Space Shuttle Atlantis

Space Shuttle Atlantis Becomes Centerpiece Of $100 Million Tourist Attraction

Space shuttle Atlantis was the last orbiter among NASA’s winged fleet to be retired, and now it is the centerpiece of a $100 million tourist attraction in Florida.

Space Shuttle Atlantis is a 90,000-square foot exhibit that was unveiled on Saturday. Astronauts from the space craft’s 33 flights joined officials at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

According to Charles Bolden, NASA administrator and commander of Atlantis’ 11th mission, STS-45:

“There are not a lot of places where you are going to be able to get as a close to an orbiter as you are going to be able to get when you get inside the Atlantis exhibit here.”

The exhibit includes a five-story building for which Atlantis is mounted 30 feet above the ground and angled at 43.21 degrees to one side. The exhibit’s creators opened the shuttle’s payload bay doors and attached a detailed replica of its robotic arm. The robotic arm reaches over the heads of visitors to provide a unique experience.

To highlight the space shuttle Atlantis, workers installed theatrical lighting and an animated digital backdrop that makes Atlantis look like it is back in space and orbiting Earth.

Bolden adds:

“There’s nowhere else in the world that you will be able to see an orbiter that looks the way it looks when it’s in flight in space. That is a very, very, very unique opportunity to see it in a unique configuration.”

Here’s a video that shows off the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit:

With new types of spacecraft now being built by NASA, SpaceX, and other space agencies around the world, the new Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit really is a truly unique experience.

The space shuttle Atlantis docked with the International Space Station for its last mission on July 10, 2011.

Do you think Space Shuttle Atlantis is worth a trip to Florida?

[Image via Space.com]

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