Ad astra

If you want breathtaking landscapes, Kansas is the last place in North America to look. However, there are things worth seeing. I recently spent a couple hours at the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, which has an impressive collection of aerospace memorabilia, including a SR-71 Blackbird in the lobby.

A Redstone rocket such as was used during the Mercury program.

The Cosmosphere website features more graphics than information, and I haven’t found exactly what the nozzle in the foreground is. In the background is a Titan II rocket of the sort used in the Gemini program.
A close view of the Titan.
How big were the Redstone and Titan rockets? Rather dinky by later standards. (Graphic from here.)

Various historical sound recordings play continuously at the exhibits (JFK had a rather annoying voice). I didn’t hear Tom Lehrer’s tribute to Wernher von Braun, though.

A Russian RD-107 rocket engine.
A “flight-ready backup” of Sputnik I.
A Redstone atomic warhead, presumably with the fissionables removed.
A replica of an Apollo lunar module.
A statue of Eugene Cernan, who fifty years ago was the last man to set foot on the Moon.

There’s lots more there. I’ll be making more trips.