As we continue our virtual space voyage with Part 2, please join me for a look inside the expansive Atlantis Space Shuttle building, located in Florida at the Kennedy Space Center. Part 1 can be viewed here.
All 135 Space Shuttle missions were launched from the U.S. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) between 1981 and 2011. These were crewed spacecraft that launched into space, orbited Earth, and returned to Earth. Each Space Shuttle flight performed a specified space mission, and most have returned to space numerous times. There were 133 successes and 2 failures.
NASA’s Space Shuttle Atlantis was first launched in 1985 and completed its final space mission in 2011. In all, it orbited the Earth 4,848 times.
The building where the Atlantis now lives is 64,000 square foot (5,900 m2) and showcases the spacecraft on three different levels. It opened in 2013.
The spacecraft is raised 30 feet (9 m) off the ground and rotated 43 degrees, displayed as if it were in space. The many burn marks and marrings are visual proof of its many orbits into space.
It has over 2.5 million parts.
Visitors can see Atlantis’ opened payload bay doors and the robotic arm.
This space shuttle charged in and out of space for 26 years, completing 33 missions. It transported 207 astronauts, flew 126 million miles, and spent 307 days in space.
It has three types of engines and an impressive array of rocket thrusters.
Here is a photo of Atlantis leaving Earth. For the initial thrust into orbit, it is attached to an external fuel tank (orange) and twin solid rocket boosters (white).
This is Atlantis as it transits the sun (small black dot near center of photo).
For more in-flight photos of the Atlantis, click on Space Shuttle Atlantis Wikipedia.
The Atlantis building, one of many at the KSC, has over 60 interactive exhibits. In addition to Atlantis, which dominates, there is a full-size replica of the Hubble Space Telescope, the original still being in space.
There are displays highlighting the mission of each of the space shuttles. Most of them did work on the International Space Station and/or the Hubble Telescope.
This is a walkway highlighting each of the 33 missions of Atlantis.
There are also many displays of the International Space Station (ISS), including an active countdown of how long it has been in space (over 20 years).
Kids can climb in tunnels that lead to spacecraft; many people were stimulated by several different simulators. The space toilet display was also popular.
There were other space shuttles in the American space program. Out of the five fully functional orbiters, three remain on display, open to the public. Aside from Atlantis, the other two are: Discovery in Washington D.C. and Endeavour in Los Angeles.
The Atlantis performed NASA’s last Space Shuttle mission.
Thanks for launching into space with us.
Written by Jet Eliot.
Photos by Athena Alexander unless otherwise specified.
Dear friends, I am taking a break for the rest of December, will resume posting in January. Wishing you happy holidays, and many thanks for another sweet and adventurous year together.