Disney and NASA: A Collaboration of Imagination and Engineering
Walt Disney was a pioneer and his legacy continues to outlive him by consistently growing and expanding in creative new directions. Disney is a perfect role model for modern day inventors that face the frustrations of opposition and criticism. Some of the futuristic ideas Walt Disney shared were so advanced that most people scorned the vision of what would eventually become Epcot Center. More importantly, some of the reciprocal themes used in Walt Disney World ventures and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration would soon make lasting history.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration
In the mid 1950s the Congressional Astronautics And Space Exploration Committee diligently searched for a way to end the struggle and finally surpass the Sputnik interstellar programs initiated by the Soviet Union. The Space Race sparked international competition and ultimately led to huge advancements in space exploration and multiple scientific fields including astronomy and meteorology. By 1957 the Soviet Union had successfully launched the first satellite into orbit. In response, the United States created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to rival Russian plans. The ultimate goal for each country was not only to launch and land satellites from earth to orbit but also to eventually put a man on the moon. Sputnik and NASA both reached their respective goals and by 1969 Neil Armstrong, and American astronaut, was the first man to step foot on the moon.
An Imagineering Partnership
By 1982 the dreams of Walt Disney plus the innovative technology and groundbreaking methods used by NASA had largely combined forces and created the second theme park in Walt Disney World. From the amusement park rides that feature G Force simulations of riding in a space shuttle, the Mission: SPACE attractions are fun and adventurous. The Soarin' experience and Rocket to the Red Planet as well as many other learning exhibits located within Future World are both entertaining and inspiring for the future science and space exploration. The hands on approach to learning is well founded and heavily utilized within the Disney "imagineers" workstation.
Disney Contributions To NASA
Inasmuch as NASA technology helped spark Future World attractions, Disney has also been able to contribute to some recent NASA expeditions. Walt Disney World is a popular destination for astronauts to engage the public and encourage students to pursue a career in the industry. Certified astronauts can also be found on the Disney staff to ensure attractions, rides, and voice overs are accurate depictions of NASA's real life experiences. Engineers and staff members from NASA routinely consult with Disney engineers and experts to evaluate and expand their simulations technology and create more effective training programs.