to NASA's Space Shuttle Program, opened its doors to the public.
Of the three space-flown orbiters distributed by NASA to science centers and museums throughout the country, officials said that Atlantis is the only exhibit that is a $100 million, 90,000-square-foot attraction that contains four multimedia and cinematic productions and more than 60 interactive experiences that invites guests to "be the astronaut."
"This exhibit examines the entire space program, and it really allows you to get up close and see what (astronauts) see with all of the interactive display," said Nancy Glasgow, a representative from the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. "It's perfect for kids, who want to be astronauts, or parents, who are looking for an experience filled with history of our space program."
At the exhibit, guests can see an actual space shuttle orbiter that flew in space 33 times, still bearing the scars, scorch marks and space dust from its last mission.
The exhibit has been in development for 10 years by Delaware North Companies Park and Resorts and St. Louis-based PGAV Destinations, all in partnership with NASA.
The exhibit is also tilted on its side at a 43.21-degree angle with its payload bay doors open and robotic arm extended, which gives the illusion of it floating in space.
"It's true that there is more than one space shuttle orbiter out there, but there is nowhere else on Earth like Space Shuttle Atlantis," said Bill Moore, chief operating officer of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, in a press release. "This completely immersive experience is about much more than seeing Atlantis close up. With hi-fi replicas, simulators and interactive activities, touching on all aspects of the shuttle program and its accomplishments, including the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station, it's the closet guests can get to living and working in space - short of applying to the Astronaut Corps."
Other attractions at the complex include a cinematic preshow, the Hubble Space Telescope Theater, an international space station gallery and astronaut training simulators.
The space exhibit is opened seasonally with the Visitor Complex.
For more information, hours, or to purchase tickets or an annual pass, call (877) 313-2610 or visit www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.