Atlantis Exhibit Hall Opens at Kennedy
July 1st, 2013 | WMFE- The brand new space shuttle Atlantis display opened to the public at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Saturday. Atlantis flew the last mission of NASA's shuttle program, in July 2011.
Former astronaut JR Reilly flew on three shuttle missions- including Atlantis
He says it’s bittersweet to see the shuttle on display- it could have flown more.
“The sweet part is she is in a configuration here that the only time you ever saw her like this is when we were out doing a space walk, so people are getting to see Atlantis in a very unique setting," says Reilly.
Atlantis is displayed on an angle with its payload doors open, as though in orbit.
The retirement of the shuttle program and the loss of jobs have been painful for the space coast. NASA and commercial space exploration companies are working to return to manned spaceflight.
In the meantime, Tim Macy, who oversaw the $100 million display project, says he hopes Atlantis will continue to attract people to the space coast.
“If we can get every sixth grader in Brevard County and all the five counties and all over the state of Florida to come and look at this, you know, if we inspire ten of those guys to move forward, that’s awesome," says Macy.
"Again, [Atlantis] shows what humans can do when they put their minds to it.”
Atlantis is valued at about $2 Billion dollars.
After the shuttle program ended, Discovery was flown to the Smithsonian Air and Space museum in Virginia, while Endeavour is on display at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.