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Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex opens on June 15, 2022 at Kennedy Space Center

by Susan and Simon Veness

Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex is the “spaceport of the future,” giving visitors the opportunity to experience “the interstellar travel of tomorrow.”

gateway the deep space launch complex
Photos courtesy of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

From artifacts and exhibits to modern day spacecraft, the multi-level Gateway attraction offers a look at the present and future of space exploration, highlighting all that is happening within the space program today through NASA and commercial spacecraft hardware, immersive displays, launch viewing opportunities, and a “journey” through space.

“Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex is a bold new attraction where guests will personally experience NASA’s next giant leap and beyond, highlighting all the excitement within the space industry,” said Kennedy Space Center’s Chief Operating officer, Therrin Protze. “Guests will see a peek at the future of space travel with Spaceport KSC, an immersive experience with multiple journeys the guests can select to travel and learn through a thrilling simulated space flight.”

gateway the deep space launch complex entry

Fun Fact: Gateway’s exterior walls are accented with iridescent panels in bright turquoise alternating with shades of purple, designed to replicate the “constant motion and brilliant colors of the universe.”

A futuristic design sets the stage as guests are surrounded by actual flight-flown artifacts and full-scale models within a 360-degree setting.

Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex models and artifacts include:

  • Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10 Upper-stage Rocket Engine
  • Boeing Crew Space Transporation-100 Starliner Mock-Up Capsule (full-scale engineering model)
  • Boeing Spacesuit
  • Boeing Starliner Simulator (full-scale model)
  • LIFE Habitat Cut-Away (scale model)
  • Lockheed Martin Space Habitat (full-scale mockup)
  • NASA Space Launch System (SLS) rocket (scale model)
  • Orion Exploration Flight Test-1 Capsule (flight flown)
  • Orion Heatshield Tiles
  • Sierra Space Dream Chaser (full-scale model)
  • Sierra Space Shooting Star (full-scale model)
  • SpaceX Cargo Dragon COTS-2 (flight flown)
  • SpaceX Falcon 9 booster, officially known as Booster B1023 (flight flown)
  • United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket (scale model)
  • United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket (scale model)

On the building’s second floor, adventurers will find a 30-foot, floor-to-ceiling Robotic Space Explorers Interactive Wall with touchscreen displays that provide information about 40 different satellites and probes in space.

gateway the deep space launch complex interactive wall

Visit the HoloTube presentation station to discover more about the James Webb Space Telescope through the manipulation of holographic imagery, video, and animation.

Spaceport KSC then takes visitors on a journey through the “airport of the future,” complete with atmospheric airport chatter and views of active launches and landings in the distance, as seen through the galactic spaceport windows.

spaceport ksc

Its main concourse reveals destination, departure, and arrival information, and visitors can choose from four journeys – Cosmic Wonder, Daring Explorers, Red Planet, or Uncharted Worlds – for a trip onboard “spaceships” (a two-story motion theater) complete with atmospheric effects for a convincing space-travel experience.

gateway the deep space launch complex displays

Space Bowl Bistro is the complex’s new restaurant, serving up Bistro Bowls such as acai bowls and choose-your-own-protein bowls created with quinoa, rice, greens, or noodles, and proteins such as barbecue short rib, marinated ahi tuna, jackfruit, and more. Soft drinks, coconut water, coffee, tea, and domestic beer are also on offer.

For more information visit KennedySpaceCenter.com/Gateway.

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