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NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Set to Go Vertical with Shuttle Launch Experience

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (April 4, 2007) – It’s 3…2…1…launch as NASA’s Visitor Complex at Kennedy Space Center announces the Memorial Day weekend opening of Shuttle Launch Experience.  This new $60 million launch simulation will open May 25, 2007, taking visitors on their own vibrant journey of the Space Shuttle’s rush to Earth’s orbit.  Under the guidance of NASA and veteran Space Shuttle astronauts, this unique-in-the-world experience immerses visitors in the sights, sounds and sensations of launching into space fully vertical.
Shuttle Launch Experience, three years in the making, will send visitors through the sensations of launching into Earth’s orbit from the birthplace of U.S. space exploration – Kennedy Space Center.  The design team, NASA astronauts and renowned attraction experts created this authentic experience, deploying sophisticated motion technology, special effects seats and high fidelity visual and audio presentations.  
Shuttle Launch Experience will forge a lasting impression for everyone, especially those who have seen the power of a Space Shuttle launch and imagined the adventure of flying in the most complex machine ever made,” said Daniel LeBlanc, Chief Operating Officer of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.  “Not only will guests experience the thrill of launching into space, they will marvel at the view of Earth from space, through state-of-the-art digital technology.”
Shuttle Launch Experience combines the detailed accounts of astronaut experiences with the expertise of premiere design engineers to produce an experience unique to attractions around the world.  The technical highlights include an all-to-real simulation of the space shuttle’s eight and a half minute ascent into orbit, custom-designed crew cabins with unprecedented vertical range, high-definition audiovisual effects, and advanced seating effects to maximize the reality of the experience. 
The journey begins as visitors enter the Shuttle Launch Simulation Facility, architecturally consistent with Space Shuttle facilities at Kennedy Space Center.  Visitors ascend along the gantry as astronaut testimonials set the stage for what is to come.  Entering the heart of Space Shuttle operations for the pre-launch briefing, crew members are guided by veteran Space Shuttle Commander Charlie Bolden as he takes them step-by-step through the launch sequence.  They then enter the crew cabin in the Space Shuttle’s payload bay and strap in for launch.  For the next five minutes, the cabin’s 44 passengers see, feel and live the powerful journey to 17,500 mph. Achieving orbit, the payload bay doors open to reveal a breathtaking view of Earth seldom seen in the first person.
Along with the NASA and Delaware North Parks & Resorts team, operators of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, attraction experts have designed and engineered Shuttle Launch Experience into the most realistic launch simulation ever created.  Shuttle Launch Experience is designed by BRC Imagination Arts, who also designed the Apollo/Saturn V Center which opened in 1997 at the Visitor Complex.  BRPH Companies Inc. serves as the architect and construction manager.  The crew cabin simulator fabrication is by Oceaneering and the crew cabin concept designer and engineer is The Wheel Thing, Inc.  Technomedia Solutions is providing audio, visual and show control.  HW Davis Construction is the general contractor of the facility.
About Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
Inspired by real NASA initiatives and fueled by the human spirit, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is charting a new course to bring far-reaching NASA exploration events and triumphs to visitors – up close and personal.  The journey takes NASA’s space exploration story to the next level through new technology and interactive experiences.  Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has been operated by Delaware North Parks & Resorts, Inc. on behalf of NASA since 1995.  More than 1.4 million visitors annually tour Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, the gateway to a working space center and one of Florida’s most popular destinations.  Admission includes Shuttle Launch Experience, inspiring tours of NASA’s spaceport facilities, daily Astronaut Encounters, towering rockets, IMAX® space films and the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame®.  For more information, call 321-449-4444 or visit
DelawareNorthCompaniesParks & Resorts at Kennedy Space Center, Inc.
Mail Code: DNPS
Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899
Telephone: 321-449-4318
Editors Note: Renderings, photography and other images are available upon request.