Lockheed Martin has signed on to become the title sponsor for the Astronaut Training Experience® (ATX), the newest attraction at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The ATX center uses immersive simulation technology to transport participants to Mars, train them to live and work in the harshest environments and teach them what it’s like to travel to the Red Planet, using real NASA science to address engineering challenges. The announcement was made by Therrin Protze, chief operating officer of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
“The ATX Center gives participants a chance to train like an astronaut, perform real NASA science experiments, and contribute to data that will be used in the field,” said Protze. “Lockheed Martin is the perfect partner because of its mission to enable the future by solving the great problems of modern times. It is fitting that this experience at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is supported by a company with a rich history of space exploration and technological innovation.”
The Astronaut Training Experience boasts the most high-tech, hands-on activities available at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex through two distinct programs: Astronaut Training Experience, and Mars Base 1. Astronaut Training Experience provides an opportunity for visitors to train like an astronaut preparing for a mission to Mars. Mars Base 1 provides participants with a chance to live on Mars, as “rookie astronauts,” while performing base operations along with real science experiments and engineering tasks.
“We are excited to become the title sponsor for the Astronaut Training Experience and share Lockheed Martin’s expertise in human spaceflight and decades of exploring Mars and our solar system with the generation that will actually walk on Mars for the first time,” said Lisa Callahan, vice president and general manager of Commercial Civil Space at Lockheed Martin Space. “Featuring the Orion spacecraft, which we are building for NASA, the ATX puts young space enthusiasts in an immersive environment and lets them train and work together, including launching and flying Orion into deep space. It’s a great experience!”
Located prominently in the heart of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Astronaut Training Experience activities are designed with a focus on problem solving, communication and collaboration, making them ideal for team building in an interesting and inspirational environment. The programs, which are led by expertly trained educators, feature realistic science and engineering applications, and balance virtual reality with physical experience.
To kick off the sponsorship, Lockheed Martin is loaning the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex a full-scale mock-up of an interactive deep space habitat. Lockheed Martin is working with NASA under its NextSTEP program to develop a prototype of a lunar orbiting habitat for NASA’s Gateway. Visitors will be able to walk through the mock-up display and see concepts of how astronauts will soon work in orbit around the Moon. The mock-up will be on display through the summer.