Fla. -- The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex was upgraded
recently with the addition of the ATX, or Astronaut Training
The ATX was
developed with assistance from veteran NASA astronauts. The daylong
program begins with an orientation and mission briefing by a member
of the U.S. astronaut corps, followed by flight simulator exercises
and a tour beyond the public areas of the space center to the NASA
press site, the International Space Station Center and a position
near the space shuttle launch pads. The experience culminates with
a simulated team space mission.
in the program becomes a crew member and undertakes a series of
exercises designed to prepare astronauts for space flight. The
highlight is the one-sixth-gravity chair, which uses springs and
pulleys to simulate a walk on the moon.
Also offered is
the MAT, or multi-axis trainer simulator, which spins its occupant
in random directions to simulate the feeling of hurtling through
assign a role to each member of the team, and the team members then
take their places in a full-scale mock-up of the shuttle or a model
of the mission control room. At the Zero-G wall, participants are
outfitted with harnesses and weights that enable them to move
around on a space station as if they were in a reduced-gravity
complete the program are given a photo of themselves with an
astronaut, an ATX shirt and a diploma. The cost of the program is
" " "
In other news,
the space center launched a 10-year develop-
ment plan that promises several new attractions, rolling out at a
rate of about one every two years. The
first component of the development plan is the $60 million Space
Shuttle Launch Experience, which is under construction and slated
to open in early 2007.
The following is
a look at other themed attractions planned for introduction over
the next decade:
A new hub
called NASA Central, a multimedia facility with video screens
transmitting launch briefings, mission updates and NASA news, will
be the first area visitors see when entering the complex.
Interplanetary Exploration 4-D Exhibit will show what it is like to
monitor the progress of NASAs various space probes.
Visit to the
International Space Station uses 3-D footage taken by astronauts of
the space station and simulation technology to create a sense of
Journey to the Birth of the Universe will use multimedia, film
effects, images from the Hubble Space Telescope and simulation
effects to show other galaxies and shed light on theories of the
origin of the universe.
Our Home Planet will show how space exploration enhances
understanding of weather, atmosphere, topography and natural
The Moon, Mars
and Beyond will focus on missions that are planned to return to the
moon and to take astronauts to Mars.
Shuttle Orbiter Exhibit will display a shuttle when the space
shuttle program is discontinued.
Island National Wildlife Refuge Interpretive Facility will present
a series of exhibits about the diversity of the plant and animal
life in the wildlife refuge surrounding the space center.
For more, call
(321) 449-4444 or visit www.kennedyspacecenter.com.
reporter David Cogswell, send e-mail to [email protected].