Central Kansas: Cosmosphere


The last thing a traveler might expect to find in central Kansas is a museum dedicated to space travel but that is just what sits in Hutchinson, Kansas on the campus of a community college. Not only is the Cosmosphere an impressive museum dedicated to the space race going all the way back to WWII, but the museum is also a facility for the restoration of space craft.

When walking into the museum visitors are greeted by the sight of a Blackbird SR-71, the fastest aircraft. The front of the museum was built around this massive plane.

In addition to being home to a Blackbird this museum is currently home to the Liberty Bell 7. This Mercury capsule sank to the bottom of the ocean after reentry in 1961. The capsule was recovered in 1999 and restored at the Cosmosphere.

I think sometimes we forget how large spacecraft are. I can’t remember if these are the booster from a Gemini or Mercury mission but either way they make me feel small.

Apollo 13 was considered a failure and it some ways it was but it was also a triumph. We were up in space with less computing power than is currently in our cell phones. There was an explosion and all the astronauts made it back to earth alive. The capsule was dismantled after it was pulled from the ocean. The parts reused for other missions and the shell sat in a museum in France for years. The Cosmosphere worked to get the pieces of the Apollo 13 capsule back and restored it to its former glory. Now it is one of the most complete Apollo capsules in existence.

If you find your way to central Kansas, make your way to the Cosmosphere and make sure to allow most of the day. It is worth it. Safe travels!

Thank you KW Photography for allowing me to use your wonderful photos!

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