Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex To Open ‘Heroes And Legends’ In 2016

By  //  June 18, 2015

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FEATURING Astronaut Hall of Fame

Visitors to NASA's Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida soon will get to experience the pioneers of space exploration, from the early days of the Mercury missions, to the Gemini and early Apollo missions. (NASA.gov image)

Visitors to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida soon will get to experience the pioneers of space exploration, from the early days of the Mercury missions, to the Gemini and early Apollo missions. (NASA.gov image)

BREVARD COUNTY • KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLORIDA – Visitors to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida soon will get to experience the pioneers of space exploration, from the early days of the Mercury missions, to the Gemini and early Apollo missions.

As the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, NASA and the visitor complex, managed by Delaware North, broke ground May 29 on a next generation attraction, Heroes and Legends featuring the Astronaut Hall of Fame.

“Heroes and Legends will tell the stories of American space explorers in a more engaging, more compelling and more imaginative way than ever before,” said Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana.

Jim Hauser, president of Delaware North’s parks and resorts business said, “We look forward to celebrating many more anniversaries at the visitor complex.”

Are you dedicated? Curious? Courageous? Can you be cool under pressure?

Wind around the Rocket Garden in an enclosed walkway featuring an interactive ramp and views of the rockets and find out as you enter the heroes’ journey.

Charles Bolden

Charles Bolden

“We not only celebrate NASA’s rich history but also look toward the future of space exploration,” said NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden.

“This attraction promises to bridge the gap between the trailblazers of the past and those who will write the next chapter of space travel.”

According to Eric Stiles, a NASA design specialist at the visitor complex, Heroes and Legends will transport guests back to the early years of NASA’s space program using four unique settings.

“It’s going to be a different kind of exhibit,” Stiles said. “We want it to be an inspirational experience for guests at the visitor complex.”

Therrin Protze, chief operating officer for the visitor complex, said Heroes and Legends will be the first stop for guests as they enter the visitor complex, setting the tone for their entire experience.

“They will leave Heroes and Legends subtly transformed, their outlook expanded, their perspective deepened, and their appreciation for NASA’s core mission significantly enhanced,” Protze said. 

In Discovery Bay, view a 7-minute presentation about human spaceflight and NASA’s brave astronauts. Hear in the astronaut’s own words who their heroes are. View an inspiring tribute to the astronauts who made the ultimate sacrifice in pursuit of their dreams.

Are you ready to find the hero in you? Are you ready for your heroic journey?

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Enter the Heroes and Legends main theater as the doors open and darkness envelops you. Step onto a dimly lit suspended platform, don your 3-D glasses and experience a 360-degree view of Earth and space, above you, below you, all around you. Hear and see the spellbinding experiences of four astronauts: Alan Shepard, John Glenn, Jim Lovell and Neil Armstrong.

Their stories also will acknowledge the invaluable efforts of numerous “earthbound heroes,” the engineers, technicians, mission controllers, administrators, and others who helped the astronauts achieve their missions.

An interactive exhibit zone will greet visitors next. Guests will be able to explore 10 multimedia and interactive story zones and view artifacts and exhibits, including a full-size Mercury Redstone rocket, a replica of Mercury mission control with actual controls and displays, and the real Sigma 7 capsule that carried astronaut Wally Schirra into orbit around the Earth on Oct. 3, 1962.

The final exhibit is the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. A large 360-degree cylinder will be the origination point for high-definition projections of still and moving images in the center of the room. Guests can take photos with larger-than-life images of their astronaut heroes.

A montage will include all of the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and space shuttle astronauts inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame.

Dan Brandenstein

Dan Brandenstein

“We’re starting on a new journey in the Astronaut Hall of Fame,” said Dan Brandenstein, former astronaut and chairman of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.

Former astronaut and recent U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame inductee Steven Lindsey said Heroes and Legends really will be about the next generation of space explorers.

“If we can do something to inspire the next generation, they can see through us that it takes hard work and dedication,” Lindsey said.

Falcon’s Treehouse in Orlando, Florida, is attraction designer and executive producer.

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Cecil Magpuri, president and chief creative officer, said that by the time guests exit this attraction, they will have developed a whole new understanding and appreciation for NASA’s astronaut heroes.

“Guests may even find their own heroic potential stirring,” Magpuri said.

“I’m so excited about this project. I look forward to coming back here and experiencing this important and amazing attraction.”

Scheduled to open in 2016, Heroes and Legends featuring the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame will replace the attraction currently known as Early Space Exploration.

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