Space Shuttle Now Officially A Tourist Attraction

space shuttle

Space Shuttle Atlantis arrived this week at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to begin life as the star of a $100 million exhibit called the Shuttle Launch Experience, expected to open in July 2013. It was the historic final journey of a space shuttle orbiter, signaling the beginning of life after space for the shuttle fleet.

“We think visitors to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will be awed and inspired by how they will see and experience Atlantis,” said Bill Moore, chief operating officer of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in a statement.

Atlantis completed its historic final journey led by 30 former astronauts who joined the orbiter for the final leg of the trip. Parked in front of the last open wall of the 90,000-square-foot exhibit building, Atlantis will be encapsulated in a protective wrap while that wall is completed.

Once inside the visitor’s complex, Atlantis will be raised 36 feet off the ground then rotated about 43 degrees to mimic spaceflight. On display, its payload bay doors will be open and the robotic arm extended.

Along with Atlantis, the Shuttle Launch Experience will have over 60 interactive, immersive exhibits about the entire shuttle program including a 363-foot-long Apollo/Saturn V rocket and other unique space artifacts.

At the entrance to the Shuttle Launch Experience, guests will walk past a full-size external fuel tank and two solid rocket boosters. Strategically positioned, a silhouette of the orbiter is attached to show guests the exact size and placement of the 184-foot-tall space shuttle.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex opens daily at 9 a.m. Admission includes the Kennedy Space Center Tour, the new Shuttle Launch Experience, 3-D IMAX space films, Astronaut Encounter, Exploration Space: Explorers Wanted and the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, featuring historic spacecraft and personal astronaut memorabilia. For more information, call 877-313-2610 or visit www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.

Right now and through November 12, the space center is offering a sneak peek, up-close and personal look at Atlantis as part of any tour. During scheduled times, a Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex tour guide will take guests through the construction zone and allow guests to take pictures and pose within the secured area.

NASA has spread around the tourism wealth by positioning remaining orbiters around the country. Enterprise is at the Sea-Air-Space Museum in New York City, Discovery is at
Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Virginia and Endeavour is at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, California.




[Photo Credit: NASA photo]

Photo Of The Day: Endeavour In San Francisco

photo of the day

This Photo of the Day, “Endeavour in SF – see you in LA!” comes from Gadling Flickr pool member jrodmanjr and is taken with a Canon EOS 7D.

In 19 years of service, Endeavour went on 25 missions, carried 133 astronauts, spent 299 days in space and traveled 122,883,151 miles. Captured here by jrodmanjr is the shuttle’s last journey, which began Monday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and will end at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. Seen here, space shuttle Endeavour passes over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Upload your best shots to the Gadling Group Pool on Flickr. Several times a week we choose our favorite images from the pool as Photos of the Day.

Tips for getting featured: include the camera you used along with any other equipment or processing software that might help other photographers know more about your image. Also, captions mean a lot when the image is not one that is easily recognizable … not a problem here for jrodmanjr.

Space Attractions Down To Earth In California

space


Space Shuttle Endeavor
arrives at the California Science Center soon and space exploration is on the minds of local and visiting space travel fans. Visitors to Los Angeles can see a variety of historical and futuristic space exhibitions and attractions within driving distance from LAX. California residents and visitors alike are rediscovering the state’s rich space-oriented past along with current places of interest that are helping charge the U.S. space program of tomorrow.

Let’s take a look at what California has to offer travelers interested in space-themed points of interest:

Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) (Pasadena) has played a major role in U.S. space exploration achievements and offers free two-hour tours of its Pasadena facility. Right now, NASA’s Mars Curiosity team is performing robotic arm tests in preparation for the rover to touch and examine its first Martian rock.

Griffith Observatory
(Los Angeles) reopened in 2007 after a four-year, $93 million renovation. The 9,000-pound Zeiss Telescope can accommodate as many as 600 viewings per night, giving visitors an unmatched view of the moon and stars on a clear Los Angeles night.

Columbia Memorial Space Center (Downey) is the national memorial for the Space Shuttle Columbia’s seven crew members, lost in 2003 but also a hands-on learning center, dedicated to bringing the wonder and excitement of space science to children of all ages.

Discovery Museum Science & Space Center (Sacramento) is home to the Challenger Learning Center and houses an animal discovery room, nature trails, wildlife pond and Sacramento’s only public planetarium. Weekend activities include animal presentations for all ages, make and take crafts, and planetarium shows.Kidspace Children’s Museum (Pasadena) has more than two-dozen interactive exhibits designed for children from ages 1 to 10. At the Museum’s Gavin Physics Forest, kids can learn first hand about what it takes to get an object into space by creating mini-bottle rockets and study gravitational acceleration with the Ball Bounce exhibit.

Space Mountain– No list of California space attractions would be complete without Disneyland’s Space Mountain, the high-speed thrill ride that has hurtled visitors into the final fun frontier since 1977.


Flickr photo by Lance Cheung