Atlantis Bound

Forced by end-of-year circumstances to make a visit to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex for clerical continuity, I found myself visiting on one of the busiest days of the year.  The unmatched passion of a gaggle of space fans, no matter how pleasant, could not be blunted so I persisted only for an hour or two in this sea of humanity before being forced to retreat to enjoy more contemplative pursuits while planning to return on a less congested day outside of the holiday season.

During my brief sojourn I was able to visit the Atlantis exhibit before the crowd arrived.  The relative peace allowed me to shoot a few handheld panoramas of the large vehicle.

This panorama gives Atlantis a large nose.

Atlantis’ nose deflates to normal proportions without the distortion caused by the panorama in the previous image.

Lots of panoramic distortion in this image, especially in the nose and tail section.  The decision to display Atlantis as it would appear in space, with its cargo bay doors open, was an inspired choice.

The black tiles on Atlantis’ underside protected it from the white hot heat of reentry.

A corridor of long, sloping switchbacks running down the side of the exhibit to reach its different levels features this image of Atlantis reentering the Earth’s atmosphere ablaze in colored lighting to enhance the drama of the representation.

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