Steel Structure Trivia: Disney’s Iconic Ball

If you’re planning a Disney World excursion around the upcoming NASCC: The Steel Conference in April, you’ll appreciate knowing that the park’s most recognizable structure — Spaceship Earth at Epcot — is built with an extraordinary steel frame. Opened in 1982, this 180-ft-tall engineering marvel took about two years to build and consists of a 400-ton structural steel frame supporting the world’s first complete geodesic sphere. The 18-story structure is actually two separate spherical structures, one inside the other. The inner sphere is composed of 1,450 structural steel members arranged in a giant triangular fashion and it is the weatherproof enclosure for the attraction. The inner core also contains decking at several levels and a spiral route for Spaceship Earth's ride system. (Photo: Katie Rommel-Esham)

Our February trivia question is:

The designers of Spaceship Earth drew inspiration from the design of another steel structure. What is the name and location of the structure that was an influence in the design of Spaceship Earth?


The correct answer is the Montreal Biosphere in Montreal, Canada, which was the United States’ pavilion for the 1967 World Exposition. To read more about Spaceship Earth’s design and construction, see the article “Spaceship Earth: Gateway to Tomorrow” from back in our April 1982 issue.

Congratulations to our winners! They are: Jeff Rodeheaver, detailing manager for SWF Industrial, Inc., Wrightsville, Pa.; and Nep Viajar, a civil/structural engineer with Fluor Corp., Houston. (This is the 10th win for Viajar! In recognition of his outstanding participation in our monthly trivia contests, he will also receive a hardbound copy of the 2nd Edition AISC Seismic Design Manual. You too can receive a special bonus prize when you reach 10 wins in our monthly trivia contests!)

You can test your steel structure knowledge right here on our MSC website on the last Friday of each month, where a new trivia question will be posted to the News section. Our next challenge will be posted on Friday, March 25 at noon CT.