Friday, January 27, 2017

NASA: A Human Adventure - The Exhibition (Part 1)


Sometime in December last year, I saw some advertising on Facebook for this exhibition. Due to my interest in the American Space Program ever since I was a teenager, I decided to make a point to visit the exhibition before the end of the year.

After weeks of delay, I finally found some time on a Saturday. Out of fear that I may not have another opportunity or free time, I decided to simply just head down to Marina Bay and went along with it.

At Marina Bay Sands' ArtScience Museum

Entrance of the ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay
It was my first time going into the ArtScience Museum. And as it was a weekend, there was naturally many people.
The various other exhibitions at the ArtScience Museum

Purchasing my Tickets

Apollo 11 Spacesuit
I followed the signs and headed to the basement to purchase my tickets. I was greeted with a slight shock as there was a long line already formed up. Since I was already there, I made the decision to stay on and queue anyway. At the beginning of the queue itself, I was greeted by a replica of the Apollo 11 Spacesuit as worn by Buzz Aldrin. He seems to be holding a camera.
Ticketing queue
Costs of the tickets.
After a 30 minute wait, I finally purchased my ticket. As I'm a Singapore resident, I was entitled to the Singaporean prices, one of the few things that I actually love on being Singaporean.
My Ticket
Once I received my ticket, I walked down towards the entrance of the exhibition. I was greeted by two static displays.
A ful scale mock-up of the Gemini Agena Target Vehicle (ATV) 
The plaque on it
The purpose of the Gemini Agena Target Vehicle (ATV) develop and practice orbital space rendezvous and docking techniques and to perform large orbital changes, in preparation for the Apollo program lunar missions.
1/10 Scale model of Space Shuttle Endeavour "Stack"
And my personal favorite launch vehicle, the NASA Space Shuttle. It's a huge and accurate model. You can really see the fine details, the creases and textures. I'd give anything to have that model. 

Part 1 - Dreamers

Introduction to "Dreamers"
Exhibited in a "Steampunk" theme, in tribute to 19th century envisioners, "Dreamers" showcased and immortalized the writers and artists who envision and conceptualised space travel. Their works inspired and became the basis of modern space travel and exploration that we took for granted today.
Robert McCall and Jules Verne
H.G. Wells, Leonardo Da Vinci and Georges Melies
The gallery's walls are surrounded with the portraits of  notable writers, artists and visionaries. This includes some of famous well known historical figures such as Leonardo Da Vinci, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne among many others.
The gallery itself
There are two flat screens, one features old films that imagined and conceptualised space travel. The other shows the bios of the writers, artists and visionaries that envisioned space exploration. 

While this section follows the imagination and visionaries of creative minds and notable works of science fiction, the only way to make space travel and exploration a reality is a race of political bragging rights. 

Part 2 - Go Fever

Introduction to "Go Fever"
In order to make space travel and exploration a reality, the two greatest superpowers at that time, the Soviet Union and United States, used space exploration as a political tool to prove superiority over the other by competing fiercely to perform the many "firsts" of space exploration and travel. This part of the exhibition covers the space race.
The gallery that tells the tale of the Space Race.
President John F. Kennedy
Sputnik 1 Satellite Replica, this satellite started the space race.
Bell X-1 Machmeter
Description of the items above
The seal of National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, the preceding agency of NASA
President Dwight D. Eisenhower
The original Mercury 7 Astronauts
On the left, represented on a blue background was the "American" side of the gallery. In a form of a timeline, that showed the progression of the American Space Program in the 50s and 60s. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Dwight D. Eisenhower, leaders of the US at that time, were instrumental in rallying the nation and congress in pushing the progress for space exploration, which eventually ended up on the moon landings, thus proving the Americans superiority over the Soviet Union.
Former Soviet Premier: Nikita Khrushchev

Soviet Space Memorabilia

Some of the Soviet Space memorabilia
From the top left: Yuri Gagarin's Briefcase, Sputnik decorative models, Commemorative Yuri Gagarin Medal and Soviet poster "Glory".
Commemorative Soviet space stamps
A Soviet poster of cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin
Of course, the efforts of the Soviet Union can't be overlooked and it's equally an impressive undertaking as with the Americans. The Soviets are equally as proud of their achievements as well, releasing many posters, stamps and memorabilia to celebrate their efforts. After all, they're the first ones to launch a satellite and a man out into outer space. But in stark contrast to the Americans, the Soviets used these achievements as somewhat of a propaganda tool. Much of their space program is also secretive while the Americans share their findings with the scientific community.
A wall honoring Astronaut Alan Shepherd and Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin
Up close of the poster.
Screens featuring some info and background on the astronauts 
Two astronauts from the United States and Soviet Union are featured here for their achievements and contributions to their respective country's space program. Both came from military backgrounds and are test pilots and both men contributed greatly to the endeavor of space exploration. Yuri Gagarin was the first man in space and to orbit the earth thru the Vostok 1 mission, while Alan Shepard was part of the Mercury Seven astronauts and was the first man from the United States to be launched into space through Freedom 7, and one of the astronauts to land on the moon on Apollo 14.
Life magazine covers featuring NASA astronauts. Below, an old era television set showing John F. Kennedy's historic speeches. 
Some space themed lunchboxes and flasks aimed for kids.
Space books and a space themed pinball machine.
A description of the items on display.
After the spaceflights of Alan Shepard and John Glenn,  in anticipation and to generate interest, President John F Kennedy made a historic speech to the commitment of landing a man on the moon before the decade is out. Life magazine covered and published articles of the Mercury missions and astronauts. Private enterprises also joined the bandwagon and released space related books and toys.

Part 3 - Pioneers

Introduction to "Pioneers"
The portraits of the Soviet and American space programs scientists.
As stated in the above pic, this gallery is dedicated to the scientists and engineers that made the vision of space travel a reality. Their stories, achievements are told in this gallery.
A commemorative envelope and a German book
From the left: Space flown pieces of a V-2 Ballistic Missile, V-2 Missile Motor Inverter and Scientist Wernher Von Braun's Cowboy Hat
Description of the items above

Jupiter Nose Cone

Space flow Jupiter Nose Cone
Description of the Jupiter Nose Cone
In the above photos is the Jupiter Nose Cone, it launched animals such as mice and monkeys into space to see the biological effects of microgravity on a living thing. It also experimented on heat shields for spacecraft reentry.
Rocket scientists: Robert Goddard, Hermann Oberth and Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
Rocket scientists: Sergei Korolev and Werner Von Braun
The gallery paid tribute to the brains and geniuses of the American and Soviet scientific community that made space travel possible. Their contributions and short biographies are told in individual screens behind a Titan I Stage 1 Rocket Engine.

Titan I Rocket Engines

Titan 1 Rocket Engine (Stage 1)
Description of the item above
Titan 1 Rocket Engine (Stage 2)
Description of the item above

Saturn V Rocket Model (1/100 Scale)

A very big 1/10 scale model of the Saturn V rocket.
Some info on the Saturn V Rocket.
The Saturn V in comparison to the ArtScience Museum
Saturn V Model: 1st Stage and Interstage. (Below, the specs of the Interstage)
Saturn V Model : 2nd Stage (With LM)
Saturn V Model : Apollo Service Module
The final part of the gallery displayed a Saturn V model at a scale of 1/100. Its stages are separated and placed in order close together, showing the process of separations and the respective parts of the rocket. Descriptions and specifications of the stages are also shown. The scale of the model itself is massive and long, stretching 500 meters of the gallery.

Due to the extensive amount of artifacts and information. I will stop here for a moment and will continue in the next blogpost.