KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (Nov. 2, 2012) – Beginning Saturday and continuing through Nov. 11, visitors to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will have a limited opportunity to see Space Shuttle Atlantis inside its new home.
Atlantis was set to arrive today at the visitor complex from Kennedy Space Center and begin its new mission as the dramatically displayed centerpiece of a $100 million exhibit scheduled to open in July 2013. Atlantis is scheduled to be moved inside the 90,000-square-foot exhibit building, which has been under construction since January.
Guests will be able to “Sneak-a-Peek” at the orbiter as part of regular admission to the visitor complex.
Construction will pause on weekends and weekday afternoons to allow visitors to have an up-close and personal look at Atlantis. A Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex tour guide will escort guests through the construction zone, provide information about the orbiter’s new home, and allow guests to take pictures and pose within the secured area.
“We are excited to offer this rare opportunity for Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex patrons,” said Bill Moore, chief operating officer of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. “We know they will cherish seeing Atlantis in this unique setting before construction is completed and the exhibit is unveiled to the world next July.”
The “Sneak-a-Peek” tour of Atlantis in its new exhibit building will be offered:
- Nov. 3, 4 – 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Nov. 5 to 9 – 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
- Nov. 10, 11 – 2 p.m. to 5.p.m.
Over the next month, Atlantis will be raised 36 feet off the ground and rotated about 43 degrees so that it will be showcased on an angle as if it were in space – only as the astronauts from its 33 missions have had a chance to see it. When it is displayed, itspayload bay doors will be open and the Canadarm (robotic arm) extended.
Work will resume to enclose Atlantis in the exhibit building by completing construction of the final wall, which is expected by mid-December. Atlantis will be encapsulated in a protective wrap before that work begins.
Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts has operated Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex for NASA since 1995. The Atlantis exhibit was designed by PGAV Destinations, architects headquartered in St. Louis, Mo. The Atlantis exhibit building is being constructed by Whiting-Turner Contracting Company in Orlando. The six-story exhibit is being built adjacent to the existing Shuttle Launch Experience.
A work of art in itself, the exterior of the Atlantis exhibit features two sweeping architectural elements, or “wings” representing the space shuttle’s launch and return. The outer layer of the building, which is being cloaked in iridescent hues of orange and gold, represents the fiery-glow of re-entry. The taller, internal wing of the building is being covered in a shimmering tile pattern in varying tones of gray designed to represent the tiled underside of the orbiter.