A partnership between Columbus State University’s Coca-Cola Space Center and Pratt & Whitney has brought new artifacts from America’s space program to Columbus, and created a new, more interactive way to display them.
The new exhibit includes artifacts from both the Apollo and Space Shuttle programs, tools used on the International Space Station and a collection of Apollo 15 items from David Scott, one of 12 Americans to have walked on the moon.
Shawn Cruzen, executive director of the center, is especially excited about one: the Mission Control sign from the space shuttle program in Houston, Texas.
“It hung above the Mission Control room for the entire 30-year history of the space shuttle program,” Cruzen said. “It is now hanging here in our exhibit gallery in the space science center.”
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The new exhibit features enhanced interactivity, including a display about the huge space shuttle main engine nozzle in the lobby. The touch screen allows visitors to learn more about the 12 million horsepower engine system and includes detailed histories of each mission it flew on.
“You realize the significant contribution of this particular artifact to America’s space program,” Cruzen said.
Many local people have contributed artifacts to the center. Among those are Tom Scott, whose brother Dave Scott was the commander of Apollo 15. On display are Dave Scott’s engineering models of spacecraft he actually took into space, autographed photos and a patch that went with him to the moon, Cruzen said.
Cruzen said they’ve had a “really good run of luck” in acquiring these artifacts. He attributes that to the center’s mission across broad age groups, being open to the public, having strong K-12 mission to educate school children and being a university.
“We’re training that next generation of explorers, scientists, engineers, science educators,” Cruzen said. “People who will go out and contribute to the next generations’ space mission.”