Friday, November 19, 2010

National Space Centre

The National Space Centre is one of the United Kingdom's leading visitor attractions that is devoted to space science and astronomy. It is located in the city of Leicester, England, next to the River Soar on the A6.  The building was designed by Nicholas Grimshaw, and it opened to the public on 30 June 2001. The tower  is 42 metres tall.
The building is clad in an ETFE skin which is a lightweight and strong polymer.  Its purpose is to house the nozzles of the Blue Streak and PGM-17 Thor rockets. 

The steel substructure wraps a concrete core in a series of ribs 3 meters apart.  Minimalist architecture at is best.

The centre is also home to the original Soyuz spacecraft which had been stored in Georgia, USSR for over 25 years. 
Many hours have been spent to get it in a condition for display.  There was a mob of about 60 school kids visiting when I got there, so I decided to avoid the planetarium and the other exhibits.  Similar to the Rose Center, the excitement of the children was overwhelming.  They were like a hive of bees, chatting so loudly, and completely oblivous to the racket that they were making.  There is something thrilling about space travel that really appeals to the imagination of the young mind.  Just being in a place like this brings back the enthusiasm that I had for attempting to understand the mysteries of the big vacuum in the sky. 

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