The last time we were at KSC (back in 2012), the exhibit building was still under construction. Didn’t get to make it back for the exhibit opening, so we made sure to include it as part of the itinerary for our cruise last week.
The exhibit building is easy to find. Just look for the great big orange fuel tank of the shuttle booster rocket (it’s a full sized replica).
The exhibit starts with a short film about the history of the space shuttle program, after which the big door opens and you see the Shuttle Atlantis in all its glory.
The Shuttle exhibit is pretty well done with lots of interactive displays, simulators and a “Meet a specialist” program where you can talk with people who worked on the shuttles.
Having grown up during the space shuttle era, I never imagined that I’d actually get to see it up close. There are a few places where you can reach out and almost touch the shuttle. You can even read the numbers on the heat shield tiles and see the texture of the heat shield blankets. So awesome.
Also part of the exhibit is a tribute for the crew of the Challenger and Columbia space shuttles. A very moving display with personal items that belonged to each crew member. Also part of the display is a body panel from Challenger and the cockpit windows from Columbia.
You can’t help but spend a few quiet moments here.