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Old 05-27-2007, 08:54 AM   #1
LateNight
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New Attraction Simulates Shuttle Launch at 17,500 MPH

New Attraction Simulates Shuttle Launch at 17,500 MPH

or your tax dollars at work ?

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Imagine being in a dragster, peeling out from zero to 100 in three seconds, then keeping your foot to the floor for a full six minutes until you reach 17,500 mph.

On Friday, the Kennedy Space Center will open the Shuttle Launch Experience, an amusement-ride-***-astronaut-flight-simulator designed to mimic the 17,500-mph liftoff of a NASA shuttle orbiter.

The 44,000-square-foot attraction isn't just a ride; it's a flight simulator on par with what astronauts in training experience, says Bob Rogers, CEO of BRC Imagination Arts, which built it.

"This isn't an imaginary flight," says Rogers. "This is real."
The $60 million project employs seat rumblers and shakers that rattle riders through the turbulent main engine start, the firing of the solid rocket boosters and then their separation.

Air bags in each seat sink and rise to capture the sensation of extreme acceleration. The shuttle's windshield, an 84-inch high-def screen, is enveloped in fire when the external tanks separate.

Inside the capsule, riders are subject to an onslaught of 13-channel sound, from the roar of the engines to the commander barking instructions. Low-frequency sound vibrates the riders' chests, evoking the feeling of being unable to breathe.

To get the sensations, sights and sounds absolutely accurate, creators spent three years interviewing more than two dozen shuttle astronauts, who weighed in on everything from the whitish-yellow debris that spatters across the shuttle's windshield when the rocket boosters separate to the creaking of the cabin and other ambient sounds astronauts hear during a launch.

According to Rogers, some astronauts who have experienced the exhibit have reported it to be more realistic than some of NASA's and the military's own training simulators.

It is the first in a series of new exhibits opening at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex during the next decade.
"We take the technology and pizazz of theme parks, Broadway and Hollywood and put those things in the framework of education," says Rogers.
Sounds like a crazy ride..
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Old 05-27-2007, 12:00 PM   #2
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You think that's a tax drain?

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During the heat of the space race in the 1960's, NASA decided it needed a ball point pen to write in the zero gravity confines of its space capsules. After considerable research and development, the Astronaut Pen was developed at a cost of $1 million U.S. The pen worked and also enjoyed some modest success as a novelty item back here on earth.

The Soviet Union, faced with the same problem, used a pencil.
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Old 05-27-2007, 01:00 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by AnimeSpirit
You think that's a tax drain?
I don't know "who's" paying for it .. but it's a $60 million dollar amusement ride being built by the Kennedy Space Center.

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Old 05-27-2007, 01:47 PM   #4
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That thing about the pen isn't true.
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Old 05-27-2007, 02:09 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by joepole
That thing about the pen isn't true.
Joe could you explain please I know this is right up your ally so I will have to go with what you post
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Old 05-27-2007, 05:45 PM   #6
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Have you ever been to the Kennedy space Center? That place prints money. Let's amortize $60M over 15 years (a reasonable assumption of the ride's lifespan)

At 6% (reasonable rate for government bonds) that's around $575,000 per month to run it. Add in an extra $25K for staff and maintenace, you're looking at $600K a month=$7.2M a year. A quick googling tells me anywhere from 1.3 to 4 million people visit the KSC every year, so let's say 2M to be on the safe side.

Assume 25% (a nice, low figure) go on the new ride, that means if the tickets cost more than $14 you're making money. That's not even including additional merchandise or food/beverage sales, which are almost all profit.
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Old 05-27-2007, 05:46 PM   #7
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Barbara explains it better than I can:

http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/spacepen.asp
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