MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. — Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will open a new attraction next year that focuses on the present and the future of space exploration.
What You Need To Know
- Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex attraction set to open at KSC Visitor Complex in March
- The attraction will include displays and exhibits focused on space exploration
- A 4D motion theater will also let visitors experience their own space journey
Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex, set to open in March, will offer visitors a chance to learn about space travel as well as experience it through interactive displays, artifacts and flight simulations.
On Thursday, Kennedy Space Center invited Spectrum News to a hard tour of the facility where the attraction is being built.
Gateway will be a 50,000-square-foot, multi-level attraction. On the first level, spacecraft and models will be on display, including the Orion crew vehicle from the EFT-1 mission, a full-scale model of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner crew vehicle, and scale models of United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V and Delta IV heavy rockets.
One of the highlights of the exhibit space will be the SpaceX Falcon 9 booster that was used in the mission that sent CEO Elon Musk’s Tesla into space. The booster, which has already been installed, has been kept in the state in which it came down.
From Gateway’s upper level, visitors will be able to get a closer view of the Falcon 9 booster. The area will feature a 30-foot interactive wall highlighting various satellites and space probes and an area where visitors can learn about the James Webb Space Telescope.
The second floor will also include Spaceport KSC, which has a two-story, 4D motion theater that will let visits take a space journey. There will be four different space journeys to choose from—Cosmic Wonders, Daring Explorers, Red Planet or Uncharted Worlds.
The main concourse, where visitors will gather before they depart, will feature windows that provide views of launches and landings. There will also be multiple screens showing departure and arrival information.
For those who want to take a space journey without the simulated motion, there will be a motionless observation bay that's a smaller version of the ride experience.
Elsewhere in the building will be an autism-friendly quiet room on the first floor. The attraction will also feature a small café with healthy food options. It will have a bowl concept with noodle and rice dishes as well as açaí bowls.
The outside of the attraction will also have something to offer. Gateway’s rooftop will feature its own telescope. The space will also be used for launch and landing viewing events.
Just like other attractions at Kennedy Space Center, Gateway will be centered on education. But it will also update as developments are made in space exploration.
“It’s also designed to be evolving; it’s not a static thematic attraction,” Kennedy Space Center Chief Operating Officer Therrin Protze said.