Fly to the moon

Fly to the moon

1 February 2024 Off By Facto Edizioni

/ A professional-lever lunar mission simulator now open in Toulouse, France /

The space race is on! It was on once before when we registered the great advancements in Cold War years and the 1969 success of man on the Moon; now, after decades of decline, it is back on, with several countries vying to put again a man on the Moon or, even, on Mars. Want to be one of the lucky few who get to explore the lunar surface? Now you can, and quite easily: on November 14th, 2023, French space-themed science park Cité de l’Espace in Toulouse opened its latest attraction, the LuneXplorer. The 40-minute experience allows passengers to live through a lift-off and a lunar landing, while teaching them about the main steps for man’s future return on Earth’s only natural satellite.

In keeping with Cité de l’Espace’s mission of scientific dissemination, the experience was based on official data from NASA and the European Space Agency. It consists of four stages. In stage 1, “Preparation”, participants are guided by a scientific facilitator through an exhibit where they discover space missions of the past, like Apollo, and of the present, like Artemis; here they also learn about the essential equipment needed on a space mission, like the spaceship, spacesuit, and astronaut’s backpack. In stage 2, “Briefing”, visitors are introduced in the briefing room in groups of 40 and, after they are divided in 4-persons teams, they listen to ESA astronauts Thomas Pesquet, Claudie Haigneré, Samantha Cristoforetti and Matthias Maurer as they explain the details of the mission. Stage 3, “Mission to the Moon”, is the interactive ride itself, with a duration of 7 minutes. Finally, as in all space adventures, the mission ends with a “Debriefing” in stage 4, where the four ESA astronauts talk again to passengers from a video, giving detailed data on the mission (speed, G levels, etc.), as well as more information on future real-world space missions, like the ones that are supposed to bring man on Mars.

The ride section of LuneXplorer was designed and manufactured by Intamin, who state that: “Not just an attraction, LuneXplorer is also a scientific experiment. The primary goal is to immerse passengers in the experience of being astronauts.” The set design and theming were completed by a lineup of French companies including video content by Videlio, sound effects by DECO Diffusion, and more. Passengers are seated inside 10 cabins, with 4 seats each, and the equipment operates on a centrifuge principle, where the rotation speed induces acceleration on guests designed to mimic the effect of a rocket launch module, with an up to 2G pressure lift-off.

“In a spaceship, you would…

Continue reading Games & Parks Industry January 2024, page 46

Photos Courtesy: © Cité de l’Espace

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