Kennedy Space Center broke ground on the future home of the space shuttle Atlantis to be located at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to permanently display the space shuttle in April 2011. The exhibit will provide guests an extraordinary and unique opportunity to view Atlantis up close and “in flight.” Guests will learn how the spacecraft worked in space as well as the story of the 30-year Space Shuttle Program, through a number of hands on, interactive and immersive mediums.
The exterior of the Atlantis exhibit will be comprised of two sweeping architectural elements, or “wings” representing the space shuttle’s launch and return. The outer layer of the building will be cloaked in iridescent hues of orange and gold, representing the fiery-glow of reentry. The taller, internal wing of the building will be covered in a shimmering tile pattern in varying tones of gray, designed to represent the tiled underside of the orbiter.
At the entrance to the exhibit, guests will be greeted by a full-size, upright, replica external tank and two solid rocket boosters. On the opposite side of the tank and booster assembly, a silhouette of the orbiter is attached to illustrate its exact size and placement. A 184-foot-tall space shuttle stack will give visitors a true sense of the massive size and awesome power used to thrust the space shuttle into low-earth orbit. Atlantis will be shown with payload bay doors open and the Canadarm extended. In the distance, a sliver of sunrise is revealed as the orbiter emerges from the far side of its 90-minute orbit around the earth.
“This is an incredible day for our nation’s space program,” stated Bill Moore, Chief Operating Officer, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, at the groundbreaking ceremony with a host of dignitaries, including space and tourism industry representatives, and astronauts.
“Today marks the start of a new era in which this magnificent ship, Atlantis, which has traveled to space and back an astounding 33 times, will remain docked in her home port, displayed in all her glory with a new mission to uphold — to inspire a new generation of space explorers who will take us to even greater heights. We are extremely proud and excited to break ground today on what will be the crown jewel of our 10-year master plan for Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.”
The grand opening of the showcase facility is slated for summer 2013. Destinations is a global leader in the planning and design of unique destinations. The firm uniquely combines award-winning storytelling and creativity with business strategy to create some of the world’s most important cultural, heritage, and natural destinations...Now in its fifth decade, the firm has authored hundreds of highly successful projects in places such as SeaWorld, the Grand Canyon, Biltmore Estate, The Gettysburg Battlefield, the Georgia Aquarium, Kennedy Space Center, and Busch Gardens. http://www.pgavdestinations.com
About Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts
Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts is a subsidiary of Delaware North Companies, a leading hospitality provider with significant experience in hotel, retail, food service, recreation and transportation operations. The company's portfolio includes historic properties in North America, such as Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex; Yosemite, Sequoia, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon national parks; Tenaya Lodge and Apple Tree Inn; Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa; Niagara Falls State Park; The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake; Gideon Putnam Resort; and three recently acquired hotels in West Yellowstone. To learn more about Delaware North Companies' expertise in the hospitality industry, visit http://www.experiencednc.com
About Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex opens at 9 a.m...The Visitor Complex is open daily except December 25 and certain launch days. Astronaut Encounter, Exploration Space: Explorers Wanted and all exhibits...Astronaut Hall of Fame®, featuring historic spacecraft and the world's largest collection of personal astronaut memorabilia, open from noon until 6:00 p.m. daily. Parking, wheelchairs, strollers and pet kennels are free of charge. Admission is $43 + tax for adults and $33 + tax for children ages 3-11. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Commander's Club Annual Pass is $56 + tax for adults and $46 + tax for children ages 3-11. For more information, call 877-313-2610 or visit http://www.KennedySpaceCenter.com
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