When the 11th annual National Manufacturing Week expo opens March 5 in Chicago, more than 60,000 industry professionals will glimpse the future of space commerce and tourism aboard “Starship 2040,” a futuristic space transportation exhibit developed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

Housed in a
48-foot (14.6-meter) tractor and trailer rig, Starship 2040 invites
visitors to experience what commercial spaceflight might be like 40
years from now. The exhibit may not escape Earth’s gravity, but it should
send the imaginations of thousands of show attendees into orbit.

Starship 2040
will “dock” in Booth 9370 on the trade show floor throughout the expo
March 5-8. The annual event, to be held at the McCormick Place Complex
in downtown Chicago, is geared toward industry and trade professionals
working in every facet of manufacturing and is among the largest such
trade shows in the world.

Visitors to
Starship 2040 walk through a mock-up of the spacecraft’s control, passenger
and engineering compartments, gaining insight into technologies that
eventually will make such an out-of-this-world experience as routine
as air travel.

“The Starship
2040 exhibit will inform and excite visitors of all ages about possible
future technologies and commercial opportunities in space,” says Dr.
Row Rogacki, director of the Space Transportation Directorate at Marshall.
“More importantly, Starship 2040 illustrates real-world technology challenges
now being met by NASA and our partners in industry, academia and government.

“This isn’t
just science fiction,” Rogacki adds. “We intend to make a future much
like the one demonstrated by Starship 2040 a near-term reality.”

Its appearance
at the National Manufacturing Week conference and exhibition marks Starship
2040’s first stop on a nationwide series of public tours and visits
to national-level conferences.

NASA is the
nation’s premier agency for development of reusable launch vehicle technologies.
The Marshall Space Flight Center is leading this effort, aimed at enabling
dramatic improvements in the safety, cost and reliability of future
space transportation systems.

For more information
about the Starship 2040 exhibit, visit: