August 3, 2012
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center 50th Anniversary Celebrated By Google Street View Tour
[ Watch the Video: Google Maps in Partnership with NASA ]
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe OnlineGoogle and NASA are combining forces to give Internet users the opportunity to peek inside the space agency's Kennedy Space Center.
The Internet giant's Street View service is allowing fans to see some behind-the-scene panoramic views of the space center, including a look at the space shuttles in the final months of their decommissioning.
The Street View tour takes Internet visitors on a trip to the center's Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), as well as shuttle launch pads and control rooms.
Google's Ryan Falor, who heads the mapping effort's special collections team, said his favorite part of the Street View tour was the zip-line basket meant for emergency crew escapes. These baskets were used in emergencies to travel from the top of the space shuttle, to an armored rescue vehicle on the ground.
It took about 6,000 photos in order to put together the virtual tour, which is part of a 50th anniversary celebration for the Kennedy Space Center.
"It's quite fitting we did this around the 50th anniversary," Falor said.
The images show the timeframe before Atlantis and Endeavour headed towards their final destinations, and before some facilities underwent the wrecking ball.
The Street View allows users to move around the sites as if they were actually stepping foot inside the assemblies, giving the ability to even walk underneath the shuttle and see thousands of the ceramic tiles.
Other rooms available to view hold individual shuttle engines, and users can even visit the Apollo/Saturn V Center and various museum rooms with old space suits.
NASA said the tour gives users amazing views that typically are only seen by employees and astronauts.
"Now space enthusiasts around the world can take a virtual walk through the transfer aisle of the cavernous Vehicle Assembly Building, stand at the top of Launch Pad 39A, and more, thanks to a new partnership between Kennedy and Google Maps with Street View," NASA wrote in a prepared statement.
Google says the virtual tour is the largest special Street View Project to date. A video created by NASA demonstrating what can be seen by using the Street View is available on redOrbit.