NASA Now Attraction at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Provides an Insider Look at the Future
CAPE CANAVERAL (August 22, 2017) – KENNEDY SPACE CENTER – A visit to the NASA Now attraction at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex provides visitors unprecedented access to the past, present and future. Offering an up-close look at the most recent vehicles to have traveled to space, as well as vehicles destined for future visits and those designed to further exploration and development, NASA Now continues to grow its collection, most recently with the addition of a Boeing full-scale engineering model of its CST-100 Starliner crew vehicle.
Built in 2010, the Boeing Starliner mock-up brings the spacecraft from computer-aided design drawings to tangible reality. The Starliner is currently seen with its hatch open, offering visitors a glimpse inside America’s new crew capsule. This fall, visitors will be able to look inside and see how the spacecraft will be configured to carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station beginning in 2018. Also, while on display at the visitor complex, the mock-up allows Boeing engineers access to a physical model for testing the design for astronauts and cargo as well as performing engineering verifications.
A gallery that houses temporary displays of spacecraft on loan from NASA and partners including Boeing® and SpaceX, NASA Now is located inside the IMAX Theater and is quickly becoming a favorite for visitors to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Visitors are in awe of the special collection of spacecraft, some space flown, which have been created for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) transportation to the International Space Station (ISS) and NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), the future for deep space exploration. Other highlights include:
- Orion EFT-1, the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle designed to launch aboard SLS for deep space exploration. Though SLS testing does not begin until 2019, this vehicle was launched aboard a Delta IV heavy rocket in December 2014 from Kennedy Space Center’s historic Launch Complex 39B. Displayed next to Orion is a scale model of the upcoming SLS rocket, currently being designed as Orion’s launch vehicle.
- The COTS-2 Dragon, on loan from SpaceX, has not only been to space, but the vehicle is also the first commercial spacecraft to rendezvous with the ISS. COTS-2 launched in May 2012 for its historic maiden flight test-run to low Earth orbit (LEO) and to dock at the ISS. Visible scorch marks from the Dragon’s atmosphere reentry are not just on the surface. They also mark the debut of NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services, where commercial partners resupply the ISS, to pave the way for the Commercial Crew Program scheduled to begin testing in 2018.
- Pressure vessel for Starliner, also on loan from Boeing, represents the development and progression of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program as testing continues on this crew vehicle designed to transport astronauts to the ISS. The pressure vessel is an important initial step in the creation of spacecraft that travel from Earth’s atmosphere to the vacuum of space.
- A scale model of the Dream Chaser cargo vehicle designed by NASA’s most recent CRS partner, Sierra Nevada Corporation. This upcoming vehicle is currently being tested at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center and will launch aboard ULA’s Atlas V rocket. Unlike the other capsule vehicles, Dream Chaser Cargo System is a lifting-body designed to glide back to Earth after delivering cargo to the International Space Station.
- A scale model of ULA’s Atlas V rocket. Atlas V configurations include the Atlas V 400 and 500 series currently launching satellites into Earth orbit for Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Services Program and Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo vehicles for ISS resupply missions. Atlas V will also launch Dream Chaser and CST-Starliner on their journeys to the ISS.
- A Vector-R rocket from Vector Space Systems, which is dramatically suspended overhead. The Vector-R is a simple two-stage rocket designed for smaller payloads and is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Launch Complex 46.
For more information, visit www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.