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Christmas Gift Guide

Atlantis has a new home

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Suspended 30 feet in the air

Cargo doors open

Atlantis' main engines

Underside of Atlantis

Frozen in space

Hubble Space Telescope

Hubble Space Telescope model

Space station mockup

Space walk simulation

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

After 33 missions into space, NASA's Space Shuttle Atlantis has a new home. The shuttle is part of a new $100 million exhibit at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex which will immerse visitors in the space experience.

The exhibit opens June 29 and will weave first-hand accounts from astronauts and flight engineers, along with the history of NASA, into 60 interactive displays. The displays will touch on everything from launches and orbits to how a space station is assembled.

But the centerpiece of the exhibit is Atlantis. Visitors will be able to get an up-close, 360-degree view of one of the world's first reusable spacecraft. Robert Z. Pearlman of collectSpace.com recently toured the exhibit during a preview of the grand opening.
Caption by / Photo by collectSPACE.com / Robert Z. Pearlman
In November 2012, Atlantis was moved to center's visitor complex aboard the 76-wheel Orbiter Transporter System. It took around 12 hours to move the shuttle 9.8 miles from the Kennedy Space Center's Vehicle Assembly Building to its new exhibit facility.

An 184-foot-tall, full-scale replica of the Atlantis' solid rocket boosters and external tank sits at the entryway to the exhibit building at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida.
Caption by / Photo by collectSPACE.com / Robert Z. Pearlman
Atlantis is suspended 30 feet in the air and angled 43 degrees to one side to let visitors tour every detail of the shuttle.
Caption by / Photo by collectSPACE.com / Robert Z. Pearlman
With the cargo doors opened and the shuttle tilted, visitors can get a good view of the interior as well.
Caption by / Photo by collectSPACE.com / Robert Z. Pearlman
As visitors walk around, along, and under the shuttle they can get a close-up look at its main engines, which once burned at 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit and emitted exhaust traveling Mach 10.
Caption by / Photo by collectSPACE.com / Robert Z. Pearlman
The angle of the shuttle gives visitors the chance to see the underbelly and the thermal protection system.
Caption by / Photo by collectSPACE.com / Robert Z. Pearlman
CollectSpace's Robert Perlman recently toured the exhibit and wrote: "With its payload bay open and a replica of its Canadarm robotic arm extended, Atlantis looks less like a museum's static display than it does a still active vehicle, somehow frozen in place, as if it could soar back into orbit at any time."
Caption by / Photo by collectSPACE.com / Robert Z. Pearlman
The interactive, multimedia experience looks at other details of NASA's 30-year Space Shuttle Program, including the history of the International Space Station and the development of the Hubble Space Telescope.
Caption by / Photo by collectSPACE.com / Robert Z. Pearlman
Suspended 63 feet in the air, a full-size Hubble Space Telescope model hovers over guests on the lower floor of the new Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit.
Caption by / Photo by collectSPACE.com / Robert Z. Pearlman
There's even a one-fifth scale mockup of the International Space Station. Visitors can crawl through tubes that are suspended 26 feet in the air, simulating a spacewalk, to get to the model.
Caption by / Photo by collectSPACE.com / Robert Z. Pearlman
The spacewalk simulating tube 26 feet up.
Caption by / Photo by collectSPACE.com / Robert Z. Pearlman
Opening June 29, the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit is the new home of a priceless, historic spacecraft that tells the incredible story of NASA’s 30-year Space Shuttle Program. The 90,000 square-foot attraction is the marquee element of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex's 10-year master plan.

NASA on the space shuttle program: "One of the most complicated and sophisticated pieces of equipment ever built, the shuttle is a vehicle that launched like a rocket, flew in orbit like a spacecraft and landed on a runway like a glider."
Caption by / Photo by collectSPACE.com / Robert Z. Pearlman
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