Coca-Cola Space Science Center to display NASA Space Shuttle's main engine nozzle April 1

dminty@ledger-enquirer.comFebruary 25, 2013 

Columbus State University's Coca-Cola Space Science Center is just over a month away from displaying NASA Space Shuttle parts, including a piece of a main engine nozzle (pictured) that has been in space four times. Guests will be able to view the nozzle piece and other artifacts on April 1.

The objects will first be revealed during a private party for CSU's Hunter Lecture Series on March 28. Astronaut Bernard Harris, the first African American to fly in space, is the event's featured speaker.

In 2010, the Coca-Cola center announced that it would be receiving parts of the NASA collection when NASA no longer needed them due to the end of the space shuttle program. The program, which spanned 30 years and more than 100 missions, ended in 2011, with the 33rd flight of the space shuttle Atlantis landing at Cape Canaveral, Fla., on July 20.

"It's been a long, complicated road to get it to town," Coca-Space Space Science Center executive director Shawn Cruzen said Monday. The building had to be modified to fit the nozzle piece which weighs more than a ton. On Monday afternoon, the storefront glass was missing from near the main entrance in order to bring the space nozzle into the center. It's been in Columbus since July 2012.

On March 5, Cruzen will travel to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to retrieve the final pieces for the exhibit, including an on-board computer and launch escape basket, which Cruzen described as similar to a zip line that astronauts would use if they needed to evacuate a space shuttle on the launch pad.

Various shuttle electronics, astronaut suits, a shuttle tire and tool box will also be on display April 1.

Learn more about the Coca-Cola Space Science Center here.

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