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For release: 08/22/03
Release #: 03-146


NASA's futuristic Starship 2040 heads 'north to the future' for 28-day Alaska tour

Photo description: Starship 2040, NASA's traveling space transportation exhibit, is a mockup of a futuristic spaceliner that travels inside a 48-foot tractor and trailer rig

Starship 2040 — NASA's traveling space transportation exhibit designed to give visitors a look into NASA's vision of human spaceflight as it might exist 40 years from now — has embarked upon its 28-day Alaska tour. The exhibit, managed by the Marshall Center, will tour Alaska through Sept. 18.

Photo: Starship 2040, NASA's traveling space transportation exhibit, is a mockup of a futuristic spaceliner that travels inside a 48-foot tractor and trailer rig. (NASA/MSFC)


NASA's traveling "Starship 2040" space transportation exhibit - designed to give visitors a look into NASA's vision of human spaceflight as it might exist 40 years from now - will begin a 28-day visit to Alaska when it "touches down" Friday, Aug. 22, in Palmer, Alaska.

Starship 2040 is a mockup of a futuristic spaceliner that travels inside a 48-foot tractor and trailer rig. The exhibit shows a possible, practical result of NASA's goal to extend the duration and boundaries of human space flight to open up new opportunities for exploration and discovery.

The exhibit will tour Alaska Aug. 22 through Sept. 18. The first stop is the Alaska State Fair in Palmer, Aug. 22-29. The next stop will be Matanuska-Susitna College in Palmer, Sept. 2-6. Starship 2040 will then visit the Challenger Center in Kenai Sept. 9-12, and the Children's Imaginarium in Anchorage Sept. 15-18.

Admission to Starship 2040 is free. The exhibit is handicapped accessible.

Officials at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. - which manages the exhibit - are confident the experience will send visitors' imaginations straight into orbit. "Passengers" board Starship 2040 and walk through control, passenger and engineering compartments. Audio effects - engine noises, computer and crew voices - add to the realism of the experience.

Starship 2040 innovations - 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.

While touring Starship 2040, visitors can talk with NASA experts staffing the exhibit to 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.

Upcoming programs, such as the Orbital Space Plane and research into the next generation of launch technologies, will make space travel safer and more affordable for routine flights just a few decades from now. NASA expects these new technologies will lower launch costs and improve the competitiveness and viability of facilities such as the Kodiak Launch Facility on Kodiak Island and the Poker Flat Research Range north of Fairbanks.

"We're honored to host NASA and Starship 2040 at the 2003 Alaska State Fair," said Joe Lawton, director of the annual state event. "We invite everyone to stop by the exhibit and experience NASA's vision of future commercial spaceflight."

One of NASA's goals is to inspire current and future generations of young people by encouraging students who want to be part of space exploration to gain a strong understanding of science, mathematics and engineering.

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

http://www.starship2040.com

http://www.education.nasa.gov/

http://www.slinews.com/

For more information:
News release
Photo
Starship 2040 web site


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