Space Attraction In The Works

Developers of a south Mississippi attraction hope to lure 500-thousand visitors a year by highlighting the state's contributions to the U-S space program. The 50 million dollar space attraction is yet unnamed. It will include hands-on exhibits and simulations.

The 60-thousand-square-foot facility will be built along heavily traveled Interstate 10 near NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center in Hancock County. Rod Hartung, part of a volunteer group spearheading the project, says one big attraction will be an exhibit that simulates the test-firing of a Space Shuttle engine. Also planned are a large-screen, Imax-type theater; a lunar module and a restaurant among other things. Final designs for the project are not yet complete.

Hartung and other volunteers plan to release renderings, specific costs, timetables and other information next month. For now, they're hoping to open the attraction in late 2004.