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Mission: Space

January 10, 2004

Filed under: entertainment,life,review — Terry Wohlers @ 15:48

Have you ever envisioned yourself in a space vehicle and landing on the moon or Mars, but know that it probably won’t happen in your lifetime? The next best thing is Walt Disney World’s new “Mission: Space” adventure ride at Epcot. Believe me, it’s nothing short of spectacular. If someone would have blindfolded me, took me for a long car ride, and than sat me in the Disney simulator, I would have sworn I was on a space shuttle. They’ve made it so realistic that you believe you’re launching into space, with the rumbles, vibration, and 2.4 Gs of force to go with it. And the high resolution displays give you incredibly realistic visuals.

Mission: Space is somewhat of a technical marvel. To build a simulator that accommodates a few astronauts is an achievement, but to build one that can handle 160 people at once (4 centrifuges x 10 capsules per centrifuge x 4 people per capsule) is something special. Fortunately, I had the opportunity not only to ride it, but to get an up-close look at its back side. Michael Siemer, an engineer at Disney’s Ride & Show Engineering, was responsible for the design and production of the space capsules, and was my host. Michael explained that in designing and prototyping the ride, Disney tapped some of the best resources available. Among them were NASA engineers, a well-known simulator and centrifuge designer, and several past and present astronauts.

So, if you don’t expect to launch into space anytime soon, but would like to experience the thrill, visit Epcot. I promise: You won’t regret it!