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Tue, Aug 17, 2010

Florida's Newest Space Museum Now Open Near Cape Canaveral

The U.S. Air Force Space And Missile History Center Is Open To Walk-In Visitors

The most recent addition to the central Florida coast's spaceflight heritage opened to the public late last week at just outside the south gate of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Located in what was the auditorium of the former Space Florida building adjacent to Gate 1 at the base is the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile History Center. The museum's just-launched website says the museum is "dedicated to assisting the Air Force's 45th Space Wing in preserving the history and telling the story of launch operations from Cape Canaveral."

The museum's board of directors says the new facility is intended to serve a broader audience than the museum it operates at Launch Complex 26, which was the launch pad for the United State's first orbiting satellite "Explorer 1". That museum is on the secure side of the Air Force Base gate, and is accessible only by KSC bus tour or through a monthly tour offered by the Air Force which requires reservations. "It's a foothold outside the gate," Jim Banke, secretary of the museum board told Florida Today. "It's a way to tell the story of the cape.

This new museum is open to the public with no admission charge Tuesday through Sunday. The main exhibit of the museum takes visitors through the history of each launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, which was originally the nation's Joint Long Range Proving Ground when it was opened in 1949. "It has the potential to be a major tourist attraction," Banke said.

FMI: www.capemuseum.org, www.afspacemuseum.org

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