Astronaut Hall of Fame
The United States Astronaut Hall of Fame, located just south of Titusville, Florida
Titusville, Florida
Titusville is a city in Brevard County, Florida in the United States. It is the county seat of Brevard County. Nicknamed Space City, USA, Titusville is on the Indian River, west of Merritt Island and the Kennedy Space Center and south-southwest of the Canaveral National Seashore...

, honors American astronauts and features the world's largest collection of their personal memorabilia, focusing on those astronauts who have been inducted into the Hall; as well as Sigma 7
Mercury-Atlas 8
Mercury-Atlas 8 was an early manned space mission, part of NASA's Mercury program. Astronaut Walter M. Schirra, Jr., orbited the Earth six times in the Sigma 7 spacecraft on October 3, 1962, in a nine-hour flight focused mainly on technical evaluation rather than on scientific experimentation...

, the fifth manned Mercury
Project Mercury
In January 1960 NASA awarded Western Electric Company a contract for the Mercury tracking network. The value of the contract was over $33 million. Also in January, McDonnell delivered the first production-type Mercury spacecraft, less than a year after award of the formal contract. On February 12,...

A spacecraft or spaceship is a craft or machine designed for spaceflight. Spacecraft are used for a variety of purposes, including communications, earth observation, meteorology, navigation, planetary exploration and transportation of humans and cargo....

. It is operated as part of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is the visitor center at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It features exhibits and displays, historic spacecraft and memorabilia, shows, two IMAX theaters, a range of bus tours of the spaceport, and the Shuttle Launch Experience, a simulated ride into...

, 6 miles (9.7 km) to the east on Merritt Island.


In the 1980s, the six then-surviving Mercury Seven
Mercury Seven
Mercury Seven was the group of seven Mercury astronauts selected by NASA on April 9, 1959. They are also referred to as the Original Seven and Astronaut Group 1...

 astronauts conceived of establishing a place where US space travelers could be remembered and honored, along the lines of halls of fame
Hall of Fame
A hall of fame, wall of fame, walk of fame, walk of stars or avenue of stars is a type of attraction established for any field of endeavor to honor individuals of noteworthy achievement in that field...

 for other fields. The Mercury Seven Foundation and Astronaut Scholarship Foundation were formed and have a role in the current operations of the Hall of Fame. The foundation's first executive director was former Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

 space reporter Howard Benedict.

The Astronaut Hall of Fame was opened on October 29, 1990, by the U.S. Space Camp Foundation, which was the first owner of the facility. It was located next to the Florida branch of Space Camp
United States Space Camp
U.S. Space Camp is owned and operated by the Alabama Space Science Exhibit Commission d.b.a. U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. "Space Camp" refers to both the actual camp and a family of related camp programs offered year-round by the facility. The camp provides residential and...


The Hall of Fame closed for several months in 2002 when U.S. Space Camp Foundation's creditors foreclosed on the property due to low attendance and mounting debt. In September of that year, an auction was held and the property was purchased by Delaware North Park Services
Delaware North Companies
Delaware North Companies is a global food service and hospitality company headquartered in Buffalo, New York The company operates in the lodging, sporting, airport, gaming and entertainment industries. The company employs over 50,000 people worldwide and has over $2 billion in annual revenues...

 on behalf of NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 and the property was added to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The Hall of Fame re-opened December 14, 2002.


Inductees into the Hall of Fame are selected by a blue ribbon committee of former NASA officials and flight controllers, historians, journalists, and other space authorities based on their accomplishments in space or their contributions to the advancement of space exploration. Except for 2002, inductions have been held every year since 2001.
As its inaugural class in 1990, the Hall of Fame inducted the United States' original group of astronauts: the Mercury Seven. In addition to being the first American astronauts, they set several firsts in American spaceflight, both auspicious and tragic. Alan Shepard
Alan Shepard
Alan Bartlett Shepard, Jr. was an American naval aviator, test pilot, flag officer, and NASA astronaut who in 1961 became the second person, and the first American, in space. This Mercury flight was designed to enter space, but not to achieve orbit...

 was the first American in space and later became one of the twelve people to walk on the Moon. John Glenn
John Glenn
John Herschel Glenn, Jr. is a former United States Marine Corps pilot, astronaut, and United States senator who was the first American to orbit the Earth and the third American in space. Glenn was a Marine Corps fighter pilot before joining NASA's Mercury program as a member of NASA's original...

 was the first American to orbit the Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

. Gus Grissom
Gus Grissom
Virgil Ivan Grissom , , better known as Gus Grissom, was one of the original NASA Project Mercury astronauts and a United States Air Force pilot...

 was the first American to fly in space twice and was the commander of the ill-fated Apollo 1
Apollo 1
Apollo 1 was scheduled to be the first manned mission of the Apollo manned lunar landing program, with a target launch date of February 21, 1967. A cabin fire during a launch pad test on January 27 at Launch Pad 34 at Cape Canaveral killed all three crew members: Command Pilot Virgil "Gus"...

, which resulted in the first astronaut deaths directly related preparation for spaceflight.
Thirteen astronauts from the Gemini
Project Gemini
Project Gemini was the second human spaceflight program of NASA, the civilian space agency of the United States government. Project Gemini was conducted between projects Mercury and Apollo, with ten manned flights occurring in 1965 and 1966....

 and Apollo programs were inducted in 1993. This class included the first and last humans to walk on the Moon, Neil Armstrong
Neil Armstrong
Neil Alden Armstrong is an American former astronaut, test pilot, aerospace engineer, university professor, United States Naval Aviator, and the first person to set foot upon the Moon....

 and Eugene Cernan; Ed White
Edward Higgins White
Edward Higgins White, II was an engineer, United States Air Force officer and NASA astronaut. On June 3, 1965, he became the first American to "walk" in space. White died along with fellow astronauts Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee during a pre-launch test for the first manned Apollo mission at...

, the first American to walk in space
Extra-vehicular activity
Extra-vehicular activity is work done by an astronaut away from the Earth, and outside of a spacecraft. The term most commonly applies to an EVA made outside a craft orbiting Earth , but also applies to an EVA made on the surface of the Moon...

 (also killed in the Apollo 1 accident); Jim Lovell
Jim Lovell
James "Jim" Arthur Lovell, Jr., is a former NASA astronaut and a retired captain in the United States Navy, most famous as the commander of the Apollo 13 mission, which suffered a critical failure en route to the Moon but was brought back safely to Earth by the efforts of the crew and mission...

, commander of the famously near-tragic Apollo 13
Apollo 13
Apollo 13 was the seventh manned mission in the American Apollo space program and the third intended to land on the Moon. The craft was launched on April 11, 1970, at 13:13 CST. The landing was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded two days later, crippling the service module upon which the Command...

; and John Young, whose six flights included a moonwalk and command of the first Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle program
NASA's Space Shuttle program, officially called Space Transportation System , was the United States government's manned launch vehicle program from 1981 to 2011...


The third class was inducted in 1997 and consisted of the 24 additional Gemini, Apollo, and Skylab
Skylab was a space station launched and operated by NASA, the space agency of the United States. Skylab orbited the Earth from 1973 to 1979, and included a workshop, a solar observatory, and other systems. It was launched unmanned by a modified Saturn V rocket, with a mass of...

 astronauts. Notable members of the class were Roger Chaffee, the third astronaut killed in the Apollo 1 fire and the only unflown astronaut in the Hall; Harrison Schmitt
Harrison Schmitt
Harrison Hagan "Jack" Schmitt is an American geologist, a retired NASA astronaut, university professor, and a former U.S. senator from New Mexico....

, the first scientist and next-to-last person to walk on the Moon
The Moon is Earth's only known natural satellite,There are a number of near-Earth asteroids including 3753 Cruithne that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term . These are quasi-satellites and not true moons. For more...

; and Jack Swigert
Jack Swigert
He later became staff director of the Committee on Science and Technology of the U.S. House of Representatives.Swigert was elected as a Republican to Colorado's newly created 6th congressional district in November 1982. He defeated Democrat Steve Hogan, 98,909 votes to 56,518...

 and Fred Haise
Fred Haise
Fred Wallace Haise, Jr. is an engineer and former NASA astronaut. He is one of only 24 people to have flown to the Moon. Having flown on Apollo 13, Haise was to be the sixth human to walk on the Moon, but the mission did not land due to a failure aboard the spacecraft.-Early life and...

, the Apollo 13 crewmembers not previously inducted.

Over two dozen astronauts from the Space Shuttle program have been inducted since 2001. Among these are Sally Ride
Sally Ride
Sally Kristen Ride is an American physicist and a former NASA astronaut. Ride joined NASA in 1978, and in 1983 became the first American woman—and then-youngest American, at 32—to enter space...

, the first American woman in space; Story Musgrave
Story Musgrave
Franklin Story Musgrave is an American physician and a retired NASA astronaut. He is currently a public speaker and consultant to both Disney's Imagineering group and Applied Minds in California.-Personal life:...

, who flew six missions in the 1980s and 90s; and Francis Scobee, commander of the ill-fated final Challenger mission.

The 2010 class consisted of Guion Bluford
Guion Bluford
Guion Stewart “Guy” Bluford, Jr. , is an engineer, retired Colonel from the United States Air Force and a former NASA Astronaut. He participated in four Space Shuttle flights between 1983 and 1992...

, Jr., Kenneth Bowersox, Frank Culbertson and Kathryn Thornton. The 2011 inductees were Karol Bobko and Susan Helms.


The Hall of Heroes is composed of tributes to the inductees. Among the Hall of Fame's displays is Sigma 7, the Mercury spacecraft piloted by Wally Schirra which orbited the Earth six times in 1962. An Astronaut Adventure room includes simulators for use by children.

The spacesuit worn by Gus Grissom during his Mercury flight
Mercury-Redstone 4
Mercury-Redstone 4 was the second United States manned space mission, launched on July 21, 1961. The Mercury program suborbital flight used a Redstone rocket. The spacecraft was named Liberty Bell 7 piloted by astronaut Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom. It reached an altitude of more than 118.26 mi ...

 is on display and has been the subject of a dispute between NASA and Grissom's heirs and supporters since 2002. The spacesuit, along with other Grissom artifacts, were loaned to the original owners of the Hall of Fame by the Grissom family when it opened. After the Hall of Fame went into bankruptcy and was taken over by a NASA contractor in 2002, the family requested that all their items be returned. All of the items were returned to Grissom's family except the spacesuit, because both NASA and the Grissoms claim ownership of it. NASA claims Grissom checked out the spacesuit for a show and tell
Show and tell (education)
Show and tell is the process of showing an audience something and telling them about it, predominantly in North America and also popular in Australia. It is usually done in a classroom as an early elementary school technique for teaching young children the skills of public speaking...

 at his son's school, and then never returned it, while the Grissoms claim Gus rescued the spacesuit from a scrap heap.

See also

  • Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
    Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
    The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is the visitor center at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It features exhibits and displays, historic spacecraft and memorabilia, shows, two IMAX theaters, a range of bus tours of the spaceport, and the Shuttle Launch Experience, a simulated ride into...

  • List of astronauts by year of selection for training
  • Space Mirror Memorial
  • US Space Walk of Fame
    US Space Walk of Fame
    The US Space Walk of Fame is an outdoor plaza on the Indian River in Titusville, Florida, honoring both the astronauts and the NASA and contractor personnel who made American manned space exploration possible. Its monuments surrounding a pool are dedicated to the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space...

  • International Space Hall of Fame
    International Space Hall of Fame
    The New Mexico Museum of Space History is a museum and planetarium complex in Alamogordo, New Mexico, dedicated to artifacts and displays related to space flight and the space age. It includes the International Space Hall of Fame. The Museum of Space History highlights the role that New Mexico has...

  • List of aerospace museums

External links

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