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‘Star Trek’ launching near NASA spaceport

A slice of "Star Trek" will warp into the visitor's center for Kennedy Space Center spaceport in Florida this June with the world premiere of the interactive stage show STAR TREK LIVE.
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A slice of "Star Trek's" final frontier will warp into the visitor's center for NASA's Kennedy Space Center spaceport in Florida this June with the world premiere of the interactive stage show STAR TREK LIVE.

Featuring live actors on a set with giant screens and special effects, the program aims to entertain and educate about life in space through the futuristic lens of the starship Enterprise at the non-profit Kennedy Space Center Visitor's Complex in Cape Canaveral, Fla., near NASA's space shuttle launch site.

The 30-minute show's interactive storyline sets up the audience as cadets in the inaugural class at Starfleet Academy. While contending with an unwelcome visit from a time traveling, renegade Romulan, audience members will discover the many challenges of modern-day space travel, as well as how humans will continue to (boldly) go where no one has gone before.

Beaming up real space-age technology
One example is the fictional deflector shields that "Star Trek's" ships rely on to scatter the rare, small but potentially hull-puncturing bits of dust and matter in their paths. To demonstrate how much damage can be done, an air cannon will blast a piece of material through a sheet of aluminum right on stage.

This very-real threat of space debris — a big concern of NASA's for the safety of astronauts and the integrity of the International Space Station and satellites — is just one of many educational points that STAR TREK LIVE hopes to get across.

"We try to tie NASA in as much as humanly possible," said Leonard Lipes, STAR TREK LIVE producer and productions managing director of Mad Science Productions, which is creating the theatrical show under a license from CBS Consumer Products.

The Apollo moon landings plus other aspects of spaceflight of the past, present and future will get wrapped into what promises to be an exhilarating adventure as the audience saves the day, Star Trek-style, said Lipes.

Trek-inspired science ... and some cameos
In many ways, the "Star Trek" franchise has already presaged plenty of real-life technology. An instance that the show touches on is modern cell phones, which mirror the then-futuristic, flip-phone communicators of the original 1960s show chronicling the voyages of Captain Kirk and his crew.

Speaking of Kirk — though Lipes cannot provide details at this point – the swashbuckling starship commander and his stoic Vulcan counterpart Spock will make on-screen appearance at the show.

STAR TREK LIVE will run five times daily in a 300-seat theater and comes included in regular admission to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The worldwide debut will be at the space center on June 11, 2010.