NASA’s Starship 2040 won’t make a thunderous descent from the heavens when
it comes to downtown Sacramento Dec. 19-20. This high-tech “spacecraft”
hitches a ride inside an Earthbound tractor and trailer rig, after all.

But space transportation officials from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center
in Huntsville, Ala., are confident the experience will send visitors’
imaginations rocketing straight into orbit.

Housed in a 48-foot trailer, the Starship 2040 exhibit is designed to share
NASA’s vision of what commercial spaceflight might be like 40 years from
now. Visitors board the “ship” and move through fully realized control,
passenger and engineering compartments. Audio effects – engine noises,
computer and crew voices – add to the realistic ambience of the experience.

Starship 2040 will be in Sacramento for the annual League of California
Cities conference at the Sacramento Convention Center. The exhibit will be
parked outside the convention center at 1400 K Street, and is open to the
public Dec. 19 from 12-6 p.m. and Dec. 20 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission
is free. Starship 2040 is handicapped accessible.

While inside the vehicle, visitors gain insight into technologies now being
investigated by NASA and its partner organizations to increase the safety
and reliability of space transportation systems while dramatically lowering
costs – making commercial space travel safe and affordable enough for
routine civilian flights just a few decades from now.

All the innovations suggested aboard the exhibit – automated vehicle health
monitoring systems, high-energy propulsion drive, navigational aids and
emergency and safety systems – are based on concepts and technologies now
being studied at NASA Centers and academic and industry partner institutions
around the nation.

Starship 2040 has been on the road since February 2001, touring high
schools, universities and a variety of public events in Alabama,
Mississippi, Tennessee, Illinois, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina,
Washington, D.C., Wisconsin and Missouri. Future state tours and
appearances are in the works throughout 2002 and beyond.

For more information about the Starship 2040 exhibit and a complete listing
of upcoming tour dates, visit:

More about NASA Space Transportation Programs

NASA is the nation’s premier agency for development of Space Transportation
systems, including future-generation reusable launch vehicles. Such
systems – the keys to a real Starship 2040 – require revolutionary advances
in critical aerospace technologies, from thermal, magnetic, chemical and
propellantless propulsion systems to new energy sources such as space solar
power or antimatter propulsion. These and other advances are now being
studied, developed and tested at NASA field centers and partner institutions
all over the nation. NASA and its partners also seek innovative materials
and processes technologies, investigating ways to develop safer, stronger
and more durable engines, vehicles, structures and components to handle the
immense power of these futuristic propulsion systems.

The Marshall Center leads all these efforts, aimed at enabling dramatic
improvements in the safety, cost and reliability of future space
transportation systems. For more information about NASA Space
Transportation Systems, visit: