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Angry Birds Space Take Roost at Visitor Complex
04.05.13
 
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Image above: NASA astronaut Don Pettit uses a giant slingshot to launch a plush Angry Bird character toward the entrance to the new Angry Bird Space Encounter attraction during the grand opening ceremony, March 22, at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Standing behind Pettit is Space Red, one of the Angry Bird Space characters. Photo Credit NASA/Kim Shiflett
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Image above: Children try out some of the interactive exhibits inside the new Angry Birds Space Encounter at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex after the grand opening ceremony March 22. Photo Credit NASA/Kim Shiflett
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Five…four…three…two…one…was the countdown chanted by young and old alike, as a flock of animated birds descended on the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex officially opening the new Angry Birds Space Encounter attraction on March 22.

Amid excitement and fanfare, NASA astronaut Don Pettit, Spaceperson and Angry Bird character Super Red helped bring the popular digital game to life by slingshotting plush birds at the entrance to the new attraction.

Bill Moore, chief operating officer of the visitor complex, said that while there is a lot of history at the visitor complex, it’s also about the future.

“Today we’re doing something a little different, but we’re still talking about space,” Moore said. “Angry Birds Space Encounter is both a fun and educational experience.”

Visitors can come face-to-face with Angry Birds Space characters, including Super Red, Lazer Bird, Space Bomb and Incredible Terence, as they follow their kidnapped eggs into an intergalactic wormhole, encounter Space Pigs and discover their superpowers.

Kennedy’s Associate Director Kelvin Manning said Angry Birds Space is an awesome addition to the visitor complex.

“This game will help to ensure the next generation of explorers will have that interest in space exploration, as well as the fundamentals of science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” Manning said. “I’d like to tell kids that science can really be this cool.”

Describing one of six interactive games inside the 4,485-square-foot exhibit, Manning said mastering launching the Angry Birds into the right trajectory to hit the big targets could translate to using orbital mechanics to land spacecraft on a distant planet or fast-moving asteroid in the future.

“We do all of this with the goal of making life better on Earth,” Manning said.

NASA and the visitor complex partnered with Finland-based Angry Birds creator Rovio Entertainment to bring the beloved animated mobile app game to life. It is the first interactive Angry Birds attraction to open in the United States.

Entertainment Design Group Inc. in Austell, Ga., developed, built and installed the Angry Birds Space Encounter attraction.

Dan Mitchell, who is Rovio’s director of location-based entertainment, said he is extremely excited to have fans take part in the Angry Birds Space Encounter.

“Our partnership with NASA and the visitor complex has really been a great experience for us as a way to bring our brand from the digital world to the physical world,” Mitchell said. “The interactive games will encourage children to explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”

Pettit spent a total of 12 months on two separate missions aboard the International Space Station and launched Angry Birds Space floating in zero gravity.

“When you’re in space, because we’re human beings, we like to have a little fun,” Pettit said. “This fun allows us to work and cope in a serious environment.”

Pettit said part of having fun on his last mission was being able to make some videos dealing with trajectories using Angry Birds in space to escape.

“While you’re having fun doing this, there’s a thread of math and science and engineering that gets worked into these games,” Pettit said.

The opening of Angry Birds Space Encounter comes a few months before the visitor complex will celebrate the grand opening of the new home of Space Shuttle Atlantis on June 29.

 
 
Linda Herridge
NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center