When people think about space travel, they usually look skyward. But much of spaceflight history happened down here on Earth. Space Age Adventures presents more than one hundred terrestrial sites across the United States related to space exploration, where enthusiasts can have their own space age adventures.
Before astronauts walked on the Moon, they trained at locations you can visit today—from NASA space centers and telescope observatories to impact craters and atomic testing grounds. Inside vast museum hangars, a visitor can walk beneath towering Saturn V rockets left over from the Apollo program or peer inside American and Soviet capsules. Elsewhere visitors can visit historic rocket pads, retired space shuttles, landed SpaceX boosters, and even watch scheduled launches.
Mike Bezemek brings the artifacts and spacecraft to life with interwoven true stories that collectively span the entire Space Age. These stories offer a deeper understanding of the adventures behind the famous images. The combination of terrestrial sites and true stories makes this book the perfect guide for having unique adventures and discovering one of the most dramatic eras in human exploration.
Preface: Spaces Sites and Stories Becoming a Space Age Adventurer Using This Book and Must-See Sites 1. The First Rockets 2. Birth of the Space Rocket 3. The V-2
Sites in Washington DC and Virginia
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington DC Smithsonian Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Chantilly VA NASA Goddard Visitor Center, Greenbelt MD NASA Wallops Flight Facility Visitor Center, Wallops Island VA Virginia Air and Space Science Center, Hampton VA
4. The Cold War 5. Conquering Space 6. The Satellites
Sites in New York City and the Northeast
Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, New York NY American Museum of Natural History, New York NY Cradle of Aviation Museum, Garden City NY McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, Concord NH Moonshot Museum, Pittsburgh PA Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh PA
7. The Space Race 8. Mercury vs. Vostok 9. In the Thick of It
Sites Near Cape Canaveral, Florida
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Merritt Island FL Sands Space History Center, Cape Canaveral FL American Space Museum, Titusville FL
10. The Rise of Apollo 11. Adventures and Lessons 12. A Focus on the Moon
Sites in the South and on the Gulf Coast
Museum of Life and Science, Durham NC Tellus Science Museum, Cartersville GA U.S. Space and Rocket Center, Huntsville AL National Naval Aviation Museum, Pensacola FL Infinity Science Center and NASA Stennis Visitor Center, Pearlington MS Space Center Houston, Houston TX Frontiers of Flight Museum, Dallas TX SpaceX Starbase Launch Viewing, South Padre Island TX
13. Bold Steps and Tragic Setbacks 14. Closing In 15. Around the Moon
Sites in the Midwest
Great Lakes Science Center and NASA Glenn Visitor Center, Cleveland OH International Women’s Air and Space Museum, Cleveland OH National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Dayton OH Armstrong Air & Space Museum, Wapakoneta OH Grissom Memorial at Spring Mill State Park, Mitchell IN Air Zoo Aerospace & Science Experience, Kalamazoo MI Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago IL Adler Planetarium, Chicago IL St. Louis Science Center, St. Louis MO
16. 1969 17. They Came from Outer Space 18. The Landings Continue
Sites in the Great Plains
Stafford Air and Space Museum, Weatherford OK Science Museum Oklahoma, Oklahoma City OK Cosmosphere Space Museum, Hutchison KS Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum, Ashland NE South Dakota Air and Space Museum, Box Elder SD
19. The End of the Space Race 20. Aiming for the Stars 21. The Soviets Regroup
Sites in the Southwest
New Mexico Museum of Space History, Alamogordo NM White Sands Missile Range Museum and Missile Park, White Sands NM Spaceport America, Truth or Consequences NM Roswell Museum and International UFO Museum & Research Center, Roswell NM 000 Very Large Array, Socorro NM New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Albuquerque NM National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, Albuquerque NM Space Foundation Discovery Center, Colorado Springs CO Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum, Denver CO Space and Science Fiction Sites, Southern Utah Meteor Crater, Winslow AZ Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff AZ Astronaut Training Sites, Northern Arizona Pima Air and Space Museum, Tucson AZ Titan Missile Museum, Green Valley AZ National Atomic Testing Museum and Nevada National Security Site, Las Vegas NV000 Extraterrestrial Highway, Highway 375 NV
22. Adventures in Orbit 23. Destination Deep Space 24. The Billionaires’ Space Race
Sites on the West Coast
San Diego Air and Space Museum, San Diego CA California Science Center, Los Angeles CA Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles CA More Space Sites, Southern California Science Fiction Film Sites, California Chabot Space and Science Center, Oakland CA USS Hornet Sea, Air, and Space Museum, Alameda CA Aerospace Museum of California, Sacramento CA Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, McMinnville OR Museum of Flight, Seattle WA
Appendix of Resources Bibliography
Mike Bezemek is the author and photographer of three books that combine stories with trip guides, including Paddling the John Wesley Powell Route: Exploring the Green and Colorado Rivers and Discovering the Outlaw Trail: Routes, Hideouts, and Stories from the Wild West. He has written for a variety of publications, including Outside, Men’s Journal, National Parks Magazine, Adventure Cyclist, Blue Ridge Outdoors, Duct Tape Diaries, and Terrain Magazine. Visit his website at mikebezemek.com.
“Part travel guidebook and part history lesson, anyone with even a passing interest in space will appreciate this resource. Mike Bezemek has created a long-needed and well-organized reference for planning trips to space-themed destinations in the United States. I had no idea all these places existed and appreciate how the included stories reference artifacts or displays that can be visited in person. Well done!”—Jay Gallentine, author of Infinity Beckoned: Adventuring through the Inner Solar System, 1969–1989
“Mike Bezemek shows that the next best thing to a flight into space is visiting the many places on Earth related to space exploration. In addition to sharing the exciting stories behind the museum artifacts, Space Age Adventures takes readers to launch sites, astronomical observatories, and space museums around the United States. His work has provided me with lots of new ideas for space places to visit in the years to come.”—Chris Gainor, author of To a Distant Day: The Rocket Pioneers