NASA officials announced that Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has been selected to permanently display space shuttle Atlantis upon retirement of the Space Shuttle Program. Atlantis, one of three orbiters in the space shuttle fleet, will fly the last scheduled space shuttle mission before being retired in 2011.
“This is a proud moment for space shuttle workers, Brevard County and Florida, ” said Bill Moore, Chief Operating Officer of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, upon news of the announcement. “We are honored to be entrusted with space shuttle Atlantis, to preserve this remarkable national treasure and share the space shuttle story with millions of visitors from around the world.”
The $100 million exhibit for Atlantis will be the marquee element of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex’s 10-year master plan. Initial design concepts for the 65, 000 square-foot home for the space-flown orbiter include viewing the space shuttle “in flight, ” showing how the spacecraft worked in space and providing a unique vantage point for guests to look at the complex vehicle up close. Complementing the orbiter display will be interactive features reflecting major accomplishments of the Space Shuttle Program, including the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station.
About the orbiter home, Moore stated, “Plans are underway to create a home for Atlantis that is as much about the thousands of people who have worked on the Space Shuttle Program as the space shuttle itself. Guests will be close enough to almost touch this real space flown orbiter.”
Officials with Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex plan to break ground on Atlantis’ new home in 2012 with a grand opening planned for 2013. The orbiter home will be located in the Shuttle Plaza at the main Visitor Complex; incorporating the Shuttle Launch Experience attraction.
About Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is located just east of Orlando and is the gateway to a working space center and one of Florida’s most popular destinations. It’s a 70-acre arena of inspirational, educational and entertaining experiences. More than 1.5 million visitors annually tour Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex opens at 9 a.m. Closing times vary by season. The Visitor Complex is open daily except December 25 and certain launch days. Admission includes the Kennedy Space Center Tour, Shuttle Launch Experience, 3D IMAX® space films, Astronaut Encounter, STAR TREKTM LIVE, 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. Parking, wheelchairs, strollers and pet kennels are free of charge. Admission is $43 + tax for adults and $33 + tax for children ages 3-11. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Commander’s Club Annual Pass is $56 + tax for adults and $46 + tax for children ages 3-11.
About Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts
Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts is a subsidiary of Delaware North Companies, a leading hospitality provider with significant experience in hotel, retail, food service, recreation and transportation operations. The company’s portfolio includes historic properties in North America, such as Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex; Yosemite, Sequoia, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon national parks; Tenaya Lodge and Apple Tree Inn; Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa; Niagara Falls State Park; The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake; Gideon Putnam Resort; and three recently acquired hotels in West Yellowstone.