With Space Shuttle flights and other government and commercial
spacecraft routinely blazing skyward over the southern coast, most
Florida residents are accustomed to equating their state with the U.S.
space program.

But when NASA’s traveling Starship 2040 exhibit touches down in
Tallahassee Feb. 13, officials from the Marshall Space Flight Center
in Huntsville, Ala., expect the experience to send northern
Floridian imaginations rocketing into orbit all over again.

The exhibit, managed by the Marshall Center, is touring the nation to
share NASA’s vision of what commercial spaceflight might be like
40 years from now. Visitors board the “spaceship” and
walk through its control, passenger and engineering compartments.
Audio effects such as engine noises, computer and crew voices add to
the realism of the experience.

Starship 2040 will be on display at 402 South Monroe St. in downtown
Tallahassee Feb. 13, opening its doors from 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. to
area schoolchildren and the general public. Housed in a 48-foot
tractor and trailer rig, Starship 2040 is handicapped accessible.
Admission is free.

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.

Such advances are key to making commercial space travel safe and
affordable enough for routine civilian flights as early as 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 public events in Alabama, Mississippi,
Tennessee, Illinois, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Washington,
D.C., Wisconsin, Missouri and California. Future state tours and
appearances are in the works throughout 2002 and beyond.

For more information about the Starship 2040 project and a complete
listing of upcoming tour dates, visit: http://www.starship2040.com

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: