Monday, December 31, 2012

Scott And Carol Present - A Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Update

On Thursday, Dec. 27, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex unveiled the first phase of improvements designed to dramatically enhance the guest experience. The brand new $16 million entry is part of the 10-year Master Plan developed by Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex concessioner, Delaware North Companies Parks and Resorts, in partnership with NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

The new entry includes a grand plaza and fountain; ticket stations and self-service kiosks; will call, guest services and information stations; a retail shop; and a restaurant. And those visiting during the holiday season will be among the very first to experience the brand new entry.

Photo courtesy of Kennedy Space Center

 Entering from the parking lot visitors encounter the grand plaza, featuring the first-ever 3D representation of NASA's insignia that spans 13 feet in diameter. To the right of the globe stands a majestic 75-foot long fountain that pays homage to the dreams of late President John F. Kennedy, for whom NASA’s Kennedy Space Center is named. Kennedy’s face, along with a quote from his famous 1962 “moon speech” at Rice University, are laser etched onto a skyward-reaching arch of blue granite that stands 30-feet at its highest point. 

The 5,000-gallon fountain is spectacularly lit in the evenings with LED lights and features 26 jets of water that can be programmed to create inspiring light shows for guests as they exit the complex or during evening special events or exhibitions.

 Photo courtesy of Kennedy Space Center

The changes to the entrance and ticket plaza, are just the initial elements in a start of the Center's comprehensive plan. Space shuttle Atlantis, still covered in 16,000 square feet of shrink wrap, is  in the middle of a construction zone. The new shuttle $100 million, 90,000-square foot exhibit showcasing the shuttle and celebrating the 30-year space shuttle program is slated to open in July of 2013.

The Vehicle Assembly Building, or VAB in NASA terminology, is now open to the public for tours for the first time since it became operational. For those of you who remember the original trips to the moon, during that time it was called the Vertical Assembly Building, since they various parts of the rockets were stacked bottom to top as they were assembled for launch. There was no public access while rockets with dangerous chemicals were on site.

This look up the transfer aisle shows the tallest  vertical enclosed space in the world. This building is so large, the 4th largest building in the world by volume, that under proper conditions it can even create its own rainstorm inside. Massive cranes with the ability to move heavy loads in the tiniest fractions of an inch picked up the parts here and moved them into the proper assembly bay.

Everything that come in this building has to be lifted over 160 feet up to the open bays and then lowered down to the transporter on top of the crawler, which is 50 feet high by itself. You to can take a peek inside one of the iconic structures of the Kennedy Space Center by signing up for the Up Close Tour. 
Our thanks to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex for the update, July cannot get here quick enough!