Last month, the Kennedy Space Center opened the Shuttle Launch Experience, an amusement-park ride that allows people to experience the feeling of a space shuttle liftoff:
The $60 million project employs seat rumblers and shakers that rattle riders through the turbulent main engine start, the firing of the solid rocket boosters and then their separation.
Air bags in each seat sink and rise to capture the sensation of extreme acceleration. The shuttle's windshield, an 84-inch high-def screen, is enveloped in fire when the external tanks separate.
Inside the capsule, riders are subject to an onslaught of 13-channel sound, from the roar of the engines to the commander barking instructions. Low-frequency sound vibrates the riders' chests, evoking the feeling of being unable to breathe. [...]
According to Rogers, some astronauts who have experienced the exhibit have reported it to be more realistic than some of NASA's and the military's own training simulators.