Space Center Houston will host the command modules from the first and last lunar landings, together under the same roof for the first time.
The result is "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for guests," the center says.
The world premiere of “Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission” opens Oct. 14 at the center, which is the home of the Apollo 17 command module.
These two exhibits appearing at the same time culminate Space Center Houston’s yearlong jubilee celebration -- right before the center celebrates 25 years on Oct. 16.
Houston is where the Apollo astronauts lived and trained for their missions.
“Space Center Houston guests will be the first and only to see extraordinary spacecraft from the first voyage to the moon and the last voyage,” said William Harris, president and CEO. “This exceptional exhibit commemorates 25 years of science learning.”
Houston is the first stop for the Smithsonian traveling exhibition “Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission,” which features the command module and other artifacts from the first lunar landing on July 20, 1969.
The command module has not left the Smithsonian since entering the Smithsonian in 1971. The Apollo 17 command module and other artifacts from the last mission to land men on the moon on Dec. 11, 1972, resides at Space Center Houston.
“Destination Moon” dives into the rich history of the Apollo 11 mission. This rare tour showcases more than 20 one-of-a-kind Apollo 11 mission artifacts, some of which flew on the historic Apollo 11 mission. They include the hatch, a lunar sample return container, astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s extravehicular visor and gloves, astronaut Michael Collins’ Omega Speedmaster watch, a star chart and survival kit.
The exhibition explores what led the United States to accept this challenge and how the resulting 953,054-mile voyage to the moon and back was accomplished just eight years after the program was authorized. “Destination Moon” examines the mission and sheds light on some of the more than 400,000 people employed in NASA programs who worked through the trials, tragedies and triumphs of the 20 missions from 1961 to 1969 before Apollo 11.
The center also will feature an array of Apollo artifacts such as training spacesuits from Apollo 13 Astronaut Fred Haise and Apollo 9 Astronaut David Scott as well as a toolkit, a lunar module controller and more.
Through original flown artifacts, models, videos and interactives, guests will learn about the historic journey of the Apollo 11 crew — Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin. Guests can explore the entire spacecraft thanks to an interactive 3-D tour created from high resolution scans of Columbia by the Smithsonian, including its intricate interior, which has not been viewable to the public until now.
The traveling exhibition will commemorate the 2019 50th anniversary of humanity’s first step on the moon.