From the earliest days of circling the planet in a tiny NASA capsule to Elon Musk’s current commercial SpaceX journeys, Houston and space travel will forever be linked.
So it’s fitting that an unprecedented new immersive experience centered on the International Space Station is making its U.S. debut in Space City. The Infinite — a multi-sensory, interactive virtual reality event — will zoom into Houston’s Sawyer Yards beginning December 20 for a special limited run, organizers recently announced.
The sprawling, 12,500-square-foot exhibition shuttles viewers into a never-before-seen perspective of life on the ISS, creating an almost-too-real feeling of being in outer space.
Tickets are on sale now for a soft open preview period; admission is $29. Tickets then jump to $36 for the full-scale limited engagement that starts on January 13, 2022.
Footage shot over a period of nearly three years creates some 200 hours of high-end virtual reality scenes, coming together in a four-part immersive series that documents the life of eight international astronauts inside — and outside — the International Space Station. (The outside experience promises to be especially out of this world.)
The show comes to Houston off a wildly popular Canadian run in Montreal. No other Texas or U.S. engagements are currently listed for the show.
Specific to this Houston launch is new footage from the first-ever cinematic spacewalk captured in 3D — a 360-degree virtual reality scene shot from outside the International Space Station on September 12, 2021 — giving visitors a self-directed experience aboard the ISS itself, according to a press release.
Throughout the 60-minute journey, viewers will engage with physical objects, virtual reality, multimedia art, soundscapes, light design, and even the subtle scents of a forest, meant to evoke memories of stargazing while lying on the grass.
The Infinite is the brainchild of Montreal-based Infinity Experiences, a joint venture of PHI Studio and Felix & Paul Studios, and is an extension of the recent primetime Emmy Award-winning immersive series Space Explorers: The ISS Experience, the largest production ever filmed in space.
That this show will run next year is also especially timely for Houston’s space saga. Next year marks the 60th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s famous moon-shot speech given at Rice University on September 12, 1962. That speech, with its now legendary “we choose to go to the moon” line, galvanized the nation and propelled the U.S. into a space race that found Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon only seven years later.
“The exploration of space and the unknown is an endless source of fascination to us,” says Félix Lajeunesse, co-founder of Felix & Paul Studios and creative director of The Infinite, in a statement.
“We are thrilled to bring The Infinite to Houston — the global epicenter of human space exploration — to share this massive, fully immersive exhibition, and we look forward to virtually transporting thousands of people off the Earth to enjoy the joy and wonder of space with audiences in the U.S.,” he continues. “This unprecedented project is made possible thanks to our partners at NASA, the ISS National Lab, international space agencies, and the incredible power of virtual reality.”