The Cosmosphere: Honoring Apollo missions in Middle America

HOUSTON – As the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing approaches, we’re looking at the impact the mission had across the country and in Houston.

Recently, we showed you the Kansas organization that restored the Apollo-era mission control panels at the Johnson Space Center.

READ: Restored Apollo-era mission control room unveiled

The same organization is also home to a space museum: The Cosmosphere. It's one of hundreds of places across the country that are getting ready to honor the epic Apollo 11 mission.

It may not have the space glory of Houston or Cape Canaveral, but in the middle of the American heartland is a museum in Hutchinson, Kansas, doing its part to keep space history alive.

For more stories, photos, videos, bios and a timeline of the Apollo 50th anniversary, visit the special section on our website.

“We have been deeply ingrained in all things space exploration since 1962,” said Mimi Meredith, senior vice president of development at The Cosmosphere.

The Cosmosphere is a 105,000-square-foot campus dedicated to interactive science education.

“We’re passionate about preserving all of the stories. Not just the astronauts, but the millions of men and women it took to make space exploration happen, and manned space flight," Meredith said.

The museum includes hundreds of artifacts from space exploration over the years, including items from the Apollo missions. Visitors can see one of three white rooms, the space the crew gathered before entering the capsule before takeoff. They can also see Apollo-era space suits and moon rocks.

The museum also houses Spaceworks, the restoration group specializing in the restoration of space artifacts, like the Johnson Space Center’s mission control panels. That project was spearheaded by retired NASA flight director and manager Gene Kranz.

“Gene Kranz is important. He’s important to space, and a critical part of what we do here at The Cosmosphere,” Meredith said.

The organization’s mission is simple: To preserve and educate the world about where we’ve been, as we look ahead to where we are going. It's a mission Meredith takes seriously.

“What I hope they remember is that here in Hutchinson, Kansas, in the heart of the heartland is the place that values that story and is continuing to tell the story of human space flight forever,” Meredith said.