The Space Shuttle Atlantis recently arrived at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, along with the thousands of visitors and more than 30 former astronauts guiding its way. $100 million 90, 000-square-foot exhibit space to open July 2013.
The orbiter’s new home is part of a 10-year master plan created by St. Louis-based PGAV Destinations. The project is being constructed by Whiting-Turner Contracting Company and managed by Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, which has operated Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on behalf of NASA since 1995.
When completed after 19 months of construction and barely two years after the Atlantis Shuttle’s final mission, the six-story home will feature Atlantis poised as if soaring through space with its payload bay doors open and Canadarm (robotic arm) extended. To help tell the story of its remarkable 33 missions and the 30-year Space Shuttle Program, the orbiter will be surrounded by more than 60 interactive hands on, immersive exhibits designed around STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) learning principles.
Enveloping the exterior of the building will be two sweeping “wings” representing the shuttle’s launch and return. The building will be wrapped in iridescent hues of orange and gold to represent the fiery-glow of re-entry, while a gray, shimmering tile pattern will cloak the internal wing of the building, representing the underside of the orbiter.
Guests will first encounter a full-size upright, replica external tank with two solid rocket boosters at the entrance to the exhibit, immediately conveying the incredible power and mechanical ingenuity necessary to break Earth’s gravity.
“Today marks an incredible milestone in the preservation of one of America’s greatest dreams, ” said PGAV Destinations principal Mike Konzen. “The U.S. Space Shuttle Program idealized and propelled worldwide innovation and imagination for decades, and we are honored to play a key role in the perpetuation of those historic breakthroughs.”
About PGAV Destinations
PGAV Destinations is a global leader in the planning and design of unique destinations. Now in its fifth decade, the practice has evolved to become the ideal destination-consulting partner, skilled at developing growth-oriented master plans and translating those plans into successful projects. No other firm offers such an integrated approach to destination planning.
PGAV’s key clients include industry leaders such as Delaware North Companies, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, the Biltmore Companies, Bass Pro Shops, Ameristar Casinos, Universal Studios, The Gettysburg Foundation, the St. Louis Zoo, and many others. Recent assignments include planning and design at many of the world’s “must see” destinations, including the Grand Canyon, Biltmore Estate, Kennedy Space Center, Hearst Castle, the Georgia Aquarium, the Hoover Dam, and SeaWorld Adventure Parks. www.PGAVDestinations.com
About Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts
Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts is an industry leader, providing Stewardship and Hospitality in Special Places SM with hotel, retail, food service, recreation and transportation operations at historic and scenic properties in North America and Australia. The company operates Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida; in Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Sequoia, Olympic, Shenandoah and Yosemite national parks, including The Ahwahnee and other Yosemite lodges; The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake in Ohio; Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa in British Columbia; Gideon Putnam Resort in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; and in Niagara Falls State Park. The company also owns and operates Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite; the Park Gate Lodges at Yellowstone, which are the West Yellowstone Holiday Inn, Gray Wolf Inn and Suites and Yellowstone Park Hotel, all in West Yellowstone, Mont.; and five luxury resorts in Australia: Lizard Island Resort, Heron Island Resort, Wilson Island Resort, Kings Canyon Resort and El Questro Homestead and Wilderness Park. To learn more about Delaware North Companies’ hospitality management expertise, visit http://www.delawarenorth.com/parks-and-resorts-home.aspx.
About Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex opens daily at 9 a.m. Closing times vary by season. Admission includes the Kennedy Space Center Tour, Shuttle Launch Experience, 3D IMAX® space films, Astronaut Encounter, Exploration Space: Explorers Wanted and all exhibits. Admission also includes the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame®, featuring historic spacecraft and the world’s largest collection of personal astronaut memorabilia, open from noon until 6:00 p.m. daily. Admission is $50 + tax for adults and $40 + tax for children ages 3-11. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Commander’s Club Annual Pass is $63 + tax for adults and $53 + tax for children ages 3-11. For more information, call 877-313-2610 or visit www.KennedySpaceCenter.com