There's a reason it's called the Final Frontier. We've explored almost all of the land masses of this planet, and we are now slowly moving outward, to the stars. Hopefully, in doing so, we will realize how fragile life is here, and gain a new appreciation of the planet that gave us birth. But, it's time to visit the neighbors...
Planets and Stars:
For Kids and Educators:
- Apollo 11 (Columbia/Eagle), first moon landing (July 16-24, 1969)
- Apollo 12 (Yankee Clipper/Intrepid), second moon landing (November 14-24, 1969)
- Apollo 13 (Odyssey/Aquarius), unfortunately falling short of the moon (April 11-17, 1970)
- Apollo 14 (Kitty Hawk/Antares), third moon landing (January 31-February 9, 1971)
- Apollo 15 (Endeavor/Falcon), fourth moon landing (July 26 - August 7, 1971)
- Apollo 16 (Casper/Orion), fifth moon landing (April 16-27,1972)
- Apollo 17 (America/Challenger), sixth and final moon landing (December 7-19, 1972)
- STS-1, first shuttle mission (Columbia, April 12-14, 1981)
- STS 51-L, final mission of Challenger (January 28, 1986)
- STS 107, final mission of Columbia (January 16-February 1, 2003)
- STS-135, final shuttle mission (Atlantis, July 8-21, 2011)
I have had the pleasure of shaking the hands of three astronauts. They are:
- Neil Armstrong (who was accepting an honorary degree at my college at the time, sometime around 1993) -
Gemini VIII (1966), and of course
Apollo 11 (Columbia/Eagle, 1969)
- Jon McBride (December 2007 at Kennedy Space Center - Astronaut Encounter, which they have every day) - STS 41-G (Challenger, 1984)
Your author with Jon McBride, December 2007
- Story Musgrave (September 2012 at WorldCon in Chicago, IL) - six Shuttle missions:
Your author (in Royal Manticoran Navy costume) and a friend with Story Musgrave, September 2012
STS-6 (Challenger, 1983)
STS-51F (Challenger, 1985)
STS-33 (Discovery, 1989)
STS-44 (Atlantis, 1991)
STS-61 (Endeavour, 1993)
STS-80 (Columbia, 1996)
Apollo Command Module Homes:
Of course, the lunar modules never made it home (part left on the surface of the moon, the ascent portion typically crashed back into the moon for moonquake experiments). The command modules are typically on display, throughout the world.
Here is a clever use of Google Maps that shows the locations.
- Apollo 6 - Fernbank Science Center, Atlanta, Georgia
- Apollo 7 - Frontiers of Flight Museum, Dallas, Texas
- Apollo 8 - Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Illinois
Your author with the Apollo 8 command module, April 2009
- Apollo 9 (Gumdrop) - San Diego Aerospace Museum, San Diego, California
- Apollo 10 (Charlie Brown) - Science Museum, London, England
- Apollo 11 (Columbia) - The National Air and Space Museum (Part of the Smithsonian), Washington, D.C.
Your author with the Apollo 11 command module, September 2008
- Apollo 12 (Yankee Clipper) - Virginia Air and Space Center, Hampton, Virginia
- Apollo 13 (Odyssey) - Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, Hutchinson, Kansas
- Apollo 14 (Kitty Hawk) - Astronaut Hall of Fame, Titusville, Florida
- Apollo 15 (Endeavor) - USAF Museum, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio
- Apollo 16 (Casper) - U.S. Space and Rocket Center, Huntsville, Alabama
- Apollo 17 (America) - NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas
- Apollo-Soyuz - California Science Center, Los Angeles, California
- Skylab 2 / Crew 1 - Naval Aviation Museum, Pensacola, Florida
- Skylab 3 / Crew 2 - NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio
- Skylab 4 / Crew 3 - National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C.
Space Shuttle Homes:
Now that the Space Shuttle program is at an end, the four surviving shuttles are being displayed at various museums.
"I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. "
-President John F. Kennedy, in a speech before Congress, May 25, 1961
We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too. "
-President John F. Kennedy, September 12, 1962
That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind."
- Neil Armstrong, upon stepping out of the Eagle onto the surface of the moon, July 20, 1969