On June 29, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will open the doors to the world’s most comprehensive and interactive attraction devoted to NASA’s 30-year Space Shuttle Program –Space Shuttle Atlantis.SM
More than 40 NASA astronauts are expected to participate in the grand opening, many of whom will be making appearances and signing autographs throughout the Visitor Complex. The festivities also include more than 20 special NASA exhibits throughout the Visitor Complex.
Scheduled to speak are NASA administrator Charles Bolden, Kennedy Space Center director Bob Cabana, Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts president Rick Abramson and Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex chief operating officer, Bill Moore.
Space Shuttle Atlantis grand opening festivities begin at 9:30 a.m. and are open to Visitor Complex guests with regular paid admission and are free for Commander’s Club annual pass holders.
Of the three space-flown orbiters distributed by NASA to science centers and museums throughout the country, only Atlantis is the focal point of a $100 million, 90,000-square-foot attraction containing four multimedia and cinematic productions and more than 60 interactive experiences that invite guests to “be the astronaut” and to celebrate the people, passion and patriotism behind the shuttle program.
Only at Space Shuttle Atlantis can guests come literally nose to nose with an actual space shuttle orbiter that flew in space 33 times and still bears the scars, scorch marks and space dust of its last mission. Only at Space Shuttle Atlantis can guests get a nearly 360-degree view of Atlantis as only astronauts have seen it before, tilted on its side at a 43.21-degree angle, seeming to float in space with its payload bay doors open and its robotic arm extended, as if it has just undocked from the International Space Station (ISS). And only at Kennedy Space Center can guests say they saw a shuttle at the home of human spaceflight, where all 135 space shuttle missions from 1981 to 2011 were launched and processed.
Developed by Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, operators of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex for NASA since 1995, as well as St. Louis-based PGAV Destinations, in partnership with NASA,Space Shuttle Atlantis is the marquee element in a 10-year master plan for the Visitor Complex. Here, top-of-the-line audio/visual and show systems, theme park technology seen in Orlando’s newest and most popular attractions, seldom seen NASA images and footage, and reality-based astronaut training simulations combine to create a first-of-its-kind attraction.
“It’s true that there is more than one space shuttle orbiter out there, but there is nowhere else on Earth like Space Shuttle Atlantis,” said Bill Moore, chief operating officer of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. “This completely immersive experience is about much more than seeing Atlantis close up. With hi-fi replicas, simulators and interactive activities touching on all aspects of the shuttle program and its accomplishments, including the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station, it’s the closest guests can get to living and working in space – short of applying to the astronaut corps.”
Space Shuttle Atlantis is the centerpiece of the 10-year master plan developed by Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, operator of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex for NASA since 1995. The Visitor Complex is not funded through tax dollars or appropriated funds. Operation, maintenance and development are funded through revenue generated by ticket, food and merchandise sales. Space Shuttle Atlantis is the culmination of years of development by Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts and St. Louis-based PGAV Destinations, in partnership with NASA. The attraction is included in regular admission to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
About Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex brings to life the epic story of the U.S. space program, offering a full day or more of fun and educational activities, including the Kennedy Space Center Tour featuring the Apollo/Saturn V Center with an actual Saturn V moon rocket, the new Angry Birds™ Space Encounter, Shuttle Launch Experience, 3D IMAX® space films, Astronaut Encounter, Exploration Space: Explorers Wanted and many other interactive exhibits. Admission also includes the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame®, featuring historic spacecraft and the world’s largest collection of personal astronaut memorabilia, which opens daily at noon and closing times vary by season. Only 45 minutes from Orlando, Fla., Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex opens daily at 9 a.m. with closing times varying by season. Admission is $50 + tax for adults and $40 + tax for children ages 3-11.
In honor of the Year of Atlantis, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Commander’s Club Annual Pass is on sale for a limited time at a discounted rate of $55 + tax for adults and $45 + tax for children ages 3-11 when purchased online or by phone only. Regular price of $63 + tax for adults and $53 + tax for children ages 3-11 applies for all gate purchases. For more information or to purchase tickets or an annual pass, call 877-313-2610 or visit www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.