Engulfed in 16,000 square feet (1,486 square meters) of protective plastic shrink-wrap since last November, the space shuttle Atlantis awaits unveiling at a new $100 million facility at theKennedy Space Center, scheduled to open June 29, 2013.
Atlantis was the fourth space shuttle built and the final one to fly, taking food and other supplies to the International Space Station before touching down on Earth in the early hours of July 21, 2011. That 135th touchdown brought the 30-year-long space shuttle era to a close.
"Although we got to take the ride," said commander Chris Ferguson after the landing, "we sure hope that everybody who has ever worked on, or touched, or looked at, or envied, or admired a space shuttle was able to take just a little part of the journey with us."
Visitors to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida this summer will get a chance to join the list of admirers with a close-up look at the unwrapped Atlantis, complete with reentry scars.