The New Mexico Space History Museum offers a look back at space exploration

In the field of space exploration, scientists have seen major developments across the country. Like in New Mexico, where the impacts have changed lives. That’s what many visitors take away from the State Space History Museum in Alamogordo. From artifacts to modules, the installation focuses on three things: educating, preserving and honoring the pioneers of space exploration in the Land of Enchantment. “The drive to go into space really started in this part of the country and in this part of New Mexico,” said Michael Shinabery, the museum’s educational coordinator. For decades, the state was often considered the prime example of space research and technology before the development of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Like Robert Goddard, who traveled to Roswell in 1930 to begin studies of liquid-fuel rockets. “He died in 1945, a month before German astronauts arrived in this part of the country. They brought rocket technology from Germany,” he said. “These rockets started to get bigger and more efficient. Eventually they became the Saturn V, the 36-story rocket that took our astronauts out of the atmosphere and to the moon in 1969.” The multi-story facility offers a variety of exhibits highlighting key moments in space history, from chimpanzee training to the first moon landing. Shinabery noted that one of the museum’s most prized possessions is a moon rock, which was collected after the historic Apollo 11 mission. “People can actually see that. Maybe it’s something they don’t will see very few other places, they have the opportunity to go to Houston to see it or other places that might feature that,” he said. “We have one from Apollo 17, and it was brought back by an astronaut from New Mexico, Dr. Harrison ‘Jack’ Schmitt from the Albuquerque area. He was the only scientist who ever went into space. All the others have been pilots.” The concept of space is a big passion for staff members like Shinabery. He said he still remembers when his family watched the historic moon landing on TV. He was only 12 years old. “My maternal grandfather came to our house to watch it. He wanted to see them land on the moon before he died, and he had grown up born in 1892 on a farm. He had seen cars and before he died he wanted to see men walking on the moon,” Shinabery said. The educational coordinator now presents himself as a leader for the next generation, educating children in hopes of soaring to an unknown world. “We really hope, as I I was inspired, to inspire these people to become the next link that will move our future forward,” he said. “Our ultimate goal with kids is really to excite them with history and technology. Maybe they’ll be the next generation that will take us to the moon and Mars.” The museum was dedicated to the International Space Hall of Fame in October 1976, and is a division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs , under the direction of the Governor’s Commission of the New Mexico Space History Museum. Programs and exhibits are supported by the International Space Hall of Fame Foundation through the generous support of donors. The facility receives approximately $100,000 visitors per year.To learn more about the New Mexico Museum of Space History, visit their website here.

In the field of space exploration, scientists have seen major developments across the country. Like in New Mexico, where the impacts have changed lives.

This is what many visitors take away from the State Space History Museum in Alamogordo.

From artifacts to modules, the installation focuses on three factors: educating, preserving and honoring the pioneers of space explorations in the Land of Enchantment.

“The drive to go into space really started in this part of the country and in this part of New Mexico,” said Michael Shinabery, the museum’s educational coordinator.

For decades, the state was often seen as the leading example in space research and technology before the development of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Like Robert Goddard, who visited Roswell in 1930 to begin studies of liquid-fuel rockets.

“He died in 1945, a month before German astronauts arrived in this part of the country. They brought rocket technology from Germany,” he said. “These rockets started getting bigger [and] more efficient. Eventually they developed into the Saturn V, which [is] the 36-story rocket that took our astronauts out of the atmosphere and to the moon in 1969.”

The multi-story facility features a variety of exhibits highlighting key moments in space history, from the training of chimpanzees to the first moon landing.

Shinabery noted that one of the museum’s most prized possessions is a moon rock, which was collected after the historic Apollo 11 mission.

“People can see that. Maybe it’s something they’ll see very few other places, [unless] they have the opportunity to go to Houston to see it or other places that might show that,” he said. We have one from Apollo 17, and this was brought back by an astronaut from New Mexico, Dr. Harrison ‘Jack’ Schmitt from the Albuquerque area. He was the only scientist to have gone into space. All the others have been pilots.”

The concept of space is a big passion for staff members like Shinabery.

He said he still remembers when his family watched the historic moon landing on television. He was only 12 years old.

“My maternal grandfather came to our house to watch it. He wanted to see them land on the moon before he died, and he had grown up born in 1892 on a farm. He had seen cars and planes. Before he died, he wanted to see men walking on the moon,” Shinabery said.

The educational coordinator now presents himself as a leader for the next generation, educating children in the hope of soaring to an unknown world.

“We really hope, as I was inspired, to inspire these people to become the next link that will move our future forward,” he said. “Our ultimate goal with kids is really to get them excited about history and technology. Maybe they’ll be the next generation that takes us to the moon and Mars.”

The museum was dedicated as an International Space Hall of Fame in October 1976 and is a division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, under the Governor’s Commission of the New Museum of Space History -Mexico. Programs and exhibits are supported by the International Space Hall of Fame Foundation through the generous support of donors.

The establishment receives around 100,000 visitors a year.

To learn more about the New Mexico Museum of Space History, visit their website here.

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