During my Space Coast Road Trip this year and last year, I visited the American Space Museum & Walk of Fame in downtown Titusville. It’s a wonderful museum that focuses on the history of the space program at both Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. They have a lot of interesting exhibits and artifacts, but the primary focus is on the people involved; not just the astronauts but support personnel as well. I highly recommend going and taking part in one of the guided tours as well; the docents that do the tours are former NASA employees or worked in the space program in some capacity. During my visit this year, the docent who guided the tour was Travis Thompson, Space Shuttle Closeout Crew Lead for 27 years.
The museum’s exhibits feature launch related hardware and computer systems, including a Mod IV Sequencer that was used at Launch Complex 16 for Pershing missile test launches, a Mod 5 Count Sequencer of the type used during Shuttle Launches (these two are in the first slideshow below), and a Launch Processing System that was used in the Apollo and Space Shuttle programs (in the second slideshow below). The tire alongside the Launch Processing System work stations below is a Space Shuttle main landing gear tire.
The museum’s exhibits also include items from the Mercury and Gemini program. Early Mercury launches weren’t automated like later programs, so there was actually a launch button used. The left hand photo below is THE button that was pressed to launch John Glenn into orbit on the Mercury-Atlas 6 mission in 1962. The right hand photo below is of the solid state Thruster 8 controller that failed aboard Gemini 8 in 1966; the failure of this component started a one revolution per second roll that astronauts Neil Armstrong and David Scott managed to manually bring under control. It was the first major failure of a system that caused an emergency and immediate abort of the mission. It doesn’t look like much, but it created a huge problem.
The American Space Museum isn’t big, nor is it fancy, but you could easily spend hours inside looking at what all they have. If you’re a space or aviation geek, this is a must stop if you’re on a tour of the Space Coast.