Cape Canaveral, FL, USA (May 29, 2015) – KENNEDY SPACE CENTER – Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex today broke ground on a next-generation attraction designed to touch the hearts and minds of the next generation of space explorers – Heroes and Legends, featuring the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, scheduled to open in 2016.
Held on the eve of this year’s U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame Induction, the groundbreaking ceremony featured a large gathering of astronauts, including many hall of fame members. This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the hall of fame.
Participating in the groundbreaking ceremony were: Charles Bolden, NASA administrator and hall of fame astronaut; Robert Cabana, director of John F. Kennedy Space Center and hall of fame astronaut; Cheryl Hurst, director, communication and public engagement for NASA’s Kennedy Space Center; Dan Brandenstein, chairman of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation’s board of directors and hall of fame astronaut; Jim Houser, president of the parks and resorts business of Delaware North, which operates the Visitor Complex for NASA; and Therrin Protze, chief operating officer, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
Also speaking at the groundbreaking celebration was Cecil Magpuri, president and chief creative officer of Falcon’s Treehouse in Orlando, the firm designing Heroes and Legends.
While many members of the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame were there to represent NASA’s proud past, the present and future of the American space program also were represented by recipients of the Astronaut Scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation as well as students from Apollo Elementary School in Titusville, Fla.
Heroes and Legends will not only bring to life the enthralling stories of America’s pioneering astronauts, but also invite guests to vicariously experience the thrills and dangers of America’s earliest missions through high-tech elements and special effects, including simulated holograms and augmented reality.
The highlight of Heroes and Legends is a 3D omnidirectional theater, designed to make guests feel as though they are floating in the vastness of space. Stunning images will envelope them as legendary astronauts, including Alan Shepard, John Glenn, Jim Lovell and Neil Armstrong, invite them to join in their epic journeys into the vast unknown.
The new U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame will serve as the culminating element of the attraction, allowing guests to interact virtually with nearly 100 astronaut heroes inducted to date.
“Heroes and Legends promises to speak to the hearts and minds of all generations, from those who bore witness to some of America’s first space launches, to those who dream of someday being among the first to set foot on Mars,” Cabana said.
Located just inside the Ticket Plaza and adjacent to the Rocket Garden, Heroes and Legends will be the first stop for guests as they make their way into Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, setting the tone for their entire experience.
During the ceremony, Protze explained the significance of holding the groundbreaking on the 25th anniversary of the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, with many hall of fame astronauts in attendance.
“Today, we take the dream that was first conceived by America’s space pioneers, and give it a new life, a new incarnation, befitting the service and sacrifice of all those who dared to follow in their footsteps – many of whom are in the room with us today,” he said. “I know I speak for all of those involved when I say, we could not be more proud to create this attraction in your honor.”