High Fidelity Space Shuttle Model
Kennedy Space Center
Having impressed visitors for years at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, the life-size high fidelity model of a Space Shuttle, named Explorer, was moved to make room for the eventual arrival of the new Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit. Weighing approximately 130,000 pounds, close to the weight of a real Shuttle, the model was accessible to visitors who could go inside to view what the mid-deck, the flight deck, and the cargo bay of a Shuttle looked like.
Explorer served not only to educate the public about the Space Shuttle Program, its Reaction Control System jets served, unintentionally, as cavities for bird nests.
In December 2011, Explorer was moved six miles from the Visitor Complex to the Turn Basin across the street from the Vehicle Assembly Building. The Turn Basin is where barges come in to unload large rocket components. The yellow cradle, visible in the above right image and in the image below, is a trailer once used to move External Fuel Tanks from the barge to the Vehicle Assembly Building. The doors where visitors access the two levels inside the model are visible on the box sticking out from behind the model's crew compartment.
Explorer sat here almost six month waiting for a barge to come take it to Texas to start a new life as a public exhibit at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Along with having a new home, the name "Explorer" has been painted over to allow a contest to be held in Texas to rename the model. The buildings in the background comprise the press site for Launch Complex 39. In May 2012, a barge came to take the model away to Texas > > >
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