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[Photos] Shuttle Atlantis exhibit enters final countdown to launch

June 7, 2013 — Space Shuttle Atlantis is "go" for launch.

The retired NASA orbiter and the new $100 million exhibit that bears its name is on schedule to open to the public on June 29 at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida.

"Everything is go," Tim Macy, director of project development and construction for Delaware North Parks & Resorts, which operates the complex for NASA, said. "We are looking forward to having a big turnout that Saturday."

Macy, joined by Bill Moore, the visitor complex's chief operating officer, updated reporters about Atlantis' status on Thursday (June 6), the day before welcoming the press inside the 90,000 square foot "Space Shuttle Atlantis" exhibition to get a first look at the historic spacecraft in its final display condition.

Continued:  Atlantis exhibit enters final countdown to launch
 


Photos: collectSPACE.com / Robert Z. Pearlman



"Atlantis is a very different type of attraction," said Bill Moore, chief operating officer at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. "There are only three space-flown shuttles in the world. This will be the only one in the world that will be off the ground and in flight presentation."












"We have opened the payload bay doors, extended the K-Band antenna and installed the Canadarm [robotic arm], so she's pretty much in show position," said Tim Macy, the director of project development and construction for Delaware North Parks & Resorts, which operates the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex for NASA.






"From the start of the construction in Jan. 2012 to right now, it has been quite a project," said Tim Macy, the director of project development and construction for Delaware North Parks and Resorts. "It has been one of the largest projects we have taken on here at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex."









With Atlantis ready, workers are now focusing on completing the rest of the exhibition, including installing the 60 related exhibits that will tell the story of the orbiter, the International Space Station (ISS) and how astronauts worked outside the shuttle during spacewalks.

Interactive simulators and displays are being moved into place. A full size model of the Hubble Space Telescope (as pictured above) now spans the building's two floors and Atlantis' wall-length digital screen backdrop has been loaded with a high-definition movie that will help give the shuttle the appearance of being back in space.





















Outside the five-story facility, workers are assembling the towering gateway that will welcome visitors to Atlantis.

"We're finishing up the [external tank and solid rocket boosters] stack out front," said Tim Macy, the director of project development and construction for Delaware North Parks & Resorts, which operates the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex for NASA.

Standing 184 feet (56 meters) tall, the full size replicas of Atlantis' launch components are partially in place. As of Friday (June 7), the bases for the two twin boosters still needed to be installed and the framework for the fuel tank was still being covered with orange panels.



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