Space Shuttle Atlantis is almost ready to greet visitors at its new permanent display.
Construction is almost completed on the $100 million Atlantis facility as the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex targets an opening for June 29. The 90,000-square-foot home will provide guests a unique vantage point to explore Atlantis up close while telling the story of the 30-year Space Shuttle Program through numerous simulators and hands-on, interactive experiences.
"In many ways it's like a theme park experience. There's a movie theater here behind me, and they've taken a lot from that theme park experience," said Rick Abramson with Delaware North Parks and Resorts, the company which operates the visitor complex for NASA.
The goal is to try and give the public a sense of what Atlantis was all about.
"The fiery entry of the shuttle's return to earth, flame and smoke when it leaves earth... the tiles behind us that symbolize the heat protection that the shuttle had," said Bill Moore, CEO SC Visitor Center.
The facility housing the exhibit is located in the Shuttle Plaza next to the existing Shuttle Launch Experience. At the entrance to the Atlantis exhibit, guests will walk underneath a full-size replica space shuttle external tank flanked by two solid rocket boosters.
This new facility is Designed by PGAV Destinations, architects headquartered in St. Louis, Mo., and being built by Whiting-Turner Contracting Company in Orlando, Florida