|Air Force Space & Missile Museum aerial view|
This is the Air Force Space & Missile Museum. It is situated at historic Complex 26 (the site of America's
first satellite launch). This museum covers the breadth of the U.S. rocketry program, with displays
ranging from captured V-2 hardware to space capsules. There are over 50 outdoor displays, including
ICBMs, rocket engines, cruise missiles, boilerplate space capsules, and training equipment. A focal
point of the outdoor exhibits is Complex 26, Pad B, where a gantry and Redstone rocket (the red gantry in the
photo above) stand. Pad A (to the right of Pad B, where a Thor-Able rocket now stands) is where
America entered into the Space Race with the launch of Explorer I in 1958. The other exhibits include
well-known vehicles like the Atlas and the Titan, as well as lesser-known ones like the Bull Goose and
Snark. Many of the display items are one of a kind.
The Complex 26 blockhouse and an adjacent exhibit hall are also part of the Museum. The blockhouse,
situated 400 feet from either pad, looks much like it did in the late 1950's, full of equipment used to
control and monitor a launch. Both the blockhouse and the exhibit hall contain documents and
artifacts that chronicle the history of the Space Age.
To the south of the Museum (walking distance) is Complex 5/6. Complex 5 is the launch site of America's
first manned space flight, Freedom 7. Complex 5/6 is on Museum property, but the two rockets and
blockhouse (you'll see them all on later pages) are the property of NASA.
The Museum has been open to the public since 1966. Normally, it may be visited just by driving in from
Gate 1 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Unfortunately, since March of 1998,
CCAFS (along with other
military installations) have been under "Threatcon Alpha" in response to the bombings of U.S.
embassies in Africa. This prevents people without official business from driving onto the base, and will remain in
force indefinitely. As of this writing, the only way to visit the Museum is by taking the "Cape Canaveral:
Then and Now" bus tour from Kennedy Space Center.
Photo Copyright © 1999
Joe Marino/Aerospace Reports Photographic Services.
Joe is a staff photographer for the National Space Society.
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