With space shuttle Atlantis' 25-year spaceflight career now in the history books, its next mission -- to inform and inspire generations of visitors to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida -- is one step closer to reality. A groundbreaking ceremony Jan. 18 officially launched construction of a new 65,000-square-foot exhibit at the complex's Space Shuttle Plaza, where NASA's fourth space-rated orbiter will be the main attraction.
"It is an honor to create the home for space shuttle Atlantis and to work with NASA to tell its story to the world," said Jeremy Jacobs, chairman and chief executive officer of Delaware North Companies, which operates the visitor complex for NASA.
Participating in the event were Jacobs; Janet Petro, Kennedy Space Center deputy director; Chris Ferguson, who commanded Atlantis on its final mission, STS-135; Bill Moore, chief operating officer of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex; and Florida Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll. Wearing hard hats and gripping shovels, they made the ceremonial first turn of the soil at the construction site.