Liberty Bell 7 is set to splashdown at the Cosmosphere, following nearly six years of being on exhibit throughout the world. Beginning Tuesday, June 16, visitors to the Smithsonian-affiliated space museum in Hutchinson, KS, will have the opportunity to get up close to an amazing piece of space history when the Mercury spacecraft, which took the second U.S. astronaut into space, returns to its home museum. The craft will be on display in the Cosmosphere Grand Lobby through the remainder of 2020.
Museum-goers can also participate in special activities planned for the “Summer Space Splashdown”, honoring both the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 13 mission and the Liberty Bell 7’s return. With daring stories of survival, both Liberty Bell 7 and the Odyssey—the spacecraft used during the Apollo 13 mission—demonstrate the tenacity of the American spirit and our ability to overcome challenges.
The Cosmosphere’s “Summer Space Splashdown” activities include new exhibits (see below for details), an Apollo 13 artifact scavenger hunt and the opportunity to collect a set of commemorative trading cards* for the Apollo 13 mission. *Trading cards will be available at the Box Office, are limited to one set per Box Office transaction and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Apollo 13: A Mission of Survival: Restored on-site, the authentic Apollo 13 spacecraft, Odyssey, calls the Cosmosphere home! SpaceWorks, a division of the Cosmosphere which helped restore the craft, had a major role in re-creating the mission for the 1995 movie “Apollo 13”— producing more than 80 percent of the movie’s props. Learn more about the mission and the Cosmosphere’s role in the film in this new exhibit near the Cosmosphere Café, at the top of the museum entrance.
X-Plane Gallery: At the bottom of the museum entrance, visitors will find a brand new X-Plane gallery, introducing them to the Space Race story told throughout the Cosmosphere’s museum. Here, one can begin to understand the important testing and breaking of boundaries of high altitude and high-speed flight and the effects it had on humans and hardware.
This new gallery also allows additional artifacts to be displayed—including a new full-view of the cockpit of the replica Bell X-1 ‘Glamorous Glennis’, a display of Kansas Astronaut Joe Engle’s X-15 flight suit, as well as an XLR99 rocket engine from the X-15 program.
In order to keep visitors, staff and volunteers safe, the Cosmosphere is practicing safety protocols regarding COVID-19. Some high-touch areas and activities are still unavailable to the public. For full details, please visit: www.cosmo.org.
More about Liberty Bell 7
Liberty Bell 7 was recovered from the ocean floor in 1999 after spending nearly 40 years submerged at a depth of more than 15,000 feet (deeper than the Titanic). SpaceWorks, a division of the Cosmosphere, helped to retrieve and conserve the craft to the state it appears in today. Liberty Bell 7 is owned by the Cosmosphere, making it the only privately owned American spacecraft. The Cosmosphere is among only four museums worldwide to have a flown set of manned Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo spacecraft.