The Rockies Air and Space Museum
This inspiring new exhibit features personal
reflections, memorabilia and artifacts from
astronauts with Colorado ties. You may not
know that 20 percent of all U.S. astronauts
have significant ties to the great state
of Colorado! Most have birthplace, hometown
or alma mater affiliations with Colorado
and a few more have other well-known ties
to our state.
Visit Colorado's Astronauts:
In Their Own Words and learn what inspired
these people to become astronauts in the
first place, how they prepared for their
missions, what their most memorable moments
were, how Colorado influenced their careers
and what space may hold for all of us in
The space technology exhibits at Wings
Over the Rockies
Air and Space Museum include models and
displays demonstrating spacecraft and missile
technology both historically and in the
future. Explore the science of spaceflight
with our interactive exhibit and experience
Our Space Station Module started
life as Martin-Marietta's mock-up for a
proposed space station entry to be called "Freedom."
The original proposal was for an American-only
space station. The concept was later changed
to include Russia and the European Space
Agency and became known as the International
Space Station. Martin's entry into the proposal
race was rejected and ultimately found its
way to our Museum.
We also have an Apollo Command Module
boilerplate. This is a full scale replica
which was used by NASA to develop and test
capsule retrieval procedures and train astronauts
for the Apollo missions to the moon.
Anchoring the south-east corner of Wings
Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum's
main floor is an actual interstage skirt
from a Titan IV rocket. Lockheed
Martin built Titan IV's to launch large
National Defense payloads into earth orbit.
A Titan IV was also used to launch the National
Aeronautical and Space Administration's
(NASA) Cassini probe to the planet Saturn.
There are an assortment of scale models
ranging in size from a table-top diorama
of a moon base to a sixteen foot
model of a Titan II launch vehicle
as well as several hands-on exhibits demonstrating
some of the conditions encountered in space.
Ask an Astronaut: Eileen Collins
Collins graduated in 1979 from Air Force
Undergraduate Pilot Training at Vance AFB,
Oklahoma, where she was a T-38 instructor
pilot until 1982. From 1983 to 1985, she
was a C-141 aircraft commander and instructor
pilot at Travis AFB, California. She spent
the following year as a student with the
Air Force Institute of Technology. From
1986 to 1989, she was assigned to the U.S.
Air Force Academy in Colorado, where she
was an assistant professor in mathematics
and a T-41 instructor pilot. She was selected
for the astronaut program while attending
the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards
AFB, California, from which she graduated
She has logged over 6,751 hours in 30
different types of aircraft. Collins retired
from the Air Force in January 2005.
Selected by NASA in January 1990, Collins
became an astronaut in July 1991. Initially
assigned to Orbiter engineering support,
Collins has also served on the astronaut
support team responsible for Orbiter prelaunch
checkout, final launch configuration, crew
ingress/egress, landing/recovery, worked
in Mission Control as a spacecraft communicator
(CAPCOM), served as the Astronaut Office
Spacecraft Systems Branch Chief, Chief Information
Officer, Shuttle Branch Chief, and Astronaut
Safety Branch Chief. Collins served as pilot
on STS-63 (February 3-11, 1995) and STS-84
(May 15-24, 1997), and was the commander
on STS-93 (July 22-27, 1999) and STS-114
(July 26 to August 9, 2005). A veteran of
four space flights, Collins has logged over
872 hours in space. Collins retired from
NASA in May 2006.
What Inspired You to become an Astronaut?
"I remember reading a 'Junior
Scholastic' magazine article in 4th grade.
The article discussed the pros and cons
of space spending during the Gemini program.
As a young child, I could not understand
why anyone could advocate con!!!!
I was 100 percent for the space program!!!
I was very excited to read about the astronauts
as well as the scientific benefit of exploring!
This is my earliest memory of my love of
space, it only grew from there!"