With the NASA’s Space Shuttle Program coming to a close, there are a number of museums scrambling to get a retired shuttle. In hopes to be selected, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center has designed new plans for their Visitor Complex. The centerpiece of the plans is a $100 million retired space shuttle exhibit. The overarching goal of the plans is to show guests the connection between NASA and their everyday lives.
The initial design concepts include viewing the space shuttle in flight and showing how it worked in space. In addition to the 64,000 square-foot space shuttle exhibit, the plans also include immersive thematic zones, other interactive exhibits, and live presentations by astronauts and workers.
Seeing the test shuttle, known as the Enterprise, was the highlight of my visit to the Udvar-Hazy annex of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Even after almost thirty years in operation, space shuttles are still a marvel to look at up close. I would have to believe that the Kennedy Space Center has the inside track in acquiring a shuttle. As Bill Moore, Chief Operating Officer of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex said, “Kennedy Space Center is home to the space shuttle; all of the 132 missions have launched from here.” I can’t think of a stronger case for a museum to become a home to one of the three shuttles.