The Kansas Cosmosphere & Space Center is one of The 8 Wonders of Kansas. This interactive museum has one of the most significant collections of U.S. and Russian space artifacts in the world! The large atrium of the Hall of Space Museum features a SR-71 Blackbird, a T-38 jet trainer, and a full-size model of the Space Shuttle Endeavour. Its Hall of Space Museum is one of only three museums in the world to display flown spacecraft from all three early-manned space programs - Mercury (Liberty Bell 7), Gemini (Gemini 10) and Apollo (Apollo 13). Educating patrons from around the globe, the Cosmosphere boasts the Hall of Space Museum, one of the most significant collections of U.S. and Russian space artifacts in the world; the Carey IMAX Dome Theater, one of only 14 IMAXR dome theaters in the world; a planetarium; and astronaut training camps for all ages.
Backstory and Context
At the Cosmosphere, visitors hear the non-biased, definitive story of the Space Race. The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, conceived by long-time Hutchinson resident Patricia Carey, is one of America's premier space centers. Making its start as a small planetarium on the Kansas State Fairgrounds, the Cosmosphere is now an internationally-acclaimed staple of the space science community.
Located in central Hutchinson, the Cosmosphere is unique to Kansas. In regard to depth and size, the Cosmosphere's space artifact collection is second only to that of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Similarly, the Cosmosphere's Hall of Space Museum harbors the largest collection of Russian space artifacts outside of Moscow. The Cosmosphere has also taken part in many documentaries and films like the movie Apollo 13, starring Tom Hanks.
The Cosmosphere was also the first institution to become an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, and is still the only Smithsonian affiliated museum in the state of Kansas. In 2008 it was voted one of the eight wonders of Kansas by a national poll.
Highlights of the Cosmosphere include:
The V-1 “Buzz Bomb” was filled with enough gas to get to its target, then would drop from the sky and explode upon landing.
The V-2 was the world’s first ballistic missile.Sputnik 1 was the back up for the actual Sputnik 1 that launched the world's first satellite into space.
Sputnik 2 was used in testing before Sputnik 2 launched the world's first living being into space: a dog named Laika.
Redstone Nuclear Warhead rockets were, at the time, the most accurate missiles yet built. This model is not bearing any radioactivity or even the lead shielding.
109-foot Titan rocket was used to launch astronauts into space during the Gemini program.
Russian Vostok spacecraft flew in space during Russia's unmanned Vostok space program
Liberty Bell 7 spacecraft flown by astronaut Virgil "Gus" Grissom during the Mercury program.
Gemini X spacecraft was flown by a two-person crew during the Gemini program.
Apollo White Room - one of only two white rooms used during the Apollo program.
Apollo 13 command module Odysseyhoused the Apollo 13 crew through take off and reentry into Earth's atmosphere. "Houston, we've had a problem."
Moon Rock collected during Apollo 11, the first Apollo mission.