A legendary F-104 Starfighter flyby kicked off the grand opening of Gateway™: The Deep Space Launch Complex at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Confetti and sparks flew as Jerry Jacobs, Jr., CEO, Delaware North, Janet Petro, director, Kennedy Space Center and Therrin Protze, COO, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, pushed a ceremonial red button to officially welcome guests and invite them to a first glimpse inside the new, 50,000-square-foot attraction.
With a focus on the present and future of collaborative space exploration, guests to Gateway can experience the interstellar travel of tomorrow while celebrating everything happening right now within the space program. Through immersive education, atmospheric effects and a motion theater experience, guests see, hear and feel what it’s like to travel in space. It features a showcase of NASA and commercial spacecraft hardware as well as the spaceport of the future, Spaceport KSC.
“Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex is a bold new attraction where guests will personally experience NASA’s next giant leap and beyond, highlighting all the excitement within the space industry,” said Protze.
- Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10 Upper-stage Rocket Engine
- Boeing Starliner Simulator (scale model)
- Lockheed Martin Space Habitat (scale mockup)
- Orion Exploration Flight Test-1 Capsule (flight flown)
- Sierra Space Dream Chaser (full-scale model)
- SpaceX Cargo Dragon COTS-2 (flight flown)
- SpaceX Falcon 9 booster (flight flown)
- ULA Delta IV Heavy rocket (scale model)
- ULA Vulcan rocket (scale model)
In addition to offering a “nose-to-nose” view of the SpaceX Falcon 9 booster, Gateway’s second floor features a 30-foot, floor-to-ceiling Robotic Space Explorers Interactive Wall touchscreen display where guests can learn about 40 different satellites and probes in space. A HoloTube presentation station teaches about the high-powered James Webb Space Telescope through holographic imagery, video and animation via a touchscreen kiosk.
At Spaceport KSC, guests are transported to an airport of the future, hearing the atmospheric airport chatter and seeing distant views of active launches and landings through galactic spaceport windows. The main concourse showcases destination, departure and arrival information. Guests then board “spaceships” – in the form of a two-story, motion theater – for one of four journeys: Cosmic Wonders, Daring Explorers, Red Planet or Uncharted Worlds. Each distinct destination allows for the possibility of a different experience with each visit.
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