Space Artifact of the Month
October 1, 2021
Did you know that the Cosmosphere only displays about 7% of its total artifacts from our collection? Every month you're invited behind-the-scenes to learn about unique space artifacts not typically available to the public with our Space Arti-FACT of the Month Mission Log! This exclusive opportunity will take you into the world of the Cosmosphere collection to uncover the rich information, facts and history told through the world’s largest combined collection of U.S. and former Soviet space artifacts.
Nikon F4 Camera
The Nikon F4 camera was one of the first digital cameras used in space first taken aboard STS-48 in 1991. This type of camera was flown on several different Space Shuttle missions.
Microgravity Vestibular Investigation Helmet
The Microgravity Vestibular Investigation (MVI) experiment studied how space affects the human vestibular system, which helps the human body with balance and spatial orientation. This experiment was performed both on Earth and in space, specifically in space on STS-42 in 1992. Helmets like these were used to block and/or control sensory input.
Wedgwood Blue and White Jasperware Plate commemorating the Apollo 11 Moon Landing.
Wooden Figurines, U.S. and U.S.S.R. Astronauts
Soviet Cosmonaut Georgy Grechko donated these figurines to the Cosmosphere during his visit to Hutchinson in May of 1985.
World War II Propaganda Leaflet
These leaflets were dropped all over Germany during World War II. Containing the signature of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, they identified the soldier carrying it as one who wanted to surrender and should be treated properly as outlined in the Geneva Conventions of 1929.
Mercury, Gemini and Apollo Spacecraft Tie Tacks
These tie tacks belonged to James F. Saunders, Jr., who worked at NASA from its inception in 1958 until he retired in 1980. He spent most of his career at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Rendezvous Window Shade
Flown, Apollo 14
Astronauts used window shades in the spacecraft to block the strong sunlight in space, especially during sleep periods. This window shade was flown on the Command Module, Kitty Hawk, during the Apollo 14 mission.
Buddy Secondary Life Support System Bag
Flown, Apollo 15
This bag held the Buddy Secondary Life Support System (BSLSS). During the later Apollo missions, astronauts ventured further and further from the Lunar Module (LM). NASA became concerned that a life support system could fail far away, and an astronaut would not be able to make it back to the safety of the LM. Enter the BSLSS! The BSLSS contained the necessary hardware that would allow an astronaut with a failing life support system to hook into his partner’s life support system and receive the necessary cooling water to get them both back to the LM. (The Oxygen Purge System on top of the “backpack” provided emergency oxygen.)
Space Shuttle Astronaut Boots, EMU Lower Torso Assembly
Flown, STS-43, STS-45
COS #5299 & 5300
These boots are part of the Extravehicular Mobility Unit suits (EMU) worn by space shuttle astronauts as well as present day astronauts on the space station. The EMU was designed to be reusable and came in multiple sizes to get away from the custom suits of the early manned spaceflight program.
Groucho Marx Disguise
Thirty-five years ago on January 12, 1986, Kansas Astronaut Dr. Steven Hawley flew on STS-61C…after some clever trickery! The launch was delayed six times, and after careful consideration Dr. Hawley began to think he was the problem. During the seventh attempted launch and while he was stopped in the White Room (a clean room that astronauts enter before boarding the spacecraft that prevent contaminants such as dirt, dust or stray hair from getting inside the craft), Hawley wore this Groucho Marx disguise (and even covered his nameplate in duct tape) so that the shuttle orbiter would not realize he was on board. The disguise worked and the launch was successful!
Flown, Apollo 14
The Apollo 14 astronauts took this microform lunar Bible to the Moon on behalf of the Apollo Prayer League in 1971. Three hundred Bibles were taken, split between the command module and lunar module. The Cosmosphere’s microform Bible is one of the 100 Bibles carried to the Moon in the lunar module by astronaut Edgar Mitchell on the Apollo 14 mission in February 1971.
The Fallen Astronaut with plaque
Replica, not flown
Belgian artist Paul van Hoeydonck created this statuette to commemorate the 14 known astronauts and cosmonauts who had died in the pursuit of space exploration by 1971. As the Apollo 15 crew prepared to leave the Moon, they left the simple plaque and small figurine, representing a fallen astronaut.
The names on the plaque are Charles A. Bassett II, Pavel I. Belyayev, Roger B. Chaffee, Georgi Dobrovolsky, Theodore C. Freeman, Yuri A. Gagarin, Edward G. Givens Jr., Virgil I. Grissom, Vladimir Komarov, Viktor Patsayev, Elliot M. See Jr., Vladislav Volkov, Edward H. White II, and Clifton C. Williams Jr.
Lunar Ejecta and Meteorites (LEAM) Experiment
Engineering model, not flown
December 1972, Apollo 17 astronauts deployed the Lunar Ejecta and Meteorites Experiment to study the speed and motion of particles and debris that strike the Moon. Surprisingly, the experiment found that tiny particles, like those from passing comets, strike the Moon and those particles are mostly lunar dust and debris.
Handmade Russian Chess Set
A handmade Russian chess set celebrating the Russian space program. The chessmen are represented by various spacecraft and satellites, which are listed below. Also note the inlaid Sputnik on the dark squares of the solid wood board.
Pawn: Sputnik I
Rook: Proton rockets
Knight: Vostok spacecraft
Bishop: Soyuz spacecraft
Queen: Salyut space station (with two Soyuz spacecraft)
King: MIR space station (with two Soyuz spacecraft)