Space Center Houston unveils new shuttle exhibit

HOUSTON – Space Center Houston is ready to unveil their new shuttle exhibit and KPRC 2 News is giving a first-hand look inside.

The project took about four years and nearly $12 million to become a reality. Crews were putting the finishing touches on Independence Plaza, a new exhibit that includes a life-size replica of the Shuttle Independence, as well as the Boeing 747 jumbo jet that would ferry it back to Johnson Space Center after landing from space.

“We designed an exhibit that tells a story of the shuttle at Johnson Space Center, its role and the people that were there,” said Paul Spana, exhibits manager, Houston Space Center.

The exhibit includes interactive displays and a history of the space shuttle program, which ran from 1981 to 2011. 

Frank Marlow is one of six pilots to have flown the 747s used to ferry space shuttles. 

“It’s hard to believe when you look at it, that this is real stuff,” Marlow said, as he looked up at the airplane he once piloted. 

“To have done this as a pilot,” Marlow continued, “I got to fly this stuff, I just feel so lucky to have been at the right place at the right time.”

Independence Plaza's big opening is set to take place on Saturday at Space Center Houston at 1601 NASA Parkway. There will be fireworks, skydivers, astronauts, hands-on science activities and live presentations as it celebrates "Mission Accomplished."

For more information on the grand opening, visit spacecenter.org/independence.