OKLAHOMA CITY – On November 16, 1973, the Skylab 4 Apollo command module (CM-118) launched to place the third and final crew aboard the first American space station. Commander Gerald Carr, pilot William Pogue and science pilot Edward Gibson were on board. The spacecraft is on loan from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum It is now on display at the Oklahoma History Center (OHC).
The newest permanent exhibit at the OHC, “Launch to Landing: Oklahomans and Space,” is the culmination of several years of coordination and planning with the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., and the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, Kan.
This exhibit focuses on the many Oklahomans who have played a part in the U.S. air and space program as well as early Oklahoma pioneers of aviation. The centerpiece of the exhibit is the Skylab 4 Apollo command module (CM-118). The final Skylab mission was the longest mission flown by any Apollo command module. It flew from November 16, 1973, to February 8, 1974, for a total of 84 days in space.
“Launch to Landing” features several personal items utilized by astronauts including flight suits worn by Fred Haise, John Herrington and Gordon Cooper. There are articles of clothing worn by Shannon Lucid and other crew members from International Space Station missions. The exhibit also showcases the in-flight coverall garment and pants used by Apollo command module pilot Stuart Roosa when he flew to the moon and back on Apollo 14 from January 31 to February 9, 1971.
Also included in the exhibit are items generally associated with Oklahoma aviators and the U.S. air and space program including Oklahoma flags flown in space, a NASA mission control console, space shuttle heat shield tiles and lunar samples known as “moon rocks.”
“Launch to Landing: Oklahomans and Space” has been made possible by the generous support of the E. L. and Thelma Gaylord Foundation; the M. D. Jirous and Barbara Jirous Foundation; the Inasmuch Foundation; the Records-Johnston Family Foundation Inc.; Bob Ford; the James C. and Teresa K. Day Foundation; the Friends of the Oklahoma History Center; the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; the Cosmosphere, Hutchinson, Kan.; the Thomas P. Stafford Air and Space Museum, Weatherford, Okla.; Bill Moore; and Cameron Eagle, Ink Ranch.
The Oklahoma History Center is located at 800 Nazih Zuhdi Dr. in Oklahoma City. It is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m.– 5 p.m. Please call 405-522-0765 or visit www.okhistory.org/historycenter/visitor for admission costs and group rates.
The Oklahoma History Center is a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society and is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, National Archives and is an accredited member of the American Alliance of Museums. The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit www.okhistory.org.