New exhibit in Tucson sheds light on Arizona’s place in space exploration

Arizona Museum of History (Facebook photo / Arizona History Museum)

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) – A new exhibit at the Arizona History Museum in Tucson aims to ensure that the state’s place in the history of spaceflight is not forgotten.

“Ready to Launch: Arizona’s Place in Space” shows how Grand Canyon State helped create a path to the stars. It will be on display until November 30 at the museum just west of the University of Arizona campus.

Shannon Fleischman, chief curator of the Arizona Historical Society museum, oversaw the exhibit. She said people mostly think of Houston or Cape Canaveral, Florida, when it comes to places in the United States that promote space exploration, but Arizona’s place in the history of the exploration is undeniable.

“Pluto was discovered here. We have trained all of the Apollo astronauts. There are so many things that get overlooked, ”Fleischman Told Arizona Daily Star.

The exhibit includes many relics such as a spacesuit worn by Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin on loan from NASA.

“We didn’t know what combination we were going to get until we opened the case,” Fleischman said. “We were just lucky it was Buzz’s.”

Most of the items are from the university’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, Arizona State University, and the Historical Society’s Collection. It discusses important events like the use of space probes and telescopes to capture the first image of a black hole.

It is divided into two rooms. One is devoted to coverage of crew missions and the other to unmanned missions.

Mark Kelly, a former astronaut turned senator, shared many of his own memories such as a training suit, flight helmet, and logbooks containing his handwritten notes from various shuttle missions.

One of the diaries contained a love letter to Kelly from his wife, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. But no one will be able to read it, including museum staff, Fleischman said.

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