Exploration Space, the first attraction at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to examine the future of space exploration, combines live theater, interactive exhibits and new media components to engage and inform audiences about the next 20 years in space exploration. Electrosonic provided the AV systems for the exhibit designed by BRC Imagination Arts, Inc. in collaboration with Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The Electrosonic team designed, integrated, programmed and installed the exhibit’s entire AV system, including projection, audio, video and show control.
The 10,000-square foot Exploration Space features among the most technically complex exhibits at the Visitor Complex. Guests are invited to become space travelers and test their skills at docking their vehicle with the International Space Station and achieving a smooth lunar landing while discovering the dangers that lurk in space and on the surface of the moon and Mars. A live show, Explorers Wanted, inspires visitors to become a part of the NASA mission and play an active role in the future of space travel.
Destination in Sight as Visitors Test Their Skills
The introductory exhibit, “Your Destination,” provides a portal into the universe. Visitors peer through a giant 12×8-foot window to a 224×168-inch rear projection screen; a Christie DS+6K-M projector displays enormous images of the moon and Mars, giving the impression of viewing these destinations from deep space.
Alongside the window is a 46-inch LCD monitor with audio attached that details possible missions during the voyage. Both the portal and the monitor audio and video content are sourced from Extron MPEG2 HD video players.
“On The Shoulders of Giants” points out how the next generation of spacecraft will improve upon the work of previous generations including the space shuttle and the Saturn V moon rocket. Featuring extensive animation, this content is displayed on a 65-inch LCD monitor and sourced from Extron MPEG2 HD video players.
Next, visitors test their maneuvering skills at interactive kiosks featuring Dell game stations. Using throttles and shifters, players attempt to dock their vehicle to the International Space Station in “ISS Rendezvous” and try to achieve a safe and soft moon landing in “Lunar Lander.”
Exploration Space is configured with a live theater environment and numerous exhibits that engage visitors when no live show is underway. For example, five 15-foot acoustically transparent screens display an informative video loop on space and the stars. Two additional 15-foot screens demonstrate “Space Dangers,” such as an asteroid hit or an oxygen leak in the spacecraft, and “Surface Dangers,” such as dust and wind hazards on the moon or Mars. Visitors trigger these short animations with a button push on a small kiosk; a Medialon show control system accesses WATCHOUT media storage.
Multi-Screen Live Show Makes Everyone Feel Part of the Team
Twice every hour, the exhibit space transforms into a live theater environment for the show Explorers Wanted. During the pre-show, visitors sit on bench seats as a presenter takes the stage to inspire the audience to become part of a NASA mission and the future of space exploration. Then the main show is displayed on a series of fixed, geometrically-shaped screens. The primary content is shown on a large center screen and a secondary circular screen, stage right. Two additional projectors also display content on four trapezoidal screens, which grow progressively larger in size as they arc over the top of the main screen.
For the live show, “Our primary challenge was creating a smooth interface among the equipment and the onstage presenters,” notes project manager Guy Fronte. “We spent a lot of time on custom programming the Medialon software to interact with the WATCHOUT server, the projectors and the presenters who take visitors through the show.” Additional WATCHOUT programming was required so each of the two projectors could display content on the trapezoidal-shaped screens without images bleeding onto the wall.
As visitors prepare to exit the attraction they are invited to “Stay Connected” at sign-up stations in four interactive kiosks. Their images are captured by webcams and composited inside astronaut helmets in shots showing them performing various space-related activities. Visitors get to see their astronaut selves on 24-inch monitors in portrait mode and can email the fun shots back home or to friends.
Electrosonic Design Consulting was hired by the exhibit designers to provide the AV designs from concept through design development.
All areas of the attraction use Omega I sensors to monitor for temperature and humidity; this information is fed to Medialon which can warn technicians if the indicators rise above the level for satisfactory and safe operation of equipment. Electrosonic trained the Visitor Complex technical staff on the operation and maintenance of the system.
Toni Losier was Electrosonic’s sales person on the project. Exploration Space was designed and produced by BRC Imagination Arts in conjunction with Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts and NASA.
Electrosonic is an international audio-visual company with a strong reputation for working on complex projects, both large and small, and has through its 46 year history developed lasting partnerships with customers and suppliers. Electrosonic brings a unique breadth of experience to each project; backed by solid engineering skills, project management and quality production facilities. Beyond complete integrated systems, Electrosonic can provide a wide range of services including consultancy, technical design, maintenance and operational support.
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