Space Shuttle Explorer

Space Shuttle Explorer

Space Shuttle
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Space Shuttle Explorer

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The Space Shuttle Explorer is a full-scale replica of a Space Shuttle. The Explorer includes replicas of the interior spaces. It is located at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and is accessible by tourists.

Explorer is displayed alongside a gantry-style tower (which includes an elevator for accessibility) and visitors may view a mock-up payload, a mannequin wearing an early model of the orange launch/entry pressure suit worn by shuttle astronauts, and a mock-up cockpit with controls and instruments. There is a replica external tank mated to two solid rocket boosters adjacent to Explorer as well.

Internal details of the mock-up are not remarkably accurate, though the size and scope of the payload bay is correct.

Externally, the mock-up features simulated thermal protection system tiles (bearing numbers, as the genuine flight articles do), paneling that looks like reinforced carbon-carbon (RCC) panels on the leading edges of the wings, and Michelin tires on the landing gear. Handling points are also shown, but the external detailing does not extend to the inclusion of thermal blankets.

Explorer is mounted atop cement pilings and secured with steel cabling. Aside from entry through the mock-gantry, no other points of entry are available.


<gallery>File:SpaceShuttleExplorer.JPG|Shuttle mock-up Explorer at the Kennedy Space CenterFile:Hughes-Intelsat-Satellite-Model.jpg|Mock-up of a Hughes Communications satellite inside Explorer, similar to one carried on......
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