Visitor Complex officials said the 65,000-square-foot exhibit for Atlantis would be "the marquee element" of a 10-year master plan to attract more tourists to the site, Florida Today reported.
Christopher Ferguson, the commander of the last spaceflight of Atlantis, was among those attending the Wednesday groundbreaking ceremony.
The exhibit will provide visitors an up-close look at Atlantis, which carried out the final shuttle mission in July commanded by Ferguson.
Atlantis is set to head to the Visitor Complex in November, with the exhibit scheduled to open in the summer of 2013.
The other retired shuttle orbiters also are being prepared for their final homes, with Discovery set for the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum and Endeavour heading to the California Science Center.