Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex lands at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
Written by Kristen Schmutz
Belden Communications News
A grand opening ceremony took place at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Wednesday, June 15, for the newest attraction known as Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex, with a flyby kickoff from a legendary F-104 Starfighter. Confetti and sparks flew as Jerry Jacobs, Jr., CEO of Delaware North, Janet Petro, Director of Kennedy Space Center, and Therrin Protze, COO of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, pushed a ceremonial red button officially welcoming guests to venture inside the new, 50,000-square-foot attraction.
According to a release, 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, featuring a showcase of NASA and commercial spacecraft hardware and the spaceport of the future, titled Spaceport KSC.
Spaceport KSC transports guests to an airport of the future, complete with the atmospheric airport chatter and distant views of active launches and landings through galactic spaceport windows. The main concourse showcases destination, departure, and arrival information while guests 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.
“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.
Highlights of the new attraction include:
- 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)
- A “nose-to-nose” view of the SpaceX Falcon 9 booster
- A 30-foot, floor-to-ceiling Robotic Space Explorers Interactive Wall touchscreen display
- A HoloTube presentation station
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex brings to life the epic story of the U.S. space program, offering a full day or more of fun, inspiration, and educational activities. Just 45 minutes from Orlando, Fla., Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is open daily in 2022 from 9 a.m., with closing times varying by season.
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