5 space vehicles you can see up close in the Dayton region

There are plenty of space-related exhibits and vehicles available in the Dayton region for exploring the history of aerospace.

Here are five of them.

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At the National Museum of the United States Air Force

(Map and directions)

Space Shuttle Crew Compartment Trainer 

The Space Shuttle Crew Compartment Trainer is the centerpiece of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Fourth Building. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Photo: Ty Greenlees

The Space Shuttle Crew Compartment Trainer is a highly accurate simulator utilized by NASA astronauts for practicing orbital tasks, training for emergency escapes and studying engineering issues.

The top level of the trainer is the flight deck where the mission commander and pilot would sit. The mid-deck contains the living and working areas with a galley, sleep stations, storage lockers and a bathroom. The exhibit also allows visitors to walk through the payload bay of the Space Shuttle where a real satellite is on display.

» WATCH IT ARRIVE: Photos of the trainer being delivered to the Air Force Museum

Mercury Spacecraft 

Approximately 1,500 visitors attended the ribbon cutting for the fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Wednesday, June 8, 2016. The Space Gallery is just inside the entrance. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Photo: Ty Greenlees

The Air Force supported much of Project Mercury by providing Atlas rockets, launch crews, facilities, physiological expertise, and other services to launch the orbital flights. Mercury was the first American human spaceflight program and flew successfully six times between 1961 and 1963.

The Mercury capsule on display was built to fly, but was used instead for spare parts. The size of the Mercury capsule, which was designed to carry one astronaut, is strikingly small compared to the Atlas rocket that launched it.

» READ MORE: Expansion gives museum visitors chance to see iconic planes

Titan IVB Rocket 

The 204-foot Titan IVB rocket is on display in the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force fourth building. The Titan IVB could launch payloads as heavy as 23.9 tons and was the largest and most powerful expendable rocket in the Air Force inventory. The Titan is in the Space Gallery. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Photo: Ty Greenlees

The giant Titan IVB Rocket was the largest and most powerful rocket in the U.S. Air Force which was used to launch satellites into orbit. Standing at 205-feet tall, the Titan on display was placed horizontally in the Museum’s Fourth Building horizontally allowing it to fit. Visitors can walk under the display to appreciate the size this giant space vehicle.

» READ MORE: Towering Titan IV rocket looms over visitors at new Air Force Museum hangar


At the Armstrong Air & Space Museum

(Map and directions)

Wapakoneta, the hometown of the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong, has a museum dedicated to the man and his aviation and space career. Planes, capsules, space suits and a lunar sample are a few of the main attractions. 

Gemini VIII Capsule

Fourth grade students from Spencerville Elementary School eat their lunch on the floor at the Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio on Friday, Nov. 7, 2008. On the right is the Gemini space capsule that carried astronaut Neil Armstrong into space for the first time in 1966. Skip Peterson Photo
Photo: Skip Peterson

The Gemini VIII mission conducted the first docking of two spacecraft in orbit. Neil Armstrong was command pilot along with David Scott as pilot. It was the first spaceflight for both men and almost ended in tragedy when they encountered a critical in-flight emergency from a stuck thruster, causing the capsule to tumble.

The mission was aborted at this point and the capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean 600 miles south of Japan. 

Apollo Capsule Replica 

The Apollo capsules carried three astronauts to lunar orbit where two of them would then transfer to the lunar module for a descent to the moon. After lunar exploration the ascent section of the lunar module would rocket away from the lunar surface to rendezvous with the orbiting Apollo Capsule for the trip back to earth.

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