Press Release

Today ‘Star Wars,’ tomorrow star tours

By SpaceRef Editor
December 11, 2001
Filed under , ,

NASA’s Starship 2040 exhibit to touch down at Oakland’s Chabot Center Dec. 13-16

A “Star Wars” exhibit now on display at the Chabot Space and Science Center
in Oakland, Calif., is sending visitors on a Hollywood-inspired flight of
fancy.

When NASA’s Starship 2040 exhibit arrives at the science center Dec. 13,
visitors will get to see how close America’s space program is to making
today’s science fiction into tomorrow’s reality.

Housed in a 48-foot (14.6-meter) tractor and trailer rig, the traveling
exhibit is designed to share NASA’s vision of what commercial spaceflight
might be like 40 years from now. Visitors board the “ship” and move through
fully realized 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 open to the public Dec. 13 from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.,
Dec. 14-15 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Dec. 16 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission is free. Starship 2040 is handicapped accessible.

The visit coincides with the “Star Wars: Art of the Starfighter” exhibit,
which runs through Jan. 6 at the Chabot Center and includes screenings of
the “Star Wars” movies and a 35-foot-long (10.6 meters) model space vehicle
from “The Phantom Menace.” Some of the propulsion technologies seen in the
film — and suggested by the “Starfighter” exhibit — mirror technologies
now in development at NASA research facilities. Such technologies are
expected to one day power commercial vehicles similar to Starship 2040. NASA
propulsion experts will be on hand to talk about NASA’s near-term advanced
propulsion goals and challenges.

Inside Starship 2040, visitors gain insight into technologies now being
studied by NASA and its partners to increase the safety and reliability of
space transportation systems while dramatically lowering costs — making
commercial space travel safe and affordable enough for routine civilian
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.

Starship 2040 has been on the road since February 2001, touring high
schools, universities and a variety of public events from California to
Washington, D.C. Additional state tours and appearances are in the works
throughout 2002 and beyond.

For more information about the Chabot Center and the “Star Wars” exhibit,
visit:

http://www.chabotspace.org

For information about the Starship 2040 exhibit and upcoming tours, visit:

http://www.starship2040.com

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’s Marshall Center leads these efforts, aimed at enabling dramatic
improvements in the safety, cost and reliability of future space
transportation systems. For more information about NASA Space Transportation
Systems, visit:

http://www.spacetransportation.com

SpaceRef staff editor.