One of the biggest thrills a space tourist can experience – not counting those tourists either financially well-off enough or lucky enough to find themselves actually launched into space – unfolds every few minutes at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida.
After watching a brief documentary, visitors are suddenly – and dramatically – presented with a sweeping view of the space shuttle orbiter Atlantis. As far as generating a goosebump-inducing experience, the revelation of Atlantis has been pretty much unrivaled.
Next week groundbreaking will take place on a new home for Atlantis’ sister orbiter, Endeavour.
In September 2012 the decommissioned and safed Endeavour arrived in California for transport to its new home, the California Science Center in Los Angeles. Since going on display shortly thereafter, Endeavour has been visited by thousands who have seen the orbiter horizontal in a temporary pavilion. But bigger plans are at last coming to fruition.
The Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center will be constructed adjacent to the California Science Center. The construction, estimated to take approximately three years, will result in a stunning presentation of Endeavour standing vertical as though ready for liftoff, mated to the last surviving space shuttle external tank and two solid rocket boosters (with, of course, propellants removed).
Having stood beneath Atlantis on the launch pad just before the STS-135 mission completed the space shuttle program, I can attest to the awe-inspiring nature of witnessing the full stack of the space shuttle system towering overhead. This new museum setting will be an appropriate depiction of one of mankind’s most amazing technical developments and will doubtless leave visitors with unforgettable memories.
Groundbreaking for the new space center is scheduled for June 1, with much additional information on Endeavour’s new home to come in the wake of the ceremony. Visits the California Science Center website to learn the latest: