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NASA Shuttle Simulator Lands at Stafford Museum

The Stafford Air & Space Museum has acquired NASA’s primary Shuttle Fixed-Based Simulator (FBS) from the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, IL.  One of the most significant and historic artifacts from the Space Shuttle era, the FBS was used by NASA at the Johnson Space Center in Houston during the entire 30-year history of the Shuttle program. Each one of the 135 astronaut crews to fly the Space Shuttle conducted a significant part of their primary training in the FBS. By acquiring an artifact of this significance, the Stafford Museum has taken another giant step towards its goal of becoming an institution of national importance.

The FBS is a high-fidelity replica of the entire flight deck, or cockpit, of the Space Shuttle.  Comprised of the fore and aft-decks, the FBS is an exact representation of the Shuttle cockpit, fully-equipped with more than 2,200 switches, gauges, circuit breakers, computer displays, and dials that were part of the highly complex Shuttle cockpit – much of it being flight-ready hardware.

The original site selected by NASA for the FBS was the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, where it was transported four years ago.  During that time, the simulator remained crated, awaiting proper display designs and restoration.  Earlier this year, the Stafford Museum started working closely with the Adler Planetarium regarding the care and preservation of the simulator.  During this time, major changes were made in the long-term exhibit planning for the Chicago-based facility.  As a result of these changes, it was determined that the best long-term home for this important artifact would be the Stafford Air & Space Museum.

The cost to acquire and move the simulator to the Stafford Museum was underwritten by the museum’s foundation, which is financed, in part, through numerous memberships and generous donations from individuals and companies from around the country. Their invaluable support has allowed the Stafford Museum to grow and develop its exhibits and collection into a historical archive beginning to be recognized on a national level.

The staff of the Stafford Museum will soon undertake the restoration process on the FBS, making it ready for public display after the first of the year.  The FBS will become a major feature of the new Space Shuttle gallery under development at the museum. The updated gallery will include hundreds of other priceless artifacts from the Shuttle program, including a flown Shuttle main engine, a flown solid-rocket booster segment, a partial tail assembly, fuel cells, space suits, a flown cargo bay pallet, experiment packages, rare items from the Hubble Space Telescope, and hundreds of other Shuttle artifacts.

 

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If you are not currently a member, we invite you join us by clicking the link to the left. Become part of an important legacy that will last for generations!

 

 

Contribute towards the Simulator Restoration!

 

The complexity of the fore-deck (above) of the Shuttle Fixed-Base Simulator is clearly evident in this photo as it appeared during training for the final Shuttle mission – STS-135- in July, 2011.

The complexity of the fore-deck (above) of the Shuttle Fixed-Base Simulator is clearly evident in this photo as it appeared during training for the final Shuttle mission – STS-135- in July, 2011.

Astronaut Charles J. Camarda, STS-114 mission specialist, checks data on a monitor in the aft section of the cabin of the fixed-base shuttle mission simulator at JSC's Mission Simulation and Training Facility.

Astronaut Charles J. Camarda, STS-114 mission specialist, checks data on a monitor in the aft section of the cabin of the fixed-base shuttle mission simulator at JSC’s Mission Simulation and Training Facility on March 3, 2005.

STS-135 commander Chris Ferguson trains to fly on the last space shuttle mission inside the fixed base simulator. (NASA)

STS-135 commander Chris Ferguson trains to fly on the last space shuttle mission inside the fixed base simulator. (NASA)

By | 2017-08-11T04:13:30+00:00 August 3rd, 2016|Exhibits, News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on NASA Shuttle Simulator Lands at Stafford Museum

Museum Acquires Tacit Rainbow

After years of effort, the Stafford Air & Space Museum is pleased to announce the acquisition of a revolutionary cruise missile that is closely tied to the career of Lt. General Thomas P. Stafford.

Called “Tacit Rainbow,” this small, jet powered unmanned “mini” drone was conceived and developed by General Stafford when he served as the Air Force’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Research, Development and Acquisition at the Pentagon in the late 1970’s.

The project was developed using experience gained with anti-radar missiles in Vietnam that could zero in on radar sites when they were operating, but would often malfunction if the radar was turned off after the missile was launched.

To solve this problem, General Stafford pushed the development of this “smart” weapon that had a variety of unique qualities.  It was ingeniously designed to be small enough to be carried by bombers and fighter aircraft to within striking distance of a potential target.  When launched, the drone’s wings and horizontal tail would unfold out of the fuselage, and its small 70-lb thrust jet engine would fire up.  An onboard computer was pre-programmed to steer the craft to a designated target area where it would loiter, waiting for an enemy radar site to be turned on.  As soon as a radar signal was detected, it would immediately attack the radar installation.  If the radar was turned off to avoid detection, the “Tacit Rainbow” would return to orbit the site and wait for the radar to be turned back on.  It would continue to do this until the radar installation was either destroyed, or until it ran out of fuel.

Surviving examples of the “Tacit Rainbow” are extremely rare, with less than five still known to exist. Working closely with the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, Texas – one of the locations of the aircraft –  the Stafford Air & Space Museum was able to negotiate a mutually beneficial artifact trade.  The Dallas museum received two space artifacts they needed, and we were able to bring another example of General Stafford’s many accomplishments back to the museum named for him!

The “Tacit Rainbow” should be on public display by the end of the summer!

Tacit-Rainbow-3View-S

By | 2017-08-11T04:13:30+00:00 July 1st, 2016|Exhibits, News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Museum Acquires Tacit Rainbow

Stories at the Stafford – June 9th at 7pm!

Spend an enjoyable evening as noted historian Barbara Schultz reflects on the life of aviatrix Pancho Barnes through images and anecdotes! Pancho was one of aviation’s most colorful members.  In the 1920s, she barnstormed her way through the skies to become one of the best, capturing the women’s speed record in 1930. The test pilots of Edwards Air Force Base designated Pancho’s bar, the Happy Bottom Riding Club, their unofficial debriefing room in the 1950s. Amelia Earhart, Jimmy Doolittle, Howard Hughes, and Chuck Yeager were counted among Pancho’s pilot friends. Spontaneous, adventurous, and dedicated to both flying and friends, Pancho lived a remarkable life.

Facebook Photo - Pancho small - Copy

 

Guest Speaker: Barbara Schultz

A noted aviation historian and author, Barbara Schultz now has four books in print:  Pancho: The Biography of Florence Lowe Barnes; Wedell-Williams Air Service; Flying Carpets, Flying Wings: The Biography of Moye W. Stephens; and Endorsed by Earhart: How Amelia Financed her Flying.  In addition to her books and magazine articles, she has been a consultant and participant in two aviation documentaries: The Happy Bottom Riding Club and Breaking through the Clouds.  All of her projects are well-researched, documented, and include many first-person interviews with pioneering pilots. Find out more at http://littlebuttesbooks.com!

Barbara earned her pilot’s license in 1978, purchased a 1950 Cessna 140A, and married her test pilot husband Phil.  Two years and two sons later, they established their own airport in the Antelope Valley where they still live.  Their large hangar/house contains a ‘flock’ of planes – the 140A waiting for new wings, a 1969 Cessna 150, Bonanza, Beech 18, and a Cub project.

A member of the Ninety-Nines, IWASM, WAI, VAA, EAA, and Women of Worldwide Aviation Week, it’s clear that aviation is more than just a hobby for the Schultz family.  It’s a life style!

Stafford Air & Space Museum

Thursday, June 9th at 7:00pm

*Refreshments will be served*


 

“Stories at the Stafford” is a special speaker series offered free to our members!

($5 for non-members)

By | 2017-08-11T04:13:30+00:00 May 31st, 2016|Events, Home, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Stories at the Stafford – June 9th at 7pm!

Camp Invention is June 13th-17th at the Stafford Museum!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Camp Invention takes summer fun and transforms it from ordinary to extraordinary!

In partnership with the National Inventors Hall of Fame, the Stafford Air & Space Museum is pleased to offer the nationally-acclaimed Camp Invention program to children entering grades 1st through 6th. It’s an exciting, weeklong summer adventure with lessons that explore connections between science, technology, engineering and innovation. Children will work together to seek solutions to real-world problems and sharpen critical 21st century learning skills while rotating through several fascinating modules. The week begins on June 13th with Tanner Wheeler serving as Director of the Epic™ program!

Here is how young innovators will be spending their time:

• Brainstorming product ideas and building original prototypes using real tools and components found in everyday devices
• Exploring the lives of giant insects, colorful animals and their environments
• Constructing and personalizing a DIY solar-powered cricket with a unique habitat
• Discovering the science of slime, demolition, electronic sound, giant squid and coding

All activities give participants the opportunity to be a part of something big while having fun!

Local educators will facilitate program modules and enthusiastic high school students will serve as Leadership Interns ensuring that one staff member is in place for every eight children.

Register on or before May 10, 2016 to receive $15 OFF the base price of $230. Every registration includes a complimentary Camp Invention t-shirt. Availability is limited, so visit www.campinvention.org or call 800.968.4332 to secure your child’s spot today!

By | 2017-08-11T04:13:30+00:00 April 11th, 2016|Events, Home, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Camp Invention is June 13th-17th at the Stafford Museum!

General Stafford Day!

The Oklahoma State House of Representatives will bestow a special honor on Weatherford, OK native Lt. General Thomas P. Stafford at 9:00am on Tuesday, March 22, 2016. A resolution will be made in the House Chamber of the Oklahoma State Capitol Building officially recognizing March 22nd as “General Thomas Stafford Day”. The resolution will be accompanied by the dedication of an original oil-on-canvas portrait of General Stafford, painted by renowned Oklahoma artist Mike Wimmer. The painting will remain on permanent display in the Capitol Building.

“I am very humbled by this honor. It doesn’t get any better than when the people of your home state acknowledge your life’s work. I’m a very proud Oklahoman and, will be forever, a Weatherford Eagle.”

-Lt. General Thomas P. Stafford

By | 2016-06-02T21:13:41+00:00 March 21st, 2016|News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on General Stafford Day!

F-104 “Starfighter” In Stunning Form!

The tired, old F-104 “Starfighter” that was removed several years ago from the entrance to the Stafford Museum and Airport has been brought back to life!

The museum’s newest outdoor display has already become an iconic monument for the region.  One of the most revolutionary aircraft ever built – the Lockheed F-104 “Starfighter” – is now situated just outside the museum’s front entrance, majestically pointing nearly six stories straight up into the sky. After three years of planning, engineering, and restoration by museum staff, volunteers, and corporate donors, the aircraft has been painstakingly lifted to its new loft.

The specific F-104 on display at the Stafford Air & Space Museum, (S/N 56-932), has a great history.  In 1961, it was sent to Germany by President Kennedy during the “Berlin Crisis” when the city was being divided by the construction of the Berlin Wall that brought the “Cold War” to the edge of World War III.  In 1965, #932 became an actual “war-bird” when it was one of only 29 F-104s sent to Vietnam, where it would fly more than fifty missions.

By | 2016-06-02T21:13:48+00:00 March 11th, 2016|Exhibits, Uncategorized|Comments Off on F-104 “Starfighter” In Stunning Form!

“Stories at the Stafford” is back on March 5th!

Often, the path of exploration, to push the boundaries of human existence, is paved with stories of tragedy. To venture into the unknown, and to attempt something no one else has ever done, is often a daunting, dangerous task. There has been no greater level of exploration conducted than when humans have attempted to leave their home planet and venture out into the extremely hostile environment of space. That path of exploration has been blazed with the loss of life of many enduring heroes, such as the astronauts that perished aboard the Space Shuttles “Challenger” and “Columbia.”

To remember these fallen explorers, the Stafford Air & Space Museum invites you to attend our first “Stories at the Stafford” presentation of the year entitled “Trials of Exploration: Remembering the Fallen Shuttle Heroes.”

The presentation will be held at the museum on Saturday, March 5, 7:00 pm in the Shuttle exhibit gallery. Max Ary, the museum’s director, will conduct a dramatic presentation using videos, images and artifacts not only to examine every event that led to these tragedies, but also to honor the fourteen brave souls who lost their lives aboard “Challenger” and “Columbia.”

Refreshments will be served. This event is free for our members, and $5 for non-members. Not a member? Sign up available at the event!

By | 2017-08-11T04:13:30+00:00 February 22nd, 2016|Uncategorized|Comments Off on “Stories at the Stafford” is back on March 5th!

Wright Wradio and WestOK Weekly Joins SASM

WWThe Stafford Air and Space Museum has joined forces with Wright Wradio and the WestOK Weekly.

Museum Marketing Coordinator Brandi Rizzi said she is proud to add Wright Wradio to the growing list of museum corporate sponsors. As part of their sponsorship, Wright Wradio and WestOK Weekly will promote the museum on air and in print.

“Having the support of Wright Wradio and the WestOK Weekly is a major statement towards the level of support and recognition the Stafford Museum is obtaining,” Rizzi said. “The Stafford Museum is growing in the eyes of Oklahomans and is well on its way to being recognized as a must-see attraction for all Oklahomans and tourists.”

Wright Wradio owners, Harold and Heston Wright, said they are proud to support a local gem like the Stafford Air and Space Museum. Wright Wradio has worked to promote live, local news and sports to the communities it covers since 1970.

Harold Wright said the station is dedicated to providing a service to the community, and strives to be a viable part of the cities within and beyond its coverage area.

“We are very fortunate to have a museum of this caliber right here in Weatherford, “Harold Wright said. “The museum is something we, as a community, can be very proud of. Not many communities can say they have an actual piece of the moon rock right on display in their own town. I would not hesitate to say the Stafford Air and Space Museum rivals any space museum in the country. We are able to provide instant listening to folks driving through our area, which is valuable because that can prompt them to stop and spend some time here.”

“Our job is to promote the community we live in,” Heston Wright said. “Working with the museum allows us to do just that. We want to remind people, both local and out of town, to go to the museum and enjoy the history they have to offer.”

The Stafford Museum has continued to gain support from local businesses, state, and nationwide corporations.

The Stafford Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate, just recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Apollo-Soyuz Mission. The anniversary was commemorated during a recent celebration at the Stafford Air and Space Museum with the two men who made a history changing handshake, Gen. Tom Stafford and Cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov along with ten other astronauts, and was the only celebration in the United States for the event.

By | 2017-08-11T04:13:30+00:00 July 9th, 2015|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Wright Wradio and WestOK Weekly Joins SASM

Tech Trek 2015 Comes to Stafford Museum

DSC_1208For the third time in a row, AAUW’s STEM based camp Tech Trek  took place on the campus of Southwestern Oklahoma State University. This year’s camp had 44 campers from across the state of Oklahoma. On Friday, June 12, the camp returned to the Stafford Air and Space Museum as part of their field trip day.

Led by Museum Staff member Tanner Wheeler, the campers toured the museum which earlier in the week hosted over 200 guests at the Apollo-Soyuz 40th Anniversary Gala. Attending the Gala were astronauts Tom Stafford, Gene Cernan, Al Bean, Walt Cunningham, John Herrington, Joe Engle, Cady Coleman, Owen Garriott, and Russian Cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov. The campers literally followed in the footsteps of these historical figures as they wandered through the galleries.

Inside the museum, the campers were introduced to the Wright Brothers, Charles Lindbergh, and shown the history of flight and how it led to the world’s most intense race, the Space Race. Following the two-hour tour, the campers were able to enjoy lunch in the Apollo Room and then shop in the museum’s Gift Shop.

Before they said goodbye, the campers eagerly posed for several pictures outside the museum around the outdoor exhibits.

 

Tech Trek is a week-long STEM camp designed to create interest, excitement, and self-confidence in young women entering the eight grade.

The American Association of University Women advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. Tech Trek is a project of AAUW in collaboration with SWOSU.

By | 2017-08-11T04:13:30+00:00 June 25th, 2015|Home, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Tech Trek 2015 Comes to Stafford Museum
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