Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Out of this World Experiences at Kennedy Space Center

It is the beginning of a New Year, and many of you are probably trying to either think of a good New Year’s resolution or keep the ones you’ve already made. One of the most common resolutions people make is to try new experiences – we all want to enjoy life more and try things we’ve never encountered or done before. And one great place where you can do both is Kennedy Space Center (KSC). There, anyone who’s ever dreamed of going into outer space but lacks the NASA training can experience the next best thing with the KSC’s Shuttle Launch Experience. You’ll experience the sights, sounds, and sensations of a real shuttle space launch on this heart-lurching ride, which will definitely satisfy any New Year’s resolution.

The KSC’s newest attraction, the Shuttle Launch Experience, simulates the space shuttle’s vibrant rush from takeout into Earth’s orbit. The experience begins as passengers enter the Shuttle Launch Simulation Facility, a giant six-story structure similar to the space shuttle facilities at the KSC. As they wait for their chance at launch and ascend the gantry, passengers – known as ‘crewmembers’ from thereon – will witness veteran astronauts sharing their stories, setting the mood for the wild ride to come.

Then, crewmembers will enter the heart of the Space Shuttle Simulation Facility for a pre-launch briefing, where they’ll be told what to expect by veteran Space Shuttle Commander Charlie Bolden. Step-by-step, Bolden goes through the shuttle launch sequence. Then, passengers will board a mock-up Space Shuttle and strap in before the shuttle launch begins. The suspense is palpable with every second of the countdown thanks to a few special effects – then it’s a powerful, knuckle-clenching liftoff as you soar into outer space. You’ll feel like you’re actually cutting through Earth’s atmosphere thanks to state-of-the-art audio, visual, and lighting effects, along with a unique motion simulator that replicates the G-forces and rattle of lift-off.

The fun continues even after the initial boom; the sensations of launch continue as the ‘shuttle’ approaches Max Q, the zone where enormous forces squeeze the Shuttle. Crewmembers will also experience Solid Rocket Booster separation, main engine cut-off, and the External Tank separation. Everything has been designed to exactly replicate an actual shuttle launch. After the Shuttle Launch Experience, guests at KSC will definitely have a whole new appreciation for astronauts.

“It's not a thrill ride,” said Dan LeBlanc, chief operating officer of the Visitor Complex. “You won't be dodging asteroids or battling any aliens. We have worked hard to ensure that it is as close as you can be to simulating the reality of a Space Shuttle launch within the confines of Earth's gravity.”

And though it’s not a thrill ride by your typical standards, the Shuttle Launch Experience delivers plenty of thrills that until now, only astronauts have experienced. It’s definitely a ‘new’ experience that will put a fresh, fun spin on a New Year. So don’t wait until next year to experience the most realistic space shuttle simulation on the planet – get discount Kennedy Space Center tickets at DWTickets.com, and you’ll have one less resolution to break this year.


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