Skip to content

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Announces Date for Atlantis Opening

February 22, 2013

By Cynthia Herbert :: 6:43 AM

Atlantis Kennedy Space Center exhibit.The visitor center at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center marked a major milestone yesterday in its construction of the 90,000-square-foot, $100 million home for space shuttle Atlantis by announcing the grand opening date of June 29, 2013.

Atlantis’ new home will showcase the retired shuttle as if it were in space—raised 30 feet off the ground and rotated at 43 degrees, and also will tell the story of the history of the entire shuttle program, and how it paved the way for today’s new space programs and the future of space exploration.

Sixty interactive exhibits and simulators will provide visitors with a new perspective on the shuttle’s complex systems, components and capabilities.

“We are so proud to partner with NASA to build the only place in the world to experience the remarkable voyage of Atlantis – one of the most storied spacecrafts in the U.S. space program. Without question, Kennedy Space Center is the best place to experience, learn about and be inspired by space exploration – past, present and future. With the addition of Space Shuttle Atlantis to the world-class Visitor Complex, visitors can now experience a space shuttle in “flight” – which is truly an engineering marvel,” said Rick Abramson , who was president and chief operating officer of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

Next month marks another milestone in the exhibit’s construction with the beginning of the installation of a full-scale external tank and two solid rocket boosters at the entry to the new Atlantis structure. These components of the space shuttle “stack” will serve as a grand entryway, with guests walking beneath the massive orange external tank, which will be suspended 24 feet above the ground, mounted between the two solid rocket boosters and reaching 185 feet into the air. Installation of the entryway structure will be completed by June.

Construction will continue on schedule inside the exhibit as well. In May, Atlantis will be unwrapped from the shrink wrap protective coating that was applied in November to protect it from construction dust and debris. The payload bay doors will be opened and a full-scale model of the Hubble Space Telescope will be installed. This view, with Atlantis rotated at a 43 degree angle, showcases the shuttle on the same angle as if it were in space, as only the astronauts from its 33 missions have had a chance to see from the International Space Station. Atlantis’ Canadarm (robotic arm) also will be extended in the exhibit.


Filed under → Social Media, Space