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News Article

UTC and Otis Donate Elevators to New Space Center Houston Shuttle Exhibit

The nonprofit Space Center Houston opened the new international landmark Independence Plaza on Jan. 23. The exhibit features two elevators donated by Otis. (Photo courtesy of Space Center Houston)
The Otis Gen2® elevators arrive on site at Space Center Houston in October 2015.
Installation progress of the Otis elevators at Space Center Houston.
Space Shuttle replica Independence en route from Florida to Space Center Houston. (Photo courtesy of Space Center Houston)
Installing the steel tower that holds the Otis elevators. (Photo courtesy of Space Center Houston)
The completed Otis elevator units.
Skydivers descend to the ground on Jan. 23 to celebrate Independence Plaza's opening. (Photo courtesy of Space Center Houston)

UTC and Otis have donated two new elevators to the Independence Plaza exhibit at Space Center Houston. The two Gen2® elevators, valued at $325,000 will transport visitors through the eight-story-tall multi-exhibit complex.

Opening to guests on Jan. 23, Independence Plaza features the original Boeing 747 shuttle carrier aircraft and the replica space shuttle Independence. The Otis elevators will deliver visitors to the space shuttle deck at the start of the exhibit, and from there they’ll descend though the 30-year mission history of the space shuttle program.

“We’ve made these elevators an important part of the visitor experience – lifting them to where they can see how astronauts piloted the shuttles during missions,” said Richard E. Allen Jr., president and CEO of Space Center Houston. “Thanks to Otis and United Technologies, this exhibit will challenge visitors to think about innovation and creativity.”

The Boeing 747 shuttle carrier aircraft is the largest intact artifact from the shuttle program, and guests will be able to walk through seven interactive areas on the aircraft to view the complex technology and teamwork throughout the many facets of the space shuttle program.

As the official visitor center for the NASA Johnson Space Center, Space Center Houston hosts nearly 1 million annual visitors, including over 100,000 teachers and students. Space Center Houston’s display of innovative Space Age artifacts will engage students to explore the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

United Technologies is a platinum-level sponsor for the $12 million Bring the Legacy Home capital campaign for Space Center Houston’s International Plaza. In addition to the Otis elevator donation, the Boeing 747 shuttle carrier aircraft features Pratt & Whitney JT9D engines and hardware components from UTC Aerospace Systems.

UTC Aerospace Systems has a strong legacy in Houston and is the current supplier for NASA’s Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU, spacesuit). It also provides components on the International Space Station and NASA’s upcoming Orion spacecraft.

“Otis is proud to support this educative exhibit,” said Tom Vining, president, Otis, North America. “We hope Independence Plaza will inspire generations of scientists and explorers who shoot for the stars.”

About Space Center Houston:

The Manned Space Flight Education Foundation Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational foundation with an extensive science education program and a space museum. The cornerstone of its science education mission is Space Center Houston. It is one of Houston’s top attractions, the area’s No. 1 attraction for international visitors, the Official Visitor Center of NASA Johnson Space Center and the only Smithsonian Affiliate in the greater Houston area. Since opening in 1992, Space Center Houston has welcomed more than 17 million visitors. To learn more about Space Center Houston and Independence Plaza, visit its website.