The National Space Centre in Leicester opened its £2.4m Human Spaceflight Gallery last weekend, designed by Haley Sharpe Design, in collaboration with the centre’s creative services team.
The consultancy was appointed from a shortlist of four groups early last year. It was briefed to provide the centre with a ‘new dimension to its visitor offer, based around human spaceflight’, according to project designer Jonathan Keight.
Manned spaceflight was found to be one of the most popular areas of the centre’s exhibits, along with the larger interactive elements. The two are combined in the new gallery’s environment – a lunar base set in 2025, dubbed Tranquillity Base.
‘When we opened the centre in June 2001, we knew we’d have to reinvent ourselves all the time to attract repeat visitors from a local audience, as Leicester is not necessarily the most obvious tourist destination,’ says the centre’s chief executive Chas Bishop.
Visitors are allocated a bar code identity card that they can use to undertake a series of interactive tasks. These installations are based on the responsibilities that space explorers would face in running such a facility.
Concepts for the gallery were developed through a collaboration between a team of space scientists, the Space Centre’s creative director Sarah Rusholme and Haley Sharpe. The technical details of each of the interactive installations are based on the scientists’ input. ‘It is a good mix of themed environment and scientific fact,’ says Keight.
The attraction also includes a space ride, with a film created by the in-house creative services team, which was led by creative services manager Andy Gregory.