This small space museum, located not far from the better-known Kennedy Space Center, tells the more personal side of the history of the American space program, from the launches of Dr. Robert Goddard to early unmanned flight, through projects Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and the Space Shuttle.
The American Space Museum displays numerous artifacts collected by veteran workers from the Kennedy Space Center. Some of the most prized and unique artifacts are a set of bronze castings of the handprints of some of America’s most famous early astronauts.
The set includes the prints of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, most of the Mercury astronauts and Gemini astronauts, the first Space Shuttle crew, as well as Sally Ride, the first American female astronaut, and Eileen Collins, the first female Shuttle Commander.
The collection also includes numerous models depicting space program operations and an actual set of space shuttle launch consoles. The consoles and a set of Atlas launch consoles dating to 1962 are in working order and visitors can touch the keyboards and throw switches. Nearby the museum are also four beautiful monuments to commemorate each of the four NASA crewed space programs.
Know Before You Go
The docents are mostly retired Kennedy Space Center workers who are quite knowledgeable in American space history. Guided tours can take between 1 and 3 hours, depending on the interest and questions of the visitors. The National Police Hall of Fame and the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum are not far away. Your trip should also include a visit to the Kennedy Space Center to see Space Shuttle Atlantis and a "built-to-fly" Saturn V rocket.