Museum celebrates 54th anniversary of Gemini VIII mission

WAPAKONETA – The Armstrong Air & Space Museum will be celebrating the 54th anniversary of the Gemini VIII space mission on Sunday, March 15.

Aboard this historic endeavor, NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first person to dock with another spacecraft. Besides being the hometown of the first man on the Moon, Wapakoneta is also the current home to the actual Gemini VIII space capsule and has been a prized artifact on display since the museum’s opening in 1972.

The celebration will feature a presentation titled, “Neil’s Wild Ride: The Flight of Gemini VIII” from space historian and Armstrong Museum Experience Coordinator Greg Brown, who will explore the background of the mission and give the operational details including the astronauts’ narrow escape from a nearly fatal malfunction.

“It was not only Neil Armstrong’s first space flight and the first ever docking between two spacecraft, it was also NASA’s first in-flight emergency, setting it apart as one of the most important missions of the US space program during the space race,” said Brown.

The presentation begins at 3 p.m. in the Neil Armstrong STEM Inspiration Center, located in the Early Space Gallery of the museum. The presentation will be followed by a brief question and answer session with Brown. Afterwards, guests can tour the gallery to examine artifacts related to the mission including Armstrong’s Gemini spacesuit and the Gemini VIII space capsule.

The capsule exhibit features an interactive kiosk that allows individuals to receive a tailored in-depth experience about the craft, the astronauts, and the overall mission. The kiosk, created by Illumen Group for the Armstrong Air & Space Museum, won a Silver Brandon Hall Award for Excellence in Learning under “Best Advance in Custom Content” in 2019.

Admittance to the presentation is included in the day’s admission into the museum.