Space Center Houston is getting ready to open a whole new section called Independence Plaza. The interactive exhibit features a shuttle replica mounted atop the first shuttle carrier aircraft (SCA), NASA 905 — a modified Boeing 747. Visitors can go into the shuttle replica, which has been named Independence, and the SCA, which completed 223 ferry flights with various space shuttles. Space Center Houston is the only center that offers visitors an up-close look at an SCA and a space shuttle.
Along with the general admission ticket, entrance to the shuttle will require a timed, free reservation, which can be obtained online beginning in January. Inside Independence, visitors can take a closer look at the flight deck, mid-deck and payload bay where hands-on activities, multimedia displays and NASA artifacts can be explored. The SCA will have seven areas where visitors can learn about how the airplane was retrofitted to carry the shuttle among other things.
The complex beside the Independence exhibit is eight stories tall and provides visitors information about how the shuttle program advanced space technology. Stories from astronauts, engineers and pilots who were part of the Space Shuttle Program can be found in the exhibits. Other exhibits are designed to encourage its visitors seek careers in fields associated with science, technology, engineering and mathematics.