By Al LaPorte
The long-awaited completion of the Maryland Room exhibit occured this
past September. The first exhibit theme addresses some of Maryland's contributions to the
United States Space Program.
Exhibits tell the story of the Goddard
Space Flight Center located in Greenbelt, Maryland and it's namesake, Dr. Robert Goddard.
Models and graphic displays are presented to
explain GSFC's work in utilizing space borne
imaging systems to study the earth sciences as well
as celestial phenomena. Examples of the fascinating photography resulting from
these efforts are shown in impressive color.
Included in the exhibit is a celebration
of the 5 Maryland-born Space Shuttle program
astronauts. One of the astronauts,
Dr. Thomas Jones, is featured in the exhibit. Dr.
Jones was born and grew up in the Essex area, practically
next door to the Museum's location. Through his generous
loan of personal effects
and mementos the exhibit tells his story as
a young boy following our nation's early space programs through his years as a cadet at
the U.S. Air Force Academy, his Air Force career flying B-52's and finally
his selection as an astronaut and his 4 flights on Space
Shuttle missions. Among the pictorial displays is
a segment titled "Around the World on the
Space Shuttle" which presents spectacular shots of
the earth taken during Dr. Jones missions. Dr. Jones final shuttle mission, STS-98,
involved the installation of the Destiny laboratory
module on the International Space Station. During
this mission he conducted 3 space walks with
fellow Maryland astronaut, Robert Curbeam. The plaque he carried on the 100th space walk
conducted by a United States astronaut is
on display at the museum. Coincidentally, the STS-98 mission was also flown by Mission
Specialist Marsha Ivins, another Maryland-born astronaut.
1 | 2 | Back to Contents