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Mapping transforms iconic shuttle into King Tut's tomb

The California Science Center chose an ancient Egypt theme for their annual fundraising gala, Discovery Ball, in preparation for the world premiere of “King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh.” This spectacular exhibition is the largest ever toured, with a vast number of artifacts telling the fascinating story of the Boy King. Dataton's WATCHOUT multi-display system was used to metamorphose the main hall at the venue – including the iconic space shuttle, Endeavour – for an unforgettable evening.

To fully explore the theme, projection mapping experts BARTKRESA studio chose to transform the central hall of the center completely, including its eye-catching main attraction: the space shuttle Endeavour. The retired NASA orbiter completed twenty-five missions, traveling a total distance of more than 1.2 million miles. Now permanently stationed at the CSC, the shuttle took the form of King Tut’s sarcophagus for the gala, glittering with gold and jewels. The surrounding walls of the pavilion featured projections of torches illuminating vibrant hieroglyphics. The design motif, suggested by Christina Sion at CSC, was developed by the BKS team who then partnered with WorldStage for the overall technical solution. 

A Dataton WATCHOUT system was used to warp and blend the imagery on the shuttle and walls, with the 20 WATCHOUT servers housed in BKS' new mobile unit, parked outside the venue. WorldStage provided the six Panasonic projectors that mapped the shuttle's fuselage, nose and tail fin, and a further 20 projectors for the pavilion walls. 

As the evening transitioned from dinner, to dancing, the gold in the images morphed into a sparkling turquoise. The combination of strategic designs and high-end technology, provided by BARTKRESA studio, WorldStage and Panasonic, meant the projections were as grandiose as the shuttle, and even King Tut himself. This event also marked the first time that the surface of the Space Shuttle Endeavour, a national symbol of the United States’ space program, had been projection-mapped.

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