US Astronaut Hall of Fame: Honoring the Heroes of Space Exploration
The US Astronaut Hall of Fame is inside the Heroes and Legends building at Kennedy Space Center.
The place honors American astronauts who have traveled beyond the bounds of our planet to explore space.
It features the world’s largest personal memorabilia collection of astronauts, focusing on those inducted into the hall.
The Hall of Fame exhibits a statue of Alan Shepherd, Wally Schirra’s Sigma 7 space capsule used in the fifth crewed Mercury mission, the Gemini IX spacecraft, and more.
Let us learn more about the fascinating history of this place, the exhibits inside, and how inductees are chosen for the Hall of Fame.
A visit to this section is included with the Kennedy Space Center Tickets.
History of US Astronaut Hall of Fame
The Astronaut Hall of Fame was first opened on October 29, 1990, by the U.S. Space Camp Foundation. It was located right next to the Florida branch of Space Camp.
Later, in 2002, it was forced to close for a few months due to mounting debt and relatively low attendance.
The site was then purchased by Delaware North Park Services on behalf of NASA during an auction in 2002 and added to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
The US Astronaut Hall of Fame re-opened for visitors on December 14, 2002.
Interactive Exhibits Inside US Astronaut Hall of Fame
One of the Hall of Fame’s main attractions is its interactive exhibits, which offer a space exploration experience.
Visitors can climb aboard realistic spacecraft replicas, experience the feeling of weightlessness in a space simulator, and participate in astronaut training simulations.
The exhibits inside the US Astronaut Hall of Fame include:
- Sigma 7, the Mercury spacecraft flown by Wally Schirra, orbited the Earth six times
- The Gemini 9A capsule was flown by Gene Cernan and Thomas P. Stafford in 1966
- Gus Grissom’s Spacesuit, worn by him during the Mercury flight in 1961
- An exhibit featuring space-themed artwork and photographs taken by astronauts during their missions
- A chronological display of key milestones in the history of space exploration, from early space missions to the present day
- A section is dedicated to honoring the astronauts inducted into the US Astronaut Hall of Fame and their achievements and contributions to space exploration
- An astronaut adventure room with simulators for use by children
- Alan Shepard’s Apollo 14 lunar space suit, a Replica of Apollo 15 Genesis Rock and a Gemini 7 G5C spacesuit
Honoring Astronauts at the US Astronaut Hall of Fame
The United States Astronaut Hall of Fame is a tribute to the pioneers of space exploration and their extraordinary contributions to our understanding of space.
The induction ceremony highlights the US Astronaut Hall of Fame’s calendar.
During the Ceremony, New astronauts are celebrated and officially inducted into the Hall of Fame as members, joining the ranks of their esteemed peers.
Prominent figures from space exploration, other dignitaries, and the inductees’ families form the guest list for the ceremony.
Through these inspirational events, the Hall of Fame inspires new generations to reach for the stars.
Induction Criteria for US Astronaut Hall of Fame
The US Astronaut Hall of Fame induction process is rigorous and selective. Astronauts must meet specific criteria to be part of this esteemed honor.
A blue ribbon committee of former NASA officials, veteran historians, journalists, flight controllers, and other space authorities annually selects the inductees into the Hall of Fame.
The first group of inductees was added in 1990, which included the original group of astronauts from the Mercury Seven- Alan Shepard, John Glenn, and Gus Grissom.
Since 2001, inductees have been added every year except for 2002.
Who was the first astronaut in the US Astronaut Hall of Fame?
After the inaugural induction ceremony, Alan Shepard and several other astronauts were the first to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Alan Shepard was the first American in space and one of the twelve astronauts to walk on the Moon.
Does NASA have a Hall of Fame?
Yes, NASA has the US Astronaut Hall of Fame, which was purchased by Delaware North Park Services on behalf of NASA during an auction in 2002.
The place is now featured inside the Heroes and Legends building inside the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
How do you get into the US Astronaut Hall of Fame?
You must buy admission tickets to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, which includes access to the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.
How are inductees selected for the US Astronaut Hall of Fame?
The inductees are selected by a committee of former NASA officials, flight directors, historians, journalists and other Hall of Fame astronauts.
The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation administers the process of inducting selected candidates.
What is the distance from Cape Canaveral to the US Astronaut Hall of Fame?
The distance from Cape Canaveral to the US Astronaut Hall of Fame is 16.7 miles. It takes around 15-20 minutes to reach. Directions
How many people are on the US Astronaut Hall of Fame list?
There are 107 people on the list of US Astronaut Hall of Fame members after the addition of two astronauts in 2023.
Who is inducted into the US Astronaut Hall of Fame 2023?
Senator Mark Kelly (Captain, U.S. Navy, NASA astronaut) and Roy D. Bridges Jr. (U.S. Air Force Major General, NASA astronaut) were inducted into the US Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2023.
What is the significance of the US Astronaut Hall of Fame?
The Hall of Fame preserves the legacy of space heroes by showcasing their remarkable achievements, memorabilia and personal stories.
The place inspires others to become better and break the limits of the impossible.
Featured Image: KennedySpaceCenter.com