NASA is preparing to open a new attraction. If the Kennedy Space Center complex serves as a theme park for a space film set, then its newest Gateway, The Deep Space Launch Complex, is the space agency’s own view of the future.
The new complex will open to visitors on June 15 and invites the public to see what space ports will look like in the future for traveling both into orbit and through the Solar System.
“Gateway is the future for NASA and the space industry. This is what we think the spaceport will look like in the future,” said Terrin Protze, chief operating officer of the Kennedy Space Center complex.
Inside Gateway The Deep Space Launch Complex
Upon entering the Gateway, guests become “space travelers” and immediately find themselves surrounded by authentic flight equipment and full-scale models that are placed on the floor and suspended from above to provide a 360-degree view. The multi-level Gateway with an area of 4600 m2 offers visitors to evaluate museum exhibits and experience a 4D experience – each of the artifacts in the Gateway attracts guests not only with a static image, but also with interactive elements.
Visitors will be able to see firsthand the Aerojet Rocketdyne RL-10 engine in the section, the power plant for the upper stage of the NASA Artemis Space Launch System (SLS) lunar rocket, a mock-up of Deep Space Lockheed Martin, the first SpaceX Dragon capsule that visited the International Space Station and even a simulator for the Boeing CST-100 Starliner manned spacecraft.
There are even samples of vehicles for future missions. For example, a full–scale model of the Sierra Space Dream Chaser space plane, which is due to make its first flight to the space station in 2023, and one of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy side boosters is located along the entire length of the hall – it sent CEO Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster into orbit around the Sun in 2018.
On the second floor, visitors can interact with a digital wall where they can learn about 40 different satellites and space probes. Here they can also visit HoloTube with holographic images, videos and animations about NASA’s next-generation James Webb Space Telescope.
Spaceport with 4D experience
At the end of the exposition there will be the main exhibit – the Kennedy Space Center Space Port. Here visitors will be able to plunge into the atmosphere of the spaceport of the future with views of active launches and landings through digital portholes, creating the impression of a busy terminal. Four exits offer four directions: Space Wonders, Brave Explorers, the Red Planet and Unexplored Worlds.
“You can make four different journeys in simulated spaceflight. You get into the cabin of a simulated spaceship, listen to the safety instructions about space flight, and then get a 4D experience that takes you on a journey through the Solar System,” Protze said.
Each spacecraft accommodates 22 passengers, and each journey lasts about 4.5 minutes, regardless of whether you are traveling to Mars, to an exoplanet or further. Every journey is different, right up to when you return to Earth.
At the opening on June 15, a ribbon-cutting is planned, which will be attended by representatives of NASA and many partner companies involved in the creation of the Gateway complex. Access to the “Gateway” is included in the standard ticket for visitors to the Kennedy Space Center.
Follow us on Twitter to get the most interesting space news in time