Another milestone was marked for NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on January 18, 2012 when ground was broken for the future home of the space shuttle Atlantis.
The $100 million, 65,000 square-foot Atlantis exhibit will be the marquee element of the Kennedy Visitor Complex’s 10-year master plan proposed by Delaware North Parks & Resorts, which has operated Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida for NASA since 1995.
A work of art in itself, the exterior of the Atlantis exhibit will be comprised of two sweeping architectural elements, or wings, representing the space shuttle’s launch and return. The outer layer of the building, which will be cloaked in iridescent hues of orange and gold, represents the fiery-glow of reentry. The taller, internal wing of the building will be covered in a shimmering tile pattern in varying tones of gray designed to represent the tiled underside of the orbiter.
Further details concerning the $100M exhibit will be revealed in phases as the project continues toward its opening date of summer 2013. The six-story exhibit will be located in the Shuttle Plaza adjacent to the existing Shuttle Launch Experience.
One of just three of America’s remaining space-flown orbiters, Atlantis will be shown with payload bay doors open and the Canadarm extended. In the distance, a sliver of sunrise is revealed as the orbiter emerges from the far side of its 90-minute orbit around the earth.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex CEO Bill Moore stated that January 18 was an incredible day for the nation’s program, marking the start of a new era in which the magnificent ship, Atlantis, which traveled to space and back 33 times, will be docked in her home port to inspire a new generation of space explorers to take them to even greater heights.
Moore stated that the ground breaking was but the crown jewel of their 10-year master plan for Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
Although only a brief overview of the plans for the Atlantis exhibit were revealed at the groundbreaking ceremony, design will be by PGAV Destinations, architects headquartered in St. Louis, Mo., and will be built by Whiting-Turner Contracting Company in Orlando. Further details on the future site of Atlantis can be found at Kennedy Space Center’s site.
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