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AIR FORCE SPACE AND MISSILE MUSEUM

Posted 7/12/2013 Printable Fact Sheet

191 Museum Circle
Patrick AFB, FL 32925-2535 
321-853-9171 or e-mail: airforcespaceandmissilemuseum@patrick.af.mil

The Air Force Space and Missile Museum at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station preserves both the hardware and the spirit of United State's ventures into space. The museum displays numerous missiles, rockets and related space equipment and is open daily.
Its primary mission is to collect, restore, and exhibit items of historical significance which relate to the development and heritage of U.S. Air Force space launch activities. This unique museum highlights the Air Force as a major participant in America's space program and emphasizes activities at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station beginning in early 1950 and continuing today.

Since opening to the public in 1966, the museum has introduced millions of visitors to the history of rocketry and space flight. The museum is located at Launch Complex 26, the site of the first successful launch of an American satellite, Explorer I, in 1958 by the U.S. Army. Beginning with early Redstone, Jupiter and Juno flights in 1957, Complex 26 hosted 36 launches until its deactivation in 1963. Three primates, Gordo, Able and Miss Baker, were launched here in 1958 and 1959, paving the way for future manned space flights. Complex 26 also served as the site of numerous Jupiter launches as part of NATO's combat training program for Italian and Turkish missile crews through the early 1960s. 

Visiting the Museum

ASMMThe museum is open to the general public via a bus tour that originates from Kennedy Space Center's Visitor Complex. NASA/Delaware North Parks Service operates a bus tour 7 days a week (launch schedule permitting) called "Cape Canaveral: Then and Now." The tour lasts about 2 1/2 hours and includes a stop at the museum, NASA's Launch Complex 5/6, and various other historic launch complexes at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. For more information about the tour call (321) 452-2121 or (321) 449-4322. If you have a group of 15 or more people, and would like to arrange a tour, please contact 45th Space Wing Community Relations office two weeks in advance.

For those possessing a Cape Canaveral Air Force Station badge, admission to the museum is free, although donations are always appreciated to support restoration and maintenance of the valuable collection of space artifacts. Photography is allowed and encouraged. The museum is handicapped accessible and offers free parking.

Due to the numerous launches at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the museum is closed periodically during fueling and other pre-launch operations. Please call the museum before visiting. We look forward to seeing you soon. 

Complex 26 Blockhouse

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The museum complex includes the original blockhouse, with two-foot thick walls, situated a mere 400 feet from twin launch pads. Visitors step back in time, passing through the outer blast doors and entering the firing rooms furnished with original computers, consoles, and launch support equipment; once state-of-the-art, now obsolete and antiquated by modern standards. A full-scale model of Explorer I and an "astro chimps" display are a few of the many exhibits contained in the blockhouse.

Exhibit Hall Displays

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Adjacent to the blockhouse, the Exhibit Hall features numerous space related displays on the important role of the Air Force in the development of space exploration as well as its continuing involvement. Housed within the Exhibit Hall is one of only two complete German V-2 engines in the U.S. A similar engine powered the first two Bumper launches from Cape Canaveral in 1950. Dominating an entire room of the Exhibit Hall is Gemini II, the only unmanned spacecraft to complete two space missions and the only one to exhibit military markings.

Rocket Garden Collection

Visitors may stroll through the outdoor Rocket Garden which boasts one of the largest collections in the country featuring rockets, missiles, re-entry vehicles, and related space hardware. Active Delta II launch pads, located adjacent to the museum, provide a breathtaking backdrop to the historic aerospace vehicles now at rest in the Rocket Garden. The original Complex 26 gantry looms over Launch Pad B, which is the oldest service tower at Cape Canaveral. Visitors are permitted to drive around the perimeter of the rocket garden. 

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Just a short distance from the Rocket Garden is Launch Complex 5/6, where America's first two astronauts, Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom, were catapulted into space. A Mercury Redstone rocket sits on Pad 5, while a Jupiter C rocket is perched on Pad 6. Owned and operated by NASA, this complex is part of the "Cape Canaveral: Then and Now" tour. 

Research Library

The mission of the AFSMM Research Library is to support the Museum in collecting, preserving, and restoring items of historical significance which directly relate to USAF space launch activities, missile development, flight testing, and Cape Canaveral history. In pursuit of this endeavor, the Library appraises, arranges, and provides description for historically relevant records of various media to include photographs, negatives, blueprints, schematics, reports, directories, charts, posters, pamphlets, brochures, newspapers, magazines, and other such documentation. Such records are obtained from both public and private sources and all methods of arrangement, conservation, and restoration are applied in accordance with accepted archival principles. 

The museum's Research Library is maintained as a repository of technical and historical information to aid the staff and volunteers in the design and creation of exhibits, artifact restoration, and historical research. Research assistance is also provided to government organizations, academic institutions, DOD contractors, and professional historians. Due to staffing limitations, the museum library is currently closed to the general public. If you have a question regarding Patrick AFB or Cape Canaveral AFS history, please contact the 45th Space Wing History Office at (321) 854-2710. You may also contact the Research Division of the National Museum of the United States Air Force for assistance with your historical research or information requests. 

Housed within the museum's Research Library are collections of historical photographs, documents, blueprints, maps, films, and videos. These archival collections contain items that document the history of the Air Force Space and Missile Museum, Cape Canaveral AFS, and various USAF and NASA launch vehicles, missiles, and rockets. Like the library itself, however, these archives and special collections are currently maintained exclusively for the use of the museum staff and volunteers and are currently unavailable to the general public







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