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“Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission” Launches This Year
July 10, 2017

Space Center Houston is the first of four stops of a new exhibit featuring the Apollo 11 command module, which will leave the Smithsonian on a national tour for the first time since 1971. It will be the only location where guests can see the space capsules for both the first and last lunar landings.

The awe-inspiring “Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission” exhibit, on display Oct. 14-March 18, 2018 at Space Center Houston, is part of the nonprofit’s 25th anniversary jubilee. The center is the first and only Smithsonian Affiliate in greater Houston.

Guests will trace astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s first steps on the moon, see original Apollo 11 flown objects and gaze at the historic Apollo 11 command module during the new exhibit “Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission” at Space Center Houston Oct. 14 - March 18, 2018. Space Center Houston is the first of four stops for this brand new exhibit featuring the Apollo 11 command module, which will leave the Smithsonian on a national tour for the first time since 1971. Visit Credit: Photo courtesy of NASA.

“Houston is associated with lunar exploration and our guests will be the first to trace the steps of the first voyage to the moon in this spectacular new exhibit, as well as the last voyage in our Apollo 17 capsule,” said William T. Harris, president and CEO of the science and space learning center. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience these extraordinary space craft in the same location.”

Opening just before the nonprofit celebrates its 25th anniversary on October 16th, the new exhibit dives into the rich history of the Apollo program. The Apollo 11 command module — the only portion of the historic spacecraft to safely return humans to Earth — will leave the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum for the first time in 46 years for the national tour.

This first stop of the national tour is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for people to see both command modules — the Apollo 11 and the Apollo 17 — as well as an array of original Apollo-era artifacts. The nonprofit Space Center Houston is the home of the Apollo 17 command module, the last mission to land men on the moon.

Completing the ultimate lunar experience, Space Center Houston’s extensive collection gives guests a close look at the largest collection of moon rocks on public display including one you can touch. It also has astronaut Pete Conrad’s moonwalking suit and the presidential podium from which John F. Kennedy delivered his speech imploring America to reach for the lunar surface.

Through original Apollo 11 flown artifacts, models, videos and interactives, guests will learn about the historic journey of the Apollo 11 crew — Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin. “Destination Moon” will include an interactive 3-D tour, created from high-resolution scans of Columbia performed at the Smithsonian. The interactives will allow guests to explore the entire craft including its intricate interior, one that has been inaccessible to the public until now.

The nonprofit is the first of only four museums in the country that will showcase this amazing artifact from NASA’s race to the moon. The traveling exhibition, a partnership of the National Air and Space Museum and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), will commemorate the 50th anniversary in 2019 of the extraordinary achievement of humanity’s first step on the moon.

The traveling exhibit previews the permanent exhibit “Destination Moon” that will return to a place of honor in 2020 as part of a new gallery at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. It will tell the story of human exploration of the moon, from ancient dreams to the Apollo program to the missions happening right now.

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