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Leicester's National Space Centre launches

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The National Space Centre in Leicester opens next week as part of the Millennium Commission's £265m investment in science and technology centres. The £52m attraction was the brainchild of professors at Leicester University, the country's leading space science research centre, and was co-founded by Leicester City Council. Highlights include an interactive exhibition with artefacts, audio-visual displays and simulators to explore the relevance of space to life on Earth; a multi-media plantarium-style domed Space Theatre showing 20 minute shows; and the mission-control-style Challenger Learning Centre, open since October 1999 and running at 100 per cent capacity during school term time. Designed by Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners, the National Space Centre is funded by £26m from the Millennium Commission with matched-funding from organisations and companies including Leicester City Council, Leicester University, BT, and the East Midlands Development Agency. Millennium Commission director, Mike O'Connor, says why he thinks the centre will be a success: The subject is great, the architecture is great, and the location is perfect. Chief executive, Chas Bishop, anticipates the centre will attract 260,000 visitors through its 'wow factor'. The National Space Centre will follow yesterday's Glasgow's Science Centre launch on the River Clyde.

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The National Space Centre in Leicester opens next week as part of the Millennium Commission's £265m investment in science and technology centres.
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