posted 08-11-2007 03:58 PM
I wanted to add my two cents on the Shuttle Launch Experience (SLE), as someone who has experienced Mission: Space at Epcot and NASA's Motion Base (MB) simulator in B5 at Johnson Space Center.
As for myself, I have a Ph.D. in physiology and I completed a postdoc in neuroscience with experience in virtual reality and sensory perception. I have experienced over 90 minutes of weightlessness on the Vomit Comet.
I was pleasantly impressed with SLE! I highly recommend the ride to anyone. I don't think that people prone to motion sickness would have a significant problem with this ride.
About the launch, there was a LOT more shaking and vibration on the SLE than on the MB. I think that makes this a more realistic simulation of a space shuttle launch. I was grinning widely during the whole ride!
I also enjoyed the effect of throttling - there was a pretty effective sensation of acceleration and deceleration.
Most surprising was the effect of weightlessness. I actually felt like I was floating away from my seat for several seconds!
Importantly, the SLE is not an overly Disney-fied version of a space shuttle launch. The premise is that you are experiencing a ride on a space shuttle simulator with a NASA flight crew at the controls.
I give SLE a thumbs up.
I also want to praise KSCVC for obviously listening to it's customer feedback. I would guess that most visitors to KSCVC want to meet an astronaut and want to experience a space shuttle launch. A few years ago, I would have classified such suggestions as preposterous. KSCVC has made both possible.