Spirit Of Exploration


Inspiring the next generation of space explorers and scientists at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, one of America’s most-loved visitor attractions, thousands of visitors were taken on a first of its kind, high-tech journey into space for Spirit of Exploration held during the festive season from December 2015 through January 2016.

Originally commissioned by NASA for the Apollo program, the 223-foot long Saturn 1B rocket located in the open air Rock Garden was transformed into a giant projection surface comprising an eye-watering 6,528 by 1,050-pixel image that used 80,000 lumens of projected light. Visuals were accompanied by a dramatic musical score, actual launch audio, and other sound effects, in conjunction with a “Rocket Garden Light Show” that uses moveable lights to illuminate rockets throughout the Rocket Garden, complete the immersive sensory experience.

The presentation, back for its second year, took guests on a journey through NASA’s history and plans for the future. It used custom animation blended with historic footage of actual launches and awe-inspiring views of Earth to create a completely unique outdoor cinematic experience, complete with stadium-style seating.

To create the spectacular, Delaware North turned to long-term partner and integration experts AV Matters to perform projection mapping, lighting, and sound.

“The unique challenges for this project were the length and curvature of the rocket and to ensure that the striking visuals could be seen from all angles of the festive display,” explained Phil Maingot, managing director at AV Matters.

“We’ve used AV Stumpfl technology for a number of years and for Spirit of Exploration we used the inherent programmability of Wings Engine Stage to ensure that images from 8 projectors were managed as well as  show content and control of over 80 gobo lights for the show. Wings Engine Stage performed flawlessly throughout the duration of the event.”

Set up took minutes thanks to AV Stumpfl Wings Vioso which acted to calibrate, blend and warp the projected image from 8x 20K lumens projectors on to the rocket surface.

Multimedia producers Ninjaneer Studios created custom animation and awe-inspiring views of Earth from the International Space Station and archived NASA footage. These were accompanied with incredible sound effects and music.

“We love projects that push our technologies to new limits and the Spirit of Exploration did just that,” says Kevin Zevchik, US manager at AV Stumpfl Inc.

“The result was a spectacular audiovisual experience that tells the thrilling story of the future of exploration inspiring each individual visitor. We’re proud to help bring this project to fruition in such a satisfyingly technical and creative way.”

The spectacular returns every year. Watch out for the 2016 edition.

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