Sunday, November 22, 2015

Armstrong Air & Space Museum

 Yesterday (11/21) Tom and I drove up to Wapakoneta and toured the Armstrong Air & Space Museum. It's something I've wanted to do since the museum opened in 1972 (three years to the day after the first moon landing). When our family made their twice-a-year trips to Bear Lake, Michigan for vacation, we'd pass the museum. Some day, I thought.

 It was a dark, dismal Saturday but the traffic was light and we didn't encounter any construction on I-75 as we traveled. On the trip home, it had begun to rain but the predicted snow didn't occur until later in the day.

 Armstrong Air & Space Museum

Apollo Command Module (Mock-up) 

Gemini Spacecraft (Mock-up)

Entrance Area to the museum

Neil Armstrong's First Flight 

Items from Armstrong's childhood 

Full-scale mock-up of Sputnik 1

 My family visited my Uncle Joe and Aunt Sally Huesman one evening in October 1957 and we stood atop the river levee in Miamisburg and watched Sputnik fly overhead. I remember it being quite dim and hard to see among the stars. It is actually a small object and it orbited at an altitude of 359 miles so it was no wonder that it didn't present much of a visual target. Even so, we knew nothing would ever again be the same.

Tom would have been too tall for the original astronauts 

Painting of Ohio astronaut John Glenn 

Gemini VIII (the real thing, not a mock-up)

I remember when Neil Armstrong and David Scott flew this first docking mission in March 1966. While the docking with the Agena was accomplished, a thruster stuck and the mission had to be aborted. Armstrong proved his cool head was always in control. Read more about this mission here.

Close-up view of the interior of Gemini VIII
Armstrong sat in the seat closest to me (bottom) 

One of Armstrong's space suits 

Me in front of Gemini VIII 

Apollo command module model (top) and various gear

Close-up of Apollo keyboard
"The astronauts used a keyboard like this one to transfer data to and from
the command module's onboard computer" - AASM

NASA actually called this a DSKY: Display and Keyboard Assembly. I can still remember the terminology from nearly 50 years ago.

Apollo 8's view of the earth and moon - first lunar orbit mission 

A Saturn V engine
(certainly not a main engine; perhaps upper stage?)

I believe this is the plane Armstrong learned to fly in (hung from the ceiling) 

Food used in the Apollo program 

Personal hygiene articles used on Apollo

 Coverall worn by Eugene Cernan (Apollo 17)

American flag carried to the moon aboard Apollo 11 

Painting of Neil Armstrong's first step onto the moon

Bust of Neil Armstrong 

Wapakoneta Daily News headline 

Jim Lovell's coverall 

Awards issued to Neil Armstrong 

 Armstrong's Back-up Space Suit for Apollo 11

Close-up of Armstrong's name on the suit 

Moon rock brought back on Apollo 11 

This is the "starry" view as you approach the central dome 

Official Apollo 11 seal in wood 

Among the well-wishes from around the world is this drawing from France 

An oil painting of Armstrong and Aldrin on the moon 

A painting of Aldrin backing down the LEM ladder. Armstrong is already on the surface. 
(I'm there, too, via a reflection in the glass)

Kids enjoyed this Lunar Landing Simulator 

 A final look at a late-life Neil Armstrong

I talked with a worker at the museum for a few minutes, explaining that I attended Armstrong's homecoming on September 6, 1969. I remember hearing him, Bob Hope and Ohio governor James Rhodes speak at the fairgrounds. About 50,000 attended the event. The museum worker said she'd only been in Wapakoneta for eight years.

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