On the East Coast of Florida is a very special place: the Kennedy Space Center. It’s here that history has been made and man has connected itself to the outer reaches of space. But it’s also where cars can go to test their limits. Yes, you read that correctly. You see, the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) is home to one of the longest runways in the world, measuring in at 15,000-feet long and 300-feet wide. Having visited this location, thanks to the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds, I can say that the runway’s size is truly immense and it’s the perfect location for testing vehicles. Automakers know of this location’s capabilities and that’s why Bugatti tested the Chiron hypercar at the Kennedy Space Center. What’s more, a NASA astronaut was on hand to witness the car’s abilities.
Jon McBride, a former NASA astronaut, actually launched from the Kennedy Space Center when he was the pilot of STS-41-G, making this almost like a homecoming for him. For this event, instead of a shuttle, he was inside a French rocket meant for the ground only. “I’ve been on as many craft as you can think of at sea. I’ve flown in space. But the ride in this Bugatti today was one of the highlights of my entire life,” said McBride. “It was a real pleasure.”
After the testing of the car at the SLF, Bugatti says the results “met the engineering team’s high expectations.” The French automaker has noted before that the Chiron is capable of a 0 to 62 mph time of 2.4 seconds and a top speed of 261 mph. It seems the Chiron also beat out McBride’s expectations as well: “I think compared to what I’ve flown the Chiron is probably as good or out-performs them. I mean I’ve felt some good acceleration in my life, but I don’t think anything better than what I experienced today.”