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Morehead to the Moon

posted Friday July 17, 2009

As NASA celebrates the 40th anniversary of man's historic first walk on the Moon -- on July 20, 1969, during the Apollo 11 mission -- Morehead Planetarium and Science Center remembers its leading role in the space program as a training center for America's astronauts.

From 1961 until 1975, Morehead trained more than 60 astronauts (including 11 of the men who walked on the Moon) in celestial navigation in the Star Theater. You can still see some of the equipment used in these training activities, along with NASA memorabilia, in Morehead's History Hallway. (Be sure to climb into the replica of the Gemini training module to see from an astronaut's perspective!)

As advances in computer technology replaced the need for visual navigation in space, the training program was no longer needed. However, Morehead continues to connect with NASA's astronauts and to provide opportunities for children and adults to learn about the astronaut experience.

Dr. Thomas Marshburn, a Statesville native who was launched into space this week as a mission specialist aboard STS-127, is the most recent astronaut to visit Morehead. Marshburn talked with children and their parents about being an astronaut during a special family event during the premiere of Morehead's popular planetarium show about space exploration, Destination: Space.

Morehead Planetarium and Science Center is proud of its historic role in America's space program and congratulates NASA on the 40th anniversary of the original moonwalk.