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Atlantis

New Sounds

Lost Cities & Civilizations

Sunday, August 17, 2014

We’ll spend an hour listening to music from lost cities and civilizations on this New Sounds program.  Hear music by Turkmenistan-born Iraida Yusupova, with the title “Kitezh” – the invisible city of legend that appears in a Rimsky-Korsakov opera and a kind of Russian Atlantis.  It is said to have disappeared under water when Mongols were about to attack, and Yusupova suggests as much with theremin and tape.

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New Sounds

Lost Cities & Civilizations

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

We’ll spend an hour listening to music from lost cities and civilizations on this New Sounds program.  Hear music by Turkmenistan-born Iraida Yusupova, with the title “Kitezh” – the invisible city of legend that appears in a Rimsky-Korsakov opera and a kind of Russian Atlantis.  It is said to have disappeared under water when Mongols were about to attack, and Yusupova suggests as much with theremin and tape.

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Transportation Nation

PHOTOS: Space Shuttle Atlantis Now On Display in Florida

Friday, June 28, 2013

Space shuttle Atlantis made its debut at a $100 million specially built hangar at Florida's Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

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Transportation Nation

PHOTOS: Atlantis Display Hall Takes Shape

Monday, October 22, 2012

Atlantis will be taken into the new building through the back (photo by Matthew Peddie)

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is getting ready for its new Atlantis shuttle display with a $100 million building.  Construction began in January, and the exhibit is slated to open in July 2013.  On November 2nd, Atlantis will make the journey by road from the Kennedy Space Center on a special 76 wheel transporter. The 9.8 mile trip will take all day, with stops along the way for ceremonies with shuttle program employees and the public.

Tim Macy points out his favorite building features (photo by Matthew Peddie)

The building that will house the space shuttle is about 116 feet tall and will have a floor area of 90,000 square feet -- big enough to accommodate the 78-foot wingspan and 57-foot height of the orbiter.

Getting Atlantis over to the Visitor Complex is a delicate operation, but not quite as tricky as Endeavour's recent trek through Los Angeles.

"We are at the space center, there's 144,000 acres that we've got to work with here," says Tim Macy, the director of project development at the visitor center. "There's some big wide open spaces."

Still, some modifications have been made to accommodate the shuttle's move.

"We'll take down a ton of light poles, stop signs and traffic signals to get here, but that's just logistics," says Macy. A short section of roadway has also been built to bring the shuttle into the building.

Macy says the trickiest part of the move will likely be maneuvering the shuttle into the new display hall.

Working on the ceiling 100 feet off the ground (photo by Matthew Peddie)

After the the orbiter is safely inside, it will be wrapped in protective "bubble wrap" to shield it while construction continues.

The new section of road leading up to the building will be torn up and eventually replaced with landscaping.

Workers will start filling in the final wall of the building withing days of Atlantis being moved inside. Up to 150 people a day are working on the project, and Macy says crews could be increased if necessary.

“I’m really confident in the schedule," says Macy.

"I mean, we’ve built in some weather days that we haven’t had to take advantage of in terms of the exterior of the building, and as anyone will tell you, once you get in and you get sealed up, you can control your own destiny.”

The entrance  to Atlantis' new home (photo by Matthew Peddie)

The completed display hall will include a replica of the external tank and solid rocket boosters that visitors will walk under as they enter the building. One of the outside walls incorporates a "swoop" that will be covered by orange cladding to symbolize the shuttle flight.

Working on the "swoop" wall (photo by Matthew Peddie)

"You know when it comes down and gets into  its de-orbit burn, that orange color, the glow that comes around the base of it, that's the look we're going for there," says Macy.

Artist's impression of Atlantis display [image credit: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center

Inside the hall, the shuttle will be displayed as in orbit, at an angle, so visitors can see both above and below the orbiter. The building features state-of-the-art air conditioning to protect the shuttle from humidity, and it includes a rail along the ceiling with a platform that can be raised and lowered so cleaners can access the shuttle.

Tim Macy is confident visitors will be impressed when the display opens next summer.

"We think we're telling the right story here, and we understand the responsibility that's been given to us," says Macy.

"We didn't just get [the orbiter], we feel we've earned the opportunity to present this to the public."

The back wall of the display hall will be closed up after Atlantis moves in on November 2nd (photo by Matthew Peddie)

 

 

 

 

 

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Transportation Nation

PHOTO TOUR: A Last Look at Space Shuttle Atlantis Before it Becomes a Museum Piece

Friday, October 05, 2012

The space shuttle Atlantis inside the Orbiter Processing Facility at Kennedy Space Center (photo by Matthew Peddie)

Shuttle technicians at the Kennedy Space Center are finishing their work to prepare the last of NASA's retired orbiters for display.

Atlantis flew the last shuttle mission in July 2011, and it's due to roll out to the visitor complex on November 2nd.

"This is been my life," says David Bakehorn. "It's not the ending of a program, it's not the laying off of a workforce, it's the breakup of a big family. These people you see around here have worked together for 25 to 30 years." (photo by Matthew Peddie)

Inside the Orbiter Processing Facility Hi-Bay 2 at the space center, workers are making sure the shuttle is free of toxic fuel residue and other hazardous parts.  The main engines have been removed and will be used for future space programs

Many of the staff still at the shuttle processing facility have spent decades working on the orbiters.

Lead shuttle systems technician specialist David Bakehorn says after 27 years working on the shuttles, he’s sad to see it go.

“But it’s really nice that it’s staying at home," he says.

"We were worried we weren’t going to get a real live orbiter here in Florida, (because) there’s only so many to go around, and I’m glad to be a part of it."

The replica shuttle  (photo by Matthew Peddie)

Shuttle Discovery was flown to the National Air and Space Museum near Washington DC in April, and last month Endeavour piggybacked on the 747 transporter to California. Enterprise, which never flew in orbit, is now in New York, and a replica shuttle which had been on display at Kennedy for 18 years was sent by barge to Houston.

Next week the landing gear will be retracted and the shuttle will be put on a special transporter (photo by Matthew Peddie)

Atlantis only has to go 9 miles. Next week is landing gear will be retracted, and in mid-October it will be put on a special transporter and rolled over to the Vehicle Assembly Building.

On November 2nd, Atlantis will be moved by road to the Visitor Center, where a new building's been constructed to house the shuttle.

Sightseers won't actually be able to go inside the shuttle, though, so this is the last chance to walk inside the cabin and the living quarters before it becomes a museum piece.

Inside the somewhat cramped crew quarters (photo by Matthew Peddie)

 

Nose of the shuttle (photo by Matthew Peddie)

Orbiter Quality Assurance Inspector Rob Lewis checks out some of the autographs in the "white room" (photo by Matthew Peddie)

Atlantis flight deck (photo by Matthew Peddie)

The doorway into the crew module (photo by Matthew Peddie)

The actual shuttle engines have been removed. They'll be reused by NASA in its next space program (photo by Matthew Peddie)

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New Sounds

Lost Cities & Civilizations

Friday, April 13, 2012

We’ll spend an hour listening to music from lost cities and civilizations on this New Sounds program.  Hear music by Turkmenistan-born Iraida Yusupova, with the title “Kitezh” – the invisible city of legend that appears in a Rimsky-Korsakov opera and a kind of Russian Atlantis.  It is said to have disappeared under water when Mongols were about to attack, and Yusupova suggests as much with theremin and tape. 

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The Takeaway

Neil deGrasse Tyson Reflects on the Space Shuttle Program, 1981-2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The space shuttle Atlantis returned this morning, marking the end of an era. The space shuttle program began with the launch of Columbia on April 12, 1981. The program advanced space exploration into the twenty-first century. Contrary to the Apollo missions, which sparked fierce competition between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, the space shuttle program existed mostly in an era of collaboration and cooperation between nations.

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The Takeaway

Space Travel in the Post-Shuttle Age

Thursday, July 21, 2011

As the space shuttle Atlantis landed this morning, ending NASA's shuttle program after 30 years without another method for astronauts to get into space on American-led missions, some are asking if this is a great leap forward for the space agency, or a small step back for manned space travel.

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The Takeaway

The World's Last Remaining Taxi to Space

Thursday, July 21, 2011

This morning marked the end of the space shuttle era for the nation and the world as the Atlantis landed at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. How will astronauts get to space in a world without the shuttle? They will be hitching a ride with the Russians on the Soyuz space craft. The BBC's Oleg Boldyrev has been taking a look at what it's like riding inside of the Soyuz, which American astronauts liken to riding in an old Soviet Lada automobile.

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The Takeaway

Space Shuttle Atlantis Lands, Ending NASA's Shuttle Program

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The mood was bittersweet in Cape Canaveral. this morning, as the space shuttle Atlantis landed, bringing NASA's 30-year-old shuttle program to a close. A permanent marker will be placed on the runway where Atlantis touched down just before 6:00 AM EDT. In its final mission, the 135th of the shuttle program, Atlantis brought supplies to the International Space Station. With the end of the shuttle era, NASA's involvement in future space flight has been called into question.

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The Takeaway

Space Shuttles Go Into Retirement Homes

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Over 20 locations across the country put in their bid to house one of the retired space shuttles, and only four won. NASA announced the winners yesterday on the 30th anniversary of the first space shuttle flight, Columbia. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida will soon have space shuttle Atlantis; Endeavor will head to the California Science Center in Los Angeles; the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City won Enterprise, which will move from the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, to make room for Discovery.

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The Takeaway

Discovery's Final Voyage

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Today will mark the last launch of Space Shuttle Discovery, which made its maiden voyage back in 1984. This starts the countdown to the end of the Space Shuttle program, with final launches of Endeavor and Atlantis scheduled. Was the Shuttle Program worth it? To answer that question is Peter Spotts, science reporter for The Christian Science Monitor.

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The Takeaway

Farewell Atlantis: NASA Counts Down to the Last Launch

Thursday, May 13, 2010

NASA has begun counting down to its last scheduled launch of the space shuttle Atlantis. We wanted to know: Do all the shuttles have the same type of cup holders and is taking off on Atlantis any different from launching in Discovery?

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