HUTCHINSON, Kan. – SpaceWorks – the exhibit design and spacecraft restoration division of the Kansas Cosmosphere & Space Center – has just completed its latest preservation project: a 12,000-pound Apollo test capsule for the Columbia Memorial Space Center in Downey, Calif. With strict adherence to restoration techniques approved by the National Air & Space Museum, the project took eight weeks to complete.
Known as “Boilerplate #19A,” the test capsule with the not-so-fancy name has a definite place in space lore. Identical to those used on Moon missions, this capsule was dropped multiple times from a C-133 cargo plane, allowing NASA engineers to test the craft and parachute recovery systems without endangering human life.
“Compared to other remaining capsules from the Apollo era, this particular artifact was exceptional, due the fact that it still contained original components,” Hollowell said. “SpaceWorks stabilized the original materials, cleaned and preserved the surfaces and prepared the capsule for full-time exhibition.”
SpaceWorks has nine new project bids pending approval by customers, totaling more than $350,000, Hollowell said. Chief among them is the opportunity to produce the display case for Mercury Astronaut Alan Shepard’s Freedom 7 capsule, which is being relocated from the U.S. Naval Academy to the John F. Kennedy Museum in Boston.
“Museums worldwide have been affected by the economy, so new exhibits and restoration have been primarily on hold for the last several years,” Hollowell said. “We are starting to see signs of economic recovery, and museums are now eager to get back on track with their exhibitions and collections. The bids we currently have pending represent more than half of SpaceWorks’ annual budget, and we expect to see more bid opportunities yet this year.”
Another recent SpaceWorks project was to build an Apollo Command Module and Lunar Module Ascent Stage replica for the exhibition, “NASA: A Human Adventure. ” The exhibition opened in Stockholm last year before moving to its current location at Casa de Campo in Madrid, Spain. Besides the replicas built by SpaceWorks, the exhibit also displays 157 artifacts from the Cosmosphere’s collection.
The Smithsonian-affiliated Cosmosphere houses the largest collection of space artifacts outside the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC. It also houses the largest collection of Russian space artifacts outside of Moscow. The internationally acclaimed Cosmosphere astronaut camps have been conducted for children and adults of all ages for more than 25 years.
The Cosmosphere is located at 1100 N. Plum in Hutchinson. Call 800-397-0330 or visit www.cosmo.org
Contact Name: Dianne Blick
Contact Phone: 620.665.9339
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