Friday, September 29, 2023

U.K.’s National Space Centre delivers space-themed experience combining mixed media and immersive theatre

The National Space Centre has launched a new permanent immersive space themed experience. Prepared to launch on a low Earth orbit cruise with Tetrastar Spaceport, visitors accidentally find themselves on a rescue mission to Mars. The team must work together to retrieve important research, survive disaster, and escape back to Earth.

Tetrastar Spaceport combines immersive theatre, actors, realistic set design, projection mapping, spatial audio, real-time interactive content, motion seats, and hands-on interactives with immersive storytelling.

The 300-square-meter (3,229-square-foot) experience plays out across four main zones with 10 additional themed spaces allowing four concurrent pulses of 20-person groups. Eleven projectors, 47 screens, 45 speakers, 50 media servers and computers, and 15k mapped RGBW LED pixels are blended into the set work and woven together under a family friendly space themed narrative.

Photo credit: Alex Hannam Photography / National Space Centre

Everyone feels like part of the interactive mission which is supported by pre-recorded characters in the media, real-world performers and an artificial intelligence “ADA”. The visitors get to take part in an escape room-style experience where they have to retrieve valuable specimens and power up the Tetrabank with Tetracells to ensure they have enough energy to get back to Earth in the escape pod.

The attraction design and creation was led by the National Space Centre in-house immersive production studio NSC Creative working collaboratively with a team of UK experts.

Meticulous Ltd supplied the development design, fabrication, installation and theming of 14 unique zones along with 12 interactive stations.

Simworx provided 20 motion seats with interactive buttons and a Control Master API that enabled NSC Creative to create a real-time interactive launch experience application with dynamic motion and branching narrative ride content.

ABC AV led the AV, lighting and show control systems design and integration of the media rich experience.

NSC Creative provided overall project management and creative direction along with specialist immersive AV integration and all story, content and performance production.

Dean Weal, Production Design Director, Meticulous Ltd, commented, “We really maximized the modest footprint of the experience with misdirection, squash and stretch, different textures and materials and lighting to give a tangible sense of navigating very different areas In the space of 20 minutes, the visitors leave Leicester 2022 and journey to the year 2080 and before they know it they are taking secret passages to spaceships and Mars bases before hurtling back to Earth in an escape pod!”

Terry Monkton, CEO, Simworx, said, “Having the opportunity to integrate our class-leading motion seats into a highly themed environment where the wrap-around screen disappears and you the audience just believe that they are on a spaceship flying through canyons on Mars was a real pleasure. The innovation with the real-time content and branching paths adds another standout feature to the experience.”

The £2.88 million (US$3.16 million) project “Extended Reality for new Audiences” also included a new Reality Lab teaching space and XR-infused Community Engagement Program at the National Space Centre.

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