Kickoff Kennedy Space Center
DISCOVERY CHANNEL KICKS OFF NATIONAL TOUR OF LIBERTY BELL 7 EXHIBIT AT KENNEDY SPACE CENTER VISITOR COMPLEX
— Family Friendly, Interactive Exhibit Opens to Public June 17, 2000 —
— Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex First Stop in 3-Year Tour —
Kennedy Space Center, Fla. — “The Lost Spacecraft: Liberty Bell 7 Recovered,” a new interactive 6,000-square-foot traveling exhibit of the 1961 Mercury space capsule recovered in July 1999 during a Discovery Channel expedition, recently began its three-year journey across the nation at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
The second manned space mission for the United States, Liberty Bell 7 was flown in 1961 by astronaut and U.S. Air Force Captain Virgil “Gus” Grissom on a mission that lasted 15 minutes and 37 seconds before sinking to the floor of the Atlantic Ocean, where it lay undetected for nearly four decades. Now the newly restored capsule will travel with this new exhibit from Discovery Channel to science centers and museums in 12 cities throughout the United States.
Created in partnership with Evergreen Exhibitions of San Antonio, Texas, “Liberty Bell 7 Recovered” will take science center and museum visitors on a virtual ride with Grissom 118 miles into space and then 3 miles below the ocean’s surface where the capsule sat untouched. “Liberty Bell 7 Recovered” will engage visitors in astronaut training, spacecraft technology and launch sequences circa 1961. It then fast-forwards to 1999 to follow the exciting events surrounding the rescue of the spacecraft, including the personal triumph by deep-sea search and recovery expert Curt Newport and his expedition team.
“Discovery Channel is proud to be a part of this next step with the Liberty Bell 7 space capsule and to present this historical exhibit to families across the country,” says Mike Quattrone, executive vice president and general manager, Discovery Channel. “Those who remembered the period when the world stood still to watch a Mercury launch will marvel at the memories the exhibit evokes, while people of all ages will be fascinated with this engaging piece of history.”
INTERACTIVE ELEMENTS OF THE EXHIBIT
Several interactive stations make this museum experience on early space flight something to remember.
What’s it like to fly into space? A capsule simulator invites visitors to climb in the pilot’s seat of this tiny spacecraft and perform a pre-flight task.
Less than half of the test launches of early rockets were successful. A rocket interactive allows visitors to look through a periscope and select from a series of rocket launch videos to discover each rocket’s fate.
Early astronauts were tested to determine their response to powerful G-forces experienced during the mission. In one of the exhibit’s main attractions, adults and children alike can climb into a real-life centrifuge and test themselves against the grit of astronauts.
Using a joystick control, visitors can maneuver a small helicopter model and attempt to recover a miniature version of the Liberty Bell 7.
The exhibit offers a remarkable re-creation of the deck on the recovery ship Ocean Project, where they can peek into the recovery team’s daily log as it appeared on the Internet during the expedition.
Another interactive display allows visitors to conduct virtual interviews with Newport to discover why he pursued this adventure and what technology was necessary to achieve success.
The amazing interactive Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), complete with robot arms and cameras, invites kids and parents to test their underwater piloting skills just like the explorers who found the Liberty Bell 7 on the ocean floor, more than 3 miles below the surface.
Via computer, visitors can use custom software developed to help identify sonar images of unknown objects miles beneath the ocean’s surface. This high-tech software creates a video image from the rough sonar data. The visitor may select one of a number of images within a grid and then discover the object’s identity.
A LESSON IN TIME AND SPACE
The story of Liberty Bell 7 and the adventure surrounding its resurrection are part trip down memory lane, part lesson in patriotism, a salute to technological achievement and an affirmation of the strength of the human spirit. “Liberty Bell 7 Recovered” plunges visitors into the Cold War era in which the United States competed with the Soviet Union in a race to the moon and contrasts that environment with state-of-the-art technology that in 1999 enabled explorers to raise the capsule.
Most significantly, the Liberty Bell 7 space capsule itself is displayed. This symbol of American determination and ingenuity greets the public after 38 years under water. Visitors see the spacecraft as Grissom left it and as Newport and his team found it after nearly four decades on the ocean floor.
The exhibit allows visitors to enter into lifelike environments complete with the sights and sounds associated with:
The era. A family living room circa 1961, just like the ones in which millions of Americans sat riveted to their televisions as astronauts rocketed into space, welcomes visitors as they enter. They experience the sights, sounds and sociopolitical climate of the time via video, vintage publications and period artifacts.
The flight of the Liberty Bell 7, featuring actual NASA footage and audio and video accounts of Grissom and the other astronauts of the Mercury Program.
Mission Control as it appeared in 1961.
A splashdown theater complete with a partial replica of the Sikorsky recovery helicopter, whose window provides a view of the actual attempt to rescue the capsule.
A replica of the deck of the recovery expedition ship, Ocean Project, where visitors will see the technology that made recovery possible.
Listening, Looking, Locating and Lifting kiosks that take visitors on a step-by-step tour of the technology that allowed the recovery team to pinpoint the capsule’s location and raise it from its 38-year resting place on the ocean
A tribute to Grissom, the man who many called “the astronaut’s astronaut.”
Discovery Channel is one of the United States’ two largest cable television networks, serving 78 million households across the nation with the finest in informative entertainment. Discovery Networks, a division of Discovery Communications, Inc., operates and manages Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Travel Channel, Discovery Health Channel, Discovery People, Discovery Kids Channel, Discovery Science Channel, Discovery Home & Leisure Channel, Discovery Civilization Channel, Discovery Wings Channel, and Discovery en Español. The unit also markets and distributes BBC America. The project to restore the capsule is a collaborative effort of Discovery Channel and the Smithsonian-affiliated Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, which will serve as the permanent home for the capsule after its three-year, nationwide tour.
For more information visit www.discovery.com or for more information on Evergreen Exhibitions visitEvergreen Exhibitions
Evergreen Exhibitions, based in San Antonio, Texas, is a world leader in providing high quality, state-of-the-art, family educational experiences, and serves as a major development partner with more than 200 leading museums and research institutions. Evergreen Exhibitions is proud to work with Fortune 500 corporations such as Ford Motor Company, Pfizer Inc, IBM, TIME and others to bring blockbuster exhibits and events to people around the globe. In addition to the “The Lost Spacecraft: Liberty Bell 7 Recovered,” current exhibits include the award-winning The Robot Zoo; Extreme Deep: Mission to the Abyss; Theme Park: The Art & Science of Universal’s Islands of Adventure; Microbes: Invisible Invaders … Amazing Allies; Masters of the Night … The True Story of Bats; EarthQuest: The Challenge Begins (retired); AFRICA: One Continent … Many Worlds; and Chicano Now : American Expressions
Discovery Channel is one of the United States’ two largest cable television networks, serving 78 million households across the nation with the finest in informative entertainment. Discovery Networks, a division of Discovery Communications, Inc., operates and manages Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Travel Channel, Discovery Health Channel, Discovery People, Discovery Kids Channel, Discovery Science Channel, Discovery Home & Leisure Channel, Discovery Civilization Channel, Discovery Wings Channel, and Discovery en Español. The unit also markets and distributes BBC America.
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Source: Evergreen Exhibitions