April 12, 1981, was a Sunday. On that day, about a 100 miles away from my central Florida home, at 7:03 in the morning, the shuttle Columbia lifted off from Kennedy Space Center, a fiery ball of wonder lit the morning sky and new era was born. Even as a 14-year-old girl seeing that distant light, I knew the world had just changed. For the next four years, every time a shuttle launched, my rural high school would pause classes long enough for the students and faculty to watch that single line of smoke blaze a trail into our imaginations.
After graduating from FSU, I moved to Orlando, FL, and in all the following years, whenever I could I would stop what I was doing on launch days (or even better, nights!) and look toward the east, just to see it rise again and again. The Shuttle Program has been part of my life for the past three decades. Who’d have thought, all those years ago, that today I’d be working with Kennedy Space Center and the NASA team to honor this extraordinary achievement: NASA’s Space Shuttle Program and Atlantis, the last shuttle to fly in space. I am beyond giddy with joy!
Jeff Stuckey (DNC Content Specialist), Stasha Boyd (Q Media Writer/Producer) and Eric Stiles (NASA Content and Exhibitions Specialist) standing beneath Atlantis while she was still wrapped in protective plastic.
Last year, Q Media developed, wrote, and produced Audacious Vision: The Kennedy Space Center Audio Tour covering the history of KSC from Atlas through the Apollo programs and beyond. Soon we’ll complete the expansion to include the unprecedented Shuttle Program and Atlantis Exhibit. The tour is offered in English, Spanish, German, Italian, French, Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese, and Mandarin. It will also be available in American Sign Language and Audio Description. In addition, we’re providing synchronized foreign language translations of four of the exhibit’s film components as well as adding a foreign language option, via the audio guides, to the videos which play on the tour buses that shuttle guests from the main Visitor Complex, around the secure launch facilities, to the Apollo/Saturn V Visitor Center.
By the time all is said and done, the Q Media production team will include dozens of dedicated professionals — translators, directors, coordinators, voice talent, and engineers — all working towards a common goal: telling the KSC/NASA story. And while we’re not so lofty as to think our contribution is on the scale of the great space missions, we’re thrilled to do our small part to honor the men and women who moved us light-years forward in scientific knowledge and understanding.