With all the drama of an actual trip to space, guests of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida will be greeted with a dramatic sense of arrival when the new Heroes & Legends featuring the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame opens on November 11, 2016.
Through engaging storytelling, guests will embark on an awe-inspiring journey that begins with an immersive exhibit designed to spark thought and discussion about how society defines a hero. Then, through cutting-edge technology, interactive elements and engaging exhibits, visitors will be introduced to the heroes of the NASA space program: the pioneers who worked together to make space exploration possible.
“We’ve been focusing on a story to create what we consider a ‘launch pad’ for our visitors that really sets the stage for their full-day experience here,” said Therrin Protze, chief operating officer, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. “The opportunity to learn about the amazing attributes of our heroes behind the transformative and historical events that have shaped the way we look at space, the world and the future, will not only entertain and inspire guests, but lay the groundwork for their interactions throughout the rest of the visitor complex with our other attractions and space experiences. We are here to inspire minds through a memorable space experience and this new attraction will be a phenomenal introduction.”
Designed by Falcon’s Treehouse, an award winning design firm based in Orlando, Florida, the sleek architecture and sweeping ramp entrance will simulate the journey to the stars, featuring a slingshot maneuver through the Rocket Garden. The deliberate architectural design for the new building is meant to celebrate spacecraft throughout history and into the future.
The goal is for visitors to leave both attractions with a renewed sense of pride and a more in-depth understanding and appreciation of the qualities of heroism represented by NASA’s pioneering astronauts, and why they deserve our admiration and respect.
Therrin Protze, chief operating officer of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, yesterday announced The Boeing Company as the title sponsor of the upcoming attraction Heroes & Legends, featuring the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame®. The news marks the first time in more than 50 years that the visitor complex has entered into an agreement with a corporate sponsor.
“It is so fitting that the Heroes & Legends experience will bear The Boeing Company name,” Protze said. “As a leader in the human exploration of space, Boeing brings such a rich history and exciting future. Their team is as passionate as we are to share the stories of the heroic men and women who have sacrificed so much and inspired so many.”
During the morning ceremony, a ten-foot long silhouette of an X-15 rocket plane was raised to the top of the building. The X-15, which was manufactured by a legacy Boeing company, North American Aviation, flew for nearly a decade, achieving hypersonic speeds and exploring the upper edge of the Earth’s atmosphere. Its technology contributed to the development of the historic Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Space Shuttle Programs. A permanent replica is being designed and will appear to be launching toward space from the top of the building as a visual icon representing Boeing’s contributions to the past, present and future of human spaceflight.
“Florida’s Space Coast is the hallowed ground of all human launches from American soil. There are so many firsts here and we’re pleased to be the first corporate sponsor of a major attraction at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex,” said John Elbon, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space Exploration. “As Boeing celebrates its 100th year, it’s appropriate that we join the visitor complex and NASA to share the exciting journey ahead of human spaceflight with visitors from around the world.”
Construction on Heroes & Legends began in fall 2015 after the new attraction was first announced at the 2015 U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame Induction ceremony at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.