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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Space & Planet Exploration

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Picture Gallery

Space and Planet Exploration:
Highlights of NASA Missions

Welcome into a glimpse of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) missions throughout the years and to future journeys. The display presents significant events that led to man’s first walk on the moon, to venturing out into the galaxy to learn and explore new worlds. The display represents just some of the hundreds of missions that NASA has produced from the 1960’s to the present and beyond. 

The display also contains a model of the U.S. Air Force Missile Test Center from the 1950’s era at Cape Canaveral, Florida. A small map of  “the Cape” accompanies the model and illustrates the Kennedy Space Center. Cape Canaveral is acclaimed as the birthplace of space travel and exploration. Historical launches from the Pioneer to Apollo missions took place there and currently at the Kennedy Space Center where the Space Shuttle missions often land. 

Since its establishment on October 1, 1958, NASA has accomplished many great scientific and technological feats in air and space. While not every endeavor has been successful, NASA has expanded the realm of human knowledge in that:

  • almost every aircraft flying utilizes technology originated by NASA.
  • progressive industries have been built on the technology that made space exploration possible, including personal computers, advanced medical equipment, communications satellites, weather forecasting, and natural resource mapping.
  • the private sector has benefited in adapting the technology that NASA has developed into goods and services.
Please read and enjoy the display. All information presented was taken from NASA materials and web sites.

Early model of Air Force Missile Test Center and Cape Canaveral, Florida

The Air Force Missile Test Center on display represents the late 1950’s era in which testing of ballistic missiles were launched. The base later sent rockets, various spacecraft, satellites, and moon landing vehicles into space. Some of the vehicles include the Surveyor, Mariner, and Pioneer. The center is presently called the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and is operated by the Department of Defense. 

Cape Canaveral, Florida serves as the birthplace for space travel and exploration. Following World War II, Congress approved Cape Canaveral, Florida as a site for space study, maneuvers and experimentation. The area is a large portion of land located on Florida’s Atlantic Coast. The site was selected for its good weather and proximity to the ocean, into which used rocket fuel tanks and other components could fall after launch. Furthermore, the land was isolated, and already owned by the U.S. government. The area was also selected for its geological qualities, being located close to the equator. The Earth’s rotation has provided a “boost” for launching various space vehicles. 

The Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is located adjacent to the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and both share facilities for missions. The Kennedy Space Center is operated by NASA and is located on the northern half of the site. Among other operations, the main launch center is renowned for the Space Shuttle missions.