Florida’s Kennedy Space Center has unveiled a new attraction that explores the innovations driving the future of deep space travel. Olivia Palamountain reports
Opened this summer at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center, “Gateway: the Deep Space Launch Complex“, is a complement to the live rocket launch views that take place here and at the neighbouring Cape Canaveral Space Force Station every year.
Designed to immerse guests in the “interstellar travel of tomorrow while celebrating everything happening right now within the space programme,” the attraction features real NASA and commercial spacecraft hardware, a “journey” through space and a unique launch viewing opportunity.
Upon entry, visitors can lose themselves in an impressive range of artefacts and full-scale models of everything from rocket engines to launch equipment and spacesuits, some of which are suspended from the ceiling for extra impact.On the second floor of the exhibition, a “nose-to-nose” view of the SpaceX Falcon 9 booster joins a 30ft, floor-to-ceiling Robotic Space Explorers Interactive Wall where guests can learn about 40 different satellites and probes in space.
Over at the HoloTube presentation station, meanwhile, the high-powered James Webb Space Telescope is brought to life through holographic imagery and engaging touchscreen displays.
Visitors can also transport themselves to an imaginary airport of the future at Spaceport KSC, where views of active launches and landings will be made visible through “galactic spaceport windows.” The best bit? There’s also the opportunity to board a “spaceship” simulation created from two-storey motion cinemas that offer four distinct journeys: Cosmic Wonders, Daring Explorers, Red Planet and Uncharted Worlds.
When you’re done cruising the galaxy, there’s the chance to interact with someone who’s actually been to space. The compelling Chat With An Astronaut experience is exactly that – the chance to hang out with the “Astronaut of the Day” in a casual, small group setting, offering plenty of time to chat about what it’s really like to live and work in space.
Chat With An Astronaut is offered twice daily at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, at 10am and 2pm.