Range Tracking

Heroes and Legends: The Exhibit

The new Heroes and Legends exhibit at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (KSCVC) melds the old U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, which originally was its own facility six miles to the west of KSCVC, with the history of early spaceflight exhibit that used to be onsite at the Visitor Complex. The new exhibit displays artifacts from the Mercury and Gemini programs along with pop culture visions of spaceflight side-by-side with dramatic, high tech 3-D simulations of early space flight missions with astronauts and others relating their stories of how space touched their lives. These photographs were taken during the grand opening on 11 November 2016.
The entrance ramp to the second floor main entrance cuts through the Rocket Garden.
The walls come to life in the first stop where people from all walks of life talk about the space program.
Star Trek actor and social activist George Takei has a few words to say during this first stop.
The robot from Lost in Space, once prominently displayed in the old space exploration exhibit, now only makes a cameo appearance, and that is so quick it is easy to miss.
Rockets from the early days through Apollo.
One of the most dramatic new exhibits is the new auditorium showing a wraparound 3D film of early spaceflights complete with well-placed wind effects to add to the authenticity – making it actually 4D?. Here guests wait for the experience to start.
A Mercury-Redstone rocket hangs from the ceiling with the Sigma 7 spacecraft attached, which was flown by Wally Schirra for six orbits of the Earth on 3 October 1962 as part of the Mercury Program. Interestingly, Sigma 7 was actually launched by an Atlas rocket but the exhibit is good in its portrayal of the first two manned Mercury flights, which both used Redstone rockets.
Part of the fun of the exhibit is to see the old toys, games, and other period pieces reflecting different visions of what spaceflight would be like. Here is a Buck Rogers 25th Century Communications Outfit.
A Flash Gordon Space Compass! How cool is that?
The early astronauts were all jet pilots and some of their helmets are on display. Top two: Frank Borman and Gerald Carr. Center: Michael Collins. Bottom two: Bob Crippen and John Glenn
The checklist used by the astronauts for the balloon experiments on Mercury-Atlas flights 7 & 9. Neither flight had particular success with the experiment.
Some of the actual equipment used in Mercury Control set up as it would have been for John Glenn’s orbital flight in 1962.
Another view of Mercury Control.
Another view of Mercury Control.
A commemorative piece for Alan Shepard’s suborbital Mercury flight.
Gus Grissom’s spacesuit from his suborbital Mercury flight on 21 July 1961.
The Gemini 9A spacecraft flown by Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan from 3 – 6 June 1966. Besides rendezvousing with an unmanned spacecraft already in orbit, Gene Cernan became the third person to ever perform a spacewalk.
The entrance to the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame through which one exits Heroes and Legends. Induction into the Hall of Fame is not automatic for astronauts but comes about after being scrutinized “. . . by a blue-ribbon committee composed of former NASA officials and flight controllers, journalists, historians and other space authorities. The Astronaut Hall of Fame honors astronauts for their accomplishments in space and contributions to the advancement of space exploration” according to a Boeing press release.
The Mercury Seven astronauts founded the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame and are remembered in this image on a glass wall in the hall.

Click to view Heroes and Legends: The Astronauts.

One comment

  1. Pingback: Heroes and Legends: The Astronauts | Range Tracking

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