An attraction that has been years in the making was cleared for takeoff this week at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (KSCVC) in Florida.
Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex formally opened to the public Wednesday with a grand opening ceremony attended by Delaware North CEO Jerry Jacobs Jr., KSCVC Chief Operating Officer Therrin Protze and Janet Petro, director of NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center, along with invited guests, partners and local dignitaries.
With a focus on the present and future of collaborative space exploration, guests to Gateway can experience the interstellar travel of tomorrow while celebrating everything happening right now within the space program. It features a showcase of NASA and commercial spacecraft hardware with immersive displays, as well as a “journey” through space and more.
“We have always viewed our role here at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex as telling the NASA story,” Jacobs said at the grand-opening celebration. “And not just telling the story but bringing the epic story of the U.S. space program to life. The past, the present and the future.

“‘Space Tourism’ used to be a science fiction concept, but the evolution of technology has made it a reality,” Jacobs continued. “Gateway is designed to allow guests to imagine the space travel of the future, while celebrating what is happening right now in the space program and space exploration.”

The 50,000-square-foot attraction is the latest addition to KSCVC, which Delaware North has operated for NASA since 1995.

“From the Rocket Garden right outside these doors to Atlantis right behind this building, our Visitor Complex paints a picture of the rich history of human space flight.” Petro said, also thanking Delaware North for its development of Gateway and work to continuously enhance KSCVC. “But what’s so special about this attraction is that we are giving the public a front row seat as the next chapter—the future—is being written.”

A video of the ceremony can be seen here. Afterward, hundreds of visitors who had lined up at the main entrance prior to KSCVC’s 9 a.m. opening streamed into the new attraction.

Featuring a comprehensive collection of modern-day spacecraft, Gateway gives guests the chance to see the airport of the future and experience the future of space travel in ways never before possible. Through immersive education, atmospheric effects and a motion theater, guests see, hear and feel what it’s like to travel in space.

Gateway is a bold new attraction where guests will personally experience NASA’s next giant leap and beyond, highlighting all the excitement within the space industry,” Protze said. “Guests can peek at the future of space travel with Spaceport KSC, an immersive experience with multiple journeys along which to travel and learn through a thrilling simulated space flight.”

The striking façade of the Gateway building is designed to capture attention and spark imagination even before entering. The outside walls are accented with iridescent panels of bright turquoise that alternate with shades of purple, replicating the constant motion and brilliant colors of the universe.
Upon entering Gateway, “space travelers” are greeted with a futuristic design setting the stage for their journey. Visitors are surrounded by actual flight flown artifacts and full-scale models, placed around the floor and suspended from above to allow 360-degree viewing and interaction.
In addition to offering a “nose-to-nose” view of the SpaceX Falcon 9 booster, Gateway’s second floor features a 30-foot, floor-to-ceiling Robotic Space Explorers Interactive Wall with interactive, touchscreen displays, where guests can learn about 40 different satellites and probes in space.

Guests can also visit the HoloTube presentation station to learn about the high-powered James Webb Space Telescope by manipulating holographic imagery, video and animation through a touchscreen kiosk.
At Spaceport KSC, guests are transported to an airport of the future, hearing the atmospheric airport chatter and seeing distant views of active launches and landings through the galactic spaceport windows.

he main concourse showcases destination, departure and arrival information. Guests then board “spaceships” – in the form of a two-story, motion theater – for one of four journeys: Cosmic Wonders, Daring Explorers, Red Planet or Uncharted Worlds. Each distinct destination allows for the possibility of a different experience with each visit.
Plus, guests can refuel their energy at Space Bowl Bistro, a new restaurant featuring Bistro Bowls, including refreshing acai bowls and choose-your-protein savory bowls.
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