The History of Florida as the Space State
This exhibit, generously funded by the Department of State, built locally, and designed in-house,
takes you through the history of the manned space program in Florida. Four interactive stations walk you through
mission highlights and pictures from missions launched from Florida. The exhibit also includes display cases featuring
artifacts documenting various highlights of the space program and items that flew in space.
See our state like never before! Rising out of the exhibit hall two
stories, the LANDSAT photo mural of Florida is
a view unlike any other and the biggest picture
of Florida anywhere.
It Flew In Space!
Space Shuttle Tires
One of our tires is from STS-61 mission in 1993 on the Space Shuttle Endeavour during the final and most
complex manned mission ever attempted. Records were set for spacewalks and the first serving of the
Hubble telescope was completed. Each shuttle uses four rear landing tires and two nose landing gear
tires. The Space Shuttle orbits the Earth at over 27,000 kilometers per hour. Therefore, during the
12.5 days in orbit, the shuttle traveled more than 8 million kilometers or 5,202,000 miles. Consider
the average car tire lasts only 40,000-50,000 miles!
The other tire flew during the STS-63 mission on the Space Shuttle Discovery in February 1995.
The STS-63 mission was piloted by the first female shuttle pilot, Eileen M. Collins, and was the first
approach and fly around to the Mir Space Station. It was the 22nd Kennedy Space Center landing but the
first end-of-mission landing since the runway was resurfaced to decrease wear on orbiter tires and
increase crosswind tolerances. Can you tell which one is which?
MIR Sleeping Bag
After a long day at work, there is nothing like a good night's sleep! However, in space, astronauts
are weightless so they must attach themselves to a wall, a seat or a bunk bed inside the crew cabin to
avoid floating and potentially bumping into something. Sleeping in close quarters can be disruptive since
crew members easily can hear each other and the shuttle's cockpit is a less-than-ideal location since the Sun
rises every 90 minutes during a mission. When it is time to wake up, Mission Control sends wake up music
to the crew. Usually, Mission Control will pick a song for a different astronaut each day. Depending on
the astronaut, Mission Control will play all types of music including rock and roll, country and western,
classical, or Russian music. Sometimes a family member will request a favorite song for his or her particular
loved one on board. However, only shuttle crews receive wake up music while space station crews use alarm
clocks. This sleeping bag was issued to Dr. Norm Thagard for use aboard the Mir Space Station.
Astronauts wear various types of clothing for different aspects of their missions in space. Whether preparing for
launch, working inside the space shuttle or the space station, working outside in space, or landing back on Earth,
astronauts wear the appropriate garments for both comfort and protection. Often crew members choose the shirts,
shorts and pants they will wear in space months before they are scheduled to launch. Because it's expensive to
take supplies, even water, into space and there's no washing machine aboard the space station, crew members
don't change clothes as often as people do on Earth. Of course, since they don't go outside, except in a spacesuit,
they don't get as dirty as people living on Earth either.
Detailed and Up Close
Throughout the exhibit hall, you will find several models that allow you to get close and detailed looks at various
space themed objects.
The Mercury Program ran from 1959 to 1963. This is a 1/3 scale model of the crew capsule and escape tower.
The Gemini Program launched 10 missions between 1965 and 1966. This is a 1/3 scale model of the crew capsule.
Apollo Lunar Module
The Apollo Program ran from 1961 to 1975 and landed man on the moon a total of 6 times. This is a 1/3 scale
model of the Apollo Lunar Module.
MIR Space Station
Mir means "peace" and "community" in Russian. The Mir space station contributed to world peace by hosting international
scientists and American astronauts. Mir was constructed in orbit by connecting different modules, each launched separately
from 1986 to 1996. During the Shuttle-Mir Program, Russia's Mir combined its capabilities with America's space shuttles.
Magnificent to behold through the windows of a space shuttle, the 100-ton Mir was as big as six schoolbuses. The journey
of the 15-year-old Russian space station ended March 23, 2001, as Mir re-entered the Earth's atmosphere near Nadi, Fiji,
and fell into the South Pacific.
International Space Station
The International Space Station (ISS) is a research facility currently being assembled in space. The station is in
low Earth orbit and can be seen from Earth with the naked eye. It travels at an average speed of 17,240 miles per hour,
completing 15.7 orbits per day. The ISS has many long-term research goals including to develop the technology necessary
for human-based space and planetary exploration and colonization (including life support systems, safety precautions,
environmental monitoring in space, etc.), new ways to treat diseases, and finding more efficient methods of producing
The Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) act as robot geologists while they are on the surface of Mars.
The MER known as Spirit successfully landed on Mars on January 4, 2004, three weeks before its twin Opportunity
landed on the other side of the planet. Their names were chosen through a NASA-sponsored student essay competition.
The rovers have continued to function effectively more than ten times longer than NASA planners expected, allowing them to
perform extensive geological analysis of Martian rocks and planetary surface features.