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The Hall of Fame building
The United States Astronaut Hall of Fame is located in Titusville, Floridamarker. It features the world's largest collection of personal astronaut memorabilia, particularly focusing on those astronauts who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, as well as spacecraft.


In the 1980s, the then-six surviving Mercury Seven astronauts conceived of the idea of establishing a place where space travelers could be remembered and honored, along the lines of Halls of Fame for other fields. The Mercury Seven Foundation and Astronaut Scholarship Foundations were formed and have a role in the current operations of the Hall of Fame. The Astronaut Hall of Fame was opened on October 29 1990 by the U.S. Space Camp Foundation, who were the first owners of the museum. It was located next to the Florida branch of Space Camp.

The Hall of Fame closed for several months in 2002 when U.S. Space Camp Foundation's creditors foreclosed the property due to low attendance and mounting debt. In September of that year, an auction was held and the property was purchased by Delaware North Park Services on behalf of NASA and the property was added to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. However, the Hall of Fame remained closed until December 14 2002 when it was re-opened.


See also: :Category:United States Astronaut Hall of Fame inductees

Inductees into the Hall of Fame are selected by a blue ribbon committee of former NASA officials and flight controllers, historians, journalists, and other space authorities based on their accomplishments in space and their contributions to the advancement of space exploration.

As its inaugural class in 1990, the Hall of Fame inducted the United States' original class of astronauts: the "Mercury Seven". In addition to being the first Americanmarker astronauts, the Mercury Seven set several firsts in American spaceflight, both auspicious and tragic. Alan Shepard was the first American in space and later became one of the twelve men to walk on the moon. John Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth. Gus Grissom was the first American to go into space twice and was the commander of the ill-fated Apollo 1, which resulted in the first American deaths directly related to spaceflight or preparation for spaceflight.

Thirteen astronauts from the Gemini and Apollo programs were inducted in 1993. This class included the first and last men to walk on the Moon, Neil Armstrong and Eugene Cernan; Ed White, the first American to walk in space (also killed in the Apollo 1 accident); James Lovell, commander of the famously near-tragic Apollo 13; and John Young, whose six flights included a moon walk and command of the first Space Shuttle mission.

The third class was inducted in 1997 and consisted of the twenty-four Gemini, Apollo, and Skylab astronauts who had not yet been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Notable members of the class were Roger Chaffee, the third astronaut killed in the Apollo 1 fire; Harrison Schmitt, the first scientist and next to last man to walk on the moon; and Jack Swigert and Fred Haise, the remaining crew of Apollo 13 not already inducted.

Over two dozen astronauts from the Space Shuttle program have been inducted since 2001. Among these are Sally Ride, the first American woman in space; Story Musgrave, who flew six missions in the 1980s and 1990s; and Francis Scobee, commander of the ill-fated Challenger mission. Except for 2002, inductions have been held every year since 2001.

The 2009 class consisted of Space Shuttle veterans George Nelson, William Shepherd, and James Wetherbee.


Among the Hall of Fame's displays are two spacecraft: Sigma 7, the Mercury spacecraft piloted by Wally Schirra which orbited the Earth six times in 1962, and CSM Kitty Hawk, the Command Module used in the Apollo 14 spaceflight to the Moon. There is also an Astronaut Adventure room which acts as a simulator for use by children.

The spacesuit worn by Gus Grissom during Mercury 4 is on display and has been the subject of a dispute between NASA and Grissom's heirs and supporters since 2002. The spacesuit, along with other Gus Grissom artifacts, were loaned to the original owners of the Hall of Fame by the Grissom family when it opened in 1990. However, after the Hall of Fame went into bankruptcy and was taken over by a NASA contractor in 2002, the family requested that all of their items be returned. All of the items, except the spacesuit, were returned to Grissom's family, because both NASA and the Grissoms claim ownership of the spacesuit. NASA claims Grissom checked out the spacesuit for a show and tell at his son's school, and then never returned the spacesuit, while the Grissoms claim Gus rescued the spacesuit from a scrap heap.

External links


  1. U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, retrieved 2007-08-23
  2. U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame at KSC Visitor Complex - Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, United States Astronaut Hall of Fame, retrieved 2009-05-04

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