The new “Heroes & Legends” at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is set to open on November 11, 2016.
Heroes & Legends will include the former U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame attraction which was located six miles away from the Visitor Complex.
The Heroes & Legends attraction which is positioned just inside the main entrance to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, is split into three distinct experiences, plus the Astronaut Hall of Fame.
The first is a 360 degree discovery bay where during a seven minute presentation, guests learn about what makes a hero, what it takes to be a hero and introduces some of the legendary men and women NASA space program heroes.
The second is an immersive 4-D theatre experience lasting around 7 and half minutes that takes guests on an amazing adventure with four space-age heroes from the early Mercury and Apollo space missions. Special effects includes fog, spray, wind and mist to immerse guests in the excitement and danger of the action.
The rest of the attraction is an interactive exhibit area with nine modules where guests can see holograms, experience augmented reality, learn more about some of the astronauts and take photographs with them. Also included is the original Mercury Mission Control room consoles.
The last part is the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame containing the world’s largest collection of personal astronaut space memorabilia plus the Mercury capsule, Sigma 7 piloted by Wally Schirra who orbited the Earth six times in 1992.
Nearly 100 astronauts out of around 300 U.S. astronauts have so far been inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame including the original seven astronauts from the Mercury missions followed by Gemini, Apollo and Skylab and more recently crew members from the Space Shuttle program and International Space Station missions.
Original U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame
The U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame originally opened on October 29, 1980 near Titusville (opposite the American Police Hall of Fame and Museum) but closed in early 2002 due to debts. It was subsequently purchased by Delaware North Park Services who also operate the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and re-opened in late 2002.
The U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame then closed on November 2, 2015 in preparation for the transfer of the exhibits to the new Heroes & Legends attraction at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
A full sized replica 122 foot (37 m) long Space Shuttle named “Inspiration” was located outside the building. A 72 seater theatre was housed in the cargo bay that was used to give presentations. The crew cabin was also used by Space Camp trainees to operate simulated space missions.
Inspiration has been donated to LVX System and has been removed from the site. It is due to be converted into a travelling educational exhibit housed on top of a river barge.
The existing building is now called the ATX Center and is used as part of the Astronaut Training Experience (ATX) including operating a full-sized shuttle simulator.