Honoring Heroes: Explore the Space Mirror Memorial at Kennedy Space Center

The Space Mirror Memorial lies inside the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida. 

The memorial was designed by Wes Jones of Holt Hinshaw Pfau Jones in 1987.

It was dedicated in memory of the Bravehearts, who lost their lives during various space programs in the United States, particularly those of NASA. 

It is a national memorial and part of the larger Astronauts Memorial. It was created and maintained by the Astronauts Memorial Foundation (AMF).

What is the Space Mirror Memorial made of?

It is a flat expanse of polished black granite, 50 feet wide and 42.5 feet high. It is divided into 90 smaller panels. It consists of the names of the 25 astronauts. 

The names are cut completely through the surface and backlit with LED lights, causing the names to glow. And they appear to float in a reflection of the sky.

What Names are on the Space Mirror Memorial?

The Space Mirror Memorial at Kennedy Space Center pays tribute to those who lost their lives during human spaceflight missions or training programs.

The mirror consists of a total of 25 names, including 20 NASA astronauts.

Besides the 20 NASA astronauts, it honors a U.S. Air Force X-15 test pilot and a U.S. Air Force officer who passed away during training for a secret military space program.

A civilian spaceflight participant who lost their life in the Challenger disaster, and an Israeli astronaut who was killed in the Columbia disaster.

The names of astronauts who lost their lives in the same incident are grouped on the same panel or adjacent panels. 

Names of Honorees:

  • The memorial commemorates astronauts like Theodore Freeman, who perished in a T-38 training accident in 1964.

  • Elliot See and Charles Bassett, originally assigned to Gemini 9, lost their lives in a T-38 accident in 1966.

  • The tragic Apollo 1 capsule incident in 1967 claimed the lives of Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee.

  • Clifton Williams, slated for Apollo 12, died in a T-38 crash in 1967.

  • Michael J. Adams, part of the USAF Manned Orbiting Laboratory program, died in an X-15 crash in 1967.

  • Robert H. Lawrence Jr., an MOL program participant, died in a plane crash in 1967.

  • The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986 took the lives of Francis “Dick” Scobee, Michael J. Smith, Ronald McNair, Gregory Jarvis, Judith Resnik, Ellison Onizuka, and Christa McAuliffe.

  • M. L. “Sonny” Carter, who flew on STS-33, died in a plane crash in 1991.

  • The tragic Space Shuttle Columbia disintegration in 2003 claimed the lives of Rick Husband, William C. McCool, David M. Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Michael P. Anderson, Laurel Clark, and Ilan Ramon.

  • The SpaceShipTwo incident in 2014 resulted in the death of co-pilot Michael T. Alsbury. 

Earlier, only the names of NASA scientists were added to the Space Mirror Memorial.

On January 25, 2020, Scaled Composites pilot Michael T. Alsbury became the first private astronaut to be added to the wall.

He lost his life in the crash of SpaceShipTwo VSS Enterprise on 31 October 2014.

His name was added after the AMF voted and agreed to include the names of private astronauts on the memorial, recognizing their important contributions.

Each individual is honored on the Space Mirror Memorial, a solemn reminder of the sacrifices made in pursuing space exploration.


Who designed the Space Mirror Memorial?

The memorial was designed by Wes Jones of Holt Hinshaw Pfau Jones in 1987.

When is Kennedy Space Center Memorial Day?

Every January, NASA’s Day of Remembrance is hosted to honor all astronauts and candidates who have sacrificed their lives during the space exploration journey.

 What does the Space Mirror Memorial symbolize?

The Space Mirror Memorial symbolizes a tribute to astronauts who lost their lives during space exploration. It honors their sacrifice and contributions to human progress. 

Where is the Space Mirror Memorial located?

The Space Mirror Memorial is a national memorial located inside the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on Merritt Island, Florida.

Book your Kennedy Space Center tickets to visit the center and see the memorial!

Why is it called the Astronaut Memorial Foundation’s Space Mirror?

It is called by this name because the AMF, or Astronauts Memorial Foundation, created it.

Featured Image: Kennedyspacecenter.com

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