February has been an amazing month at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center (USSRC) from the “Searching for Skylab” premiere to the brand new exhibit “Apollo: When We Went to the Moon”. The good news is the February fun isn’t over yet. On Thursday, Intuitive Research and Technology Corporation (INTUITIVE®) and the USSRC will cut the ribbon on the state of the art INTUITIVE Planetarium.
The new planetarium replaces Spacedome IMAX theater that opened at the center in late 1982. At that time the theater was considered the best of the best featuring amazing 70-mm IMAX films in the dome format what has wowed audiences for over 35 years. As with everything in our modern society, technology has evolved into something even more amazing. Just like in 1982, the USSRC, with the support of INTUITIVE, have made an amazing investment in the latest state of the art technology that will entertain and educate thousands of visitors for years to come.
This isn’t your run of the mill planetarium
I’ve visited many planetariums around the country and often leave shows feeling a bit underwhelmed. The content seemed stale, the quality of the show was poor and in one case the facility didn’t have air conditioning and I made the mistake of visiting in August. This is where the new INTUITIVE Planetarium changes the game. The entire facility has received a makeover from the ground up.
Lobby – The lobby area has received a much-needed makeover that includes new flooring and updated concessions area.
Seating – New seating offers a bit more space as the number of seats drops from 257 to 249.
Dome Screen – A new Spitz NanoSeam dome screen has been installed that will ensure that the content displayed is distraction free and uniform.
Projection System – The upgraded planetarium will use the first Evans & Sutherland “ESX” cinema system installed in the world, which includes five Christie D4K40-RGB RealLaser projectors. The new projectors, along with the Digistar 6 planetarium software, will present audiences with an amazing presentation in stunning and brilliant True8K quality.
As for content, the planetarium will have a full schedule of well-known planetarium shows for all ages including Destination Solar System, Explore and Galileo: First Light. Additionally, the planetarium will also have the ability to feature in-house created content and the ability to stream live content from around the world making the planetarium something that never gets old or stale. The center is also offering a full slate of after-hours events kicking off with “Cocktails and Cosmos: The Orion Nebula,” on Friday, March 8 at 6:30 p.m
Wes is a two time Space Camp graduate and space enthusiast with a love of North Alabama. When he isn't busy being a dad he enjoys travel, volunteering and working his life away. All comments are my own.