Titan 2 was a second-generation intercontinental ballistic missile with 2.5 times the payload of the Atlas, making it ideal for the two-person Gemini spacecraft. Unlike Atlas, which had to be filled with super-cold liquid oxygen just prior to launch, Titan 2 could be fired at a moment's notice thanks to room-temperature propellants.
Beginning with the fantastic dreams from earlier centuries, to the challenge presented by President John F. Kennedy, to the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs, to the final triumph of Neil Armstrong's walk on the moon, this illustrated timeline provides the story of the manned mission to the moon.
The Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile was the largest available rocket for the Mercury program, which was designed to put a human into orbit at the earliest possible date. The relatively small payload of the Atlas dictated cramped quarters for the Mercury capsule. Unlike most liquid propellant rockets, Atlas is not a hollow tube with interior tanks. The outside is the tank, making Atlas literally a flying tank with engines.
This full-size replica of the Mercury capsule shows the cramped quarters occupied by America's first astronauts. Weighing 3,000 pounds, the capsule had all the systems needed to sustain one person in space for up to a day and a half. Equipment included a seat contoured to the astronaut's individual shape, thrusters to permit maneuvering in space, and a protective heat shield that burned away during the capsule's reentry. Six Mercury missions flew between 1961-63. This replica is painted to resemble Friendship 7, which on February 20, 1962, carried John Glenn on the first Earth-orbiting mission for an American.
Suspended from the ceiling of NYSCI's Central Pavilion, NYSCI's Mercury Capsule lets visitors see a version of the very first U.S. spacecraft built. NYSCI's capsule flew once in May 1960 on a mission to test the escape tower—a large ladder like structure on the top of the capsule. On the test flight, it was rocketed more than 2,500 feet into the air and floated back down to the ocean with a parachute. The unmanned test proved that an astronaut could survive inside this capsule.
Spanning rocket development throughout the world between 900 A.D. to the present, this graphical display covers the discovery of gunpowder by the Chinese, fireworks, rockets as weapons and rockets that opened the door to space exploration hundreds of years later.
Inside NYSCI's Vail Gallery, this kiosk, created by Touch Graphics, offers a unique visual and audible timeline of each of the rockets and components in the Rocket Park. The system is completely accessible for all users: the bronze cast rocket models are touch sensitive and offer a dynamic user experience for visitors with visual impairments. As a visitor touches different parts of the rockets, a narrator tells the story of the rockets and the role they played in the space program.
Visitors can walk underneath of the most powerful rocket engine ever built. A single F-1 Engine produced as much thrust as all three Space Shuttle main engines combined. Five of these enormous engines propelled the first stage of the Saturn 5 rocket during the initial 2 and a half minutes of an Apollo flight to the Moon.