2011-02-01: 50 Years of Human Spaceflight

Curated by Tim Nelson. February – April, 2011.

Celebrating 50 years of human space exploration, with both historical and imagined spacecraft. (Link to article)

Models on display


Mercury (USA)

First American manned spacecraft, most famous for Alan Shepard's suborbital hop and John Glenn's 3 orbit mission.

Scale: 1/72 Modeler: Bill Glinski

Восток (Vostok, or "East") (USSR)

The world's first human spacecraft carried Yuri Gagarin on a single orbit on April 12, 1961. The first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova, also flew aboard a Vostok.

Scale: 1/72 Modeler: Don Conrard

X-15A (USA)

Highly successful rocket-powered research vehicle, twice flown to altitudes above 100 km (approx 62 mi) by pilot Joe Walker in 1963.

Scale: 1/72 Modeler: Bill Glinski

Восход (Voskhod, or "Dawn") (USSR)

Modified Vostok, used for the first 3 man mission and the first "spacewalk" (Alexei Leonov)

Scale: 1/72 Modeler: John Summerford

Gemini (USA)

Using Gemini, the U.S. mastered all the key requirements for Moon missions: spacewalk, orbital rendezvous & docking, and missions lasting up to 14 days.

Scale: 1/72 Modeler: Bill Glinski

Союз (Soyuz, or "Union") (USSR / Russia)

A true workhorse of human spaceflight, still flying reliably today after over 40 years.

Scale: 1/72 Modeler: Morgan Girling

Apollo Command / Service Module (CSM) (USA)

"Mothership" for Apollo lunar missions, taking 3 men to the Moon and back. It was later used for Skylab missions.

Scale: 1/72 Modeler: Bill Glinski

Apollo Lunar Module (LM) (USA)

The utilitarian LM was a pure spacecraft, designed to land men on the moon and return them to the orbiting CSM.

Scale: 1/72 Modeler: Paul Peterson

Space Shuttle Orbiter (USA)

First reusable orbital spacecraft. This technological marvel made spaceflight almost routine, although costly. Its large payload capabilities enabled construction of the Int'l. Space Station.

Scale: 1/72 Modeler: Don Conrard

神舟 (Shenzhou, or "Divine Craft") (China)

China has entered the arena of human spaceflight with this Soyuz-like spacecraft, and it has ambitious space plans.

Scale: 1/72 Modeler: Don Conrard

SpaceShipOne (USA)

First privately developed human spacecraft, winning the Ansari X-Prize in 2004 and setting the stage for commercial human spaceflight.

Scale: 1/72 Modeler: Bill Glinski

Goddard Rocket

World's first liquid fueled rocket, ancestor of the mammoth space launchers to come decades later.

Scale: 1/72 Modeler: Jim Schubert

V-2 (A-4)

German missile designed to terrorize Great Britain during World War 2, but also a large technical leap into space-capable rocketry. The V-2 development team of German engineers and technicians played a critical role in later US and USSR space programs.

Scale: 1/72 Modeler: Jim Schubert

3 Stage Rocket (Von Braun)

Early Wernher Von Braun concept for a manned launch vehicle, featured in Collier's magazine and Disney films.

Scale: 1/265 Modeler: Neil Makar

Soviet LEK Lunar Lander

The Soviet Moon program was shrouded in secrecy. Design studies, including this advanced lander, continued into the mid 1970s before cancellation.

Scale: 1/72 Modeler: Scott Kruize

Boeing / USAF X-20 Dyna-Soar

This reusable winged military spacecraft foreshadowed the civilian Space Shuttle by 20 years. It was cancelled in 1963. (Model from the collection of Max Braun, Boeing X-20 Manager, Materials and Structures)

Scale: 1/48 Modeler: Ralph Braun

USAF Manned Orbital Laboratory

Military reconnaissance space station based on Gemini hardware. It was cancelled in 1969, rendered unnecessary by improved unmanned spy satellite capabilities.

Scale: 1/144 Modeler: Tim Nelson

Space Station (Collier's Magazine)

Space station concept featured in Collier's magazine, wonderfully illustrated by early space visionary and artist Chesley Bonestell.

Scale: 1/350 Modeler: Terry Moore

Space Station (Disney)

Wernher von Braun design featured in the Disney TV show "Man and the Moon". It remained true to 1950s toroidal space station concepts, creating artifical gravity using rotation.

Scale: 1/300 Modeler: Steve Hilby

Convair Atlas Space Station

Convair proposed to use a spent Atlas missile as the basis for a space laboratory, similar to the way Skylab was later based on a Saturn V third stage.

Scale: 1/98 Modeler: Steve Hilby

Space Station Салю́т 1 (Salyut, or "Salute") and Soyuz 11

World's first space station, occupied for 23 days by the crew of Soyuz 11. The 3 men perished when their Soyuz depressurized during re-entry preparations. Several successful Salyut and military Алмаз (Almaz, or "Diamond") missions followed.

Scale: 1/144 Modeler: Tim Nelson

Мир Space Station (Mir, or "Peace")

Long-lived and highly successful Russian outpost, which hosted several year-long visitors. It was visited several times by the U.S. Space Shuttle.

Scale: 1/144 Modeler: John DeRosia

Orion (Constellation)

Constellation was proposed in 2004 as a return to the Moon program, including the Orion spacecraft and Altair lunar lander. The program was cancelled in 2010 and Orion's future is uncertain.

Scale: 1/72 Modeler: Ron Hobbs

Skylab (hanging overhead)

The first American space station hosted three 3-man crews, the first of which had to do extensive work to repair launch damage.

Scale: 1/144 Modeler: Tim Nelson

International Space Station (hanging overhead)

Completed in 2011 after 12 years of construction, the massive ISS is perhaps the most successful international technical collaboration in history. It is clearly visible to the naked eye.

Scale: 1/144 Modeler: John DeRosia

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