WEATHERFORD, Okla. – A spacecraft that orbited the Earth’s atmosphere has been moved to a Weatherford museum for long-term display.
The flown Gemini VI spacecraft has been moved from the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City to the Stafford Air and Space Museum in Weatherford for long-term display.
“For the Stafford Museum to receive the actual flown Gemini VI spacecraft for display from the Smithsonian takes the museum to a whole new level in its development! There are only 38 flown American manned spacecraft that have survived, and Gemini VI is one of THE most historic as it performed the first rendezvous in space – one of space exploration’s greatest milestones! To now have that spacecraft sitting in the museum named for the pilot of Gemini VI makes this event extra special!” exclaimed SASM Executive Director Max Ary.
Oklahoma-native Tom Stafford became well-known for his work on board Gemini VI, including the first rendezvous in space with the Gemini VII spacecraft in 1965.
Recently, General Thomas P. Stafford was able to reunite with the spacecraft at the Stafford Air and Space Museum, located in his hometown.
“Tom Stafford on Gemini VI made his reputation. He became known as an engineering astronaut and a thinking astronaut because he understood the orbital mechanics very clearly and that was I think where he got the reputation he has today as being an outstanding astronaut, outstanding manager, and an outstanding thinker. So I think the Gemini program sort of made Tom Stafford,” explained Chris Kraft, former JSC Flight Director.
With the addition of the Gemini VI spacecraft, the museum will house one of the most complete Gemini galleries in the world. Visitors can see an actual Titan II Rocket and hundreds of other Gemini artifacts.
The gallery will also have state-of-the-art interactive exhibits, like a replicated Gemini cockpit that visitors can get in and attempt to dock with an actual Titan II first stage engine.
The Stafford Air and Space Museum was created to maintain the legacy of Tom Stafford, and to inspire future generations to continue to search for more.