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Making more illuminating use out of an old Nazi rocket bunker in northern France, RSA Cosmos has repurposed the massive hanger as a new state-of-the art 3D planetarium that promises patrons "unforgettable journeys through the Universe in an ultra-modern 360-degree environment.”
La Coupole is a giant bunker complex located beside the Saint Omer in the Pas-de-Calais district that was constructed by German forces to launch deadly V-2 rockets targeted at London and southern England during the dark days of WWII.
The facility was bombarded by Allied forces during the war and eventually taken out and captured in September of 1944. Winston Churchill requested that it be semi-demolished to prevent it from ever being used as a military site again. This historic complex was later employed for the Apollo program before it was neglected and abandoned. Starting in the late 1990s, La Coupole was redesigned as a historic war museum open to the public.
With a brand new lease on life, the museum’s fancy planetarium is now fortified with a fresh digital system. RSA Cosmos hoped to improve the quality of the mesmerizing 3D experience, which now bills itself as the very first in the world to present 10K 3D visuals at the meridian.
These stunning sky images are possible thanks to a combination of the company's SkyExplorer 2021 software and a dozen of Sony's VPL-GTZ380 4K projectors installed in a 49-ft digital dome.
The $80,000, top-of-the-line SXRD laser projectors blast out a brilliant 10,000 lumens and support 100 percent of the entire DCI-P3 color gamut. They’re fully capable of scene-by-scene contrast adjustment, contains built-in technology to limit motion blur, and is also able to enhance the color and contrast of individual objects found within the thrown image for improved clarity.
"The goal of this modernization project was to achieve an image quality we no longer had," said La Coupole's planetarium manager, Nicolas Fiolet, in an official press release. "Thanks to the Sony projectors we obtain a magnificent sky, splendid colors and great contrasts."
In addition, this transformative project had RSA Cosmos upgrading the lighting and installing comfortable new seating, each with built-in armrests featuring a special control panel that allows for audience interaction. This feature even lets stargazing visitors take control of the camera in projected simulations for a more thrilling heavenly experience.