Space Shuttle Inspiration Has A New Home
The Space Shuttle Inspiration has made a move recently. She is no longer being displayed at the old Astronauts Hall of Fame in Titusville. The Shuttle, Inspiration, has a new owner in LVX Technologies owned by John Pederson. For two decades, Inspiration was the centerpiece of the front of the Astronaut Hall of Fame. Pederson recently signed a technology agreement with NASA that will study applications for visual light communication — using LED light to stream data — for missions to Mars and other destinations.
A full-size model of a NASA space shuttle may soon journey on the waterways of the United States, embarking on a mission of education and “Inspiration.”
The mock-up orbiter “Inspiration,”which for two decades sat parked outside the Astronaut Hall of Fame in Florida, west of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, will depart on its first move as soon as Saturday morning (Jan. 16) to begin its transformation into an educational outreach tool and the showpiece for a company developing new communications technologies for future missions into deep space.
“It is kind of an educational and promotional thing,” stated John Pederson, the chief executive officer of LVX System, which has an agreement with NASA to study applications for visual light communication — using LED light to stream data — for missions to Mars and other destinations.
Pederson envisions outfitting the Inspiration with a state-of-the-art theater and touring it, atop a barge, up and down America’s rivers to bring the 120-foot-long (40 m) mock-up to areas where people may have never seen a shuttle up-close and in-person.
“To allow people to see this, take pictures and experience it,” he told collectSPACE.com on Tuesday (Jan. 12). “I was told by astronauts that ‘When it comes to my state, I would like to be there.'”
Before that can happen though, LVX first has to save the Inspiration.
Installed outside the former Space Camp Florida and U.S. Astronaut Hall of Famein 1992, the Inspiration debuted on display as the “Shuttle To Tomorrow.” Installed in its cargo bay was a 72-seat theater wherein the public experienced their own astronaut adventure through a 12-minute, multi-sensory video presentation that featured the rumbling of a launch, a simulated spacewalk and more.
Space Camp trainees also used the full-size space shuttle to stage simulated missions inside its detailed crew cabin (markings still faintly visible on its right, or starboard, wing show the name of another orbiter, Endeavour; a carryover from its use by the camp).
Pederson estimates that it may take upwards of a year to develop the plan for the Inspiration’s tour and complete the work to upgrade it accordingly.
“We want to bring the flight and mid-deck to a very realistic and workable level,” he said.
The payload bay will also be completely renovated to be an “immersive environment” where the floor, ceiling and walls envelop guests in a movie where the bay doors appear to open into space.
Ultimately, Pederson hopes the Inspiration can deliver just that — inspiration for both the public’s and his company’s benefit.
“What LVX looks to get out of this are two things,” he said. “First, the satisfaction of just doing it, because I own LVX System and I love NASA.”
“Secondly, the credibility of having done this and bringing it to people,” Pederson stated. “Of course, every corporation likes to have those kinds of things. That will be the fun part of it — bringing it to a lot of people who have probably never had the chance to see a space shuttle and giving them the chance to see one.”