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For release: 04/24/03
Release #: 03-063


Maine Discovery Museum hosts NASA experience
NASA's futuristic Starship 2040 to touch down in Bangor April 26-27

NASA's futuristic Starship 2040 experience will touch down this week at the Maine Discovery Museum in Bangor.


NASA's futuristic Starship 2040 experience will touch down this week at the Maine Discovery Museum in Bangor.

But while the high-tech "spacecraft" itself travels inside a 48-foot-long tractor and trailer rig, officials at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., are confident the experience will send visitors' imaginations straight into orbit.

The traveling Starship 2040 exhibit, appearing at the museum April 26-27, is designed to share NASA's vision of what commercial spaceflight might be like 40 years from now. The exhibit showcases futuristic propulsion and space science technologies now in development by NASA and its partners, and demonstrates the real-world challenges of achieving routine travel beyond Earth orbit.

Visitors board the "spaceship" and move through full-sized control, passenger and engineering compartments. Audio effects - engine noises, computer and crew voices - add to the realistic ambience of the experience.

Starship 2040 will be parked outside the Maine Discovery Museum at 74 Main St. in downtown Bangor. The exhibit is open to the public from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 26, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 27. Admission to Starship 2040 — which is handicapped accessible — is free.

The visit is part of a week-long, three-stop visit to Maine. Starship 2040 will be open to schoolchildren at Fairmont Elementary School April 28-30 and at Mt. Ararat Middle School in Topsham May 1-2.

More about Starship 2040
While touring Starship 2040 and talking with NASA experts staffing the exhibit, visitors will learn about technologies now being investigated by NASA and its partner organizations to increase the safety and reliability of space transportation systems while dramatically lowering costs - making space travel safe and affordable enough for routine flights just a few decades from now.

All the innovations suggested aboard the exhibit - automated vehicle health monitoring systems, high-energy propulsion drive, navigational aids and emergency and safety systems - are based on concepts and technologies now being studied at NASA Centers and academic and industry partner institutions around the nation.

More about NASA Space Transportation Programs
NASA is the nation's premier agency for development of space transportation systems, including future-generation reusable launch vehicles. Such systems - the keys to a real Starship 2040 - require revolutionary advances in critical aerospace technologies, from thermal, magnetic, chemical and propellantless propulsion systems to new energy sources such as space solar power or antimatter propulsion. These and other advances are now being studied, developed and tested at NASA field centers and partner institutions all over the nation.

NASA and its partners also seek innovative materials and processes technologies, investigating ways to develop safer, stronger and more durable engines, vehicles, structures and components to handle the immense power of these futuristic propulsion systems.

The Marshall Center is a key leader in all these efforts, aimed at enabling dramatic improvements in the safety, cost and reliability of future space transportation systems. For more information, visit:

http://www.starship2040.com

http://www.spacetransportation.com/

http://www.slinews.com/

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