I should’ve reported on our visit to London last week. During this week I’ll try and put that right with a post-a-day with our visits to the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Science Museum.
We’ve not visited the Science Museum for many years. It holds stunning collections of technology developments, many exhibits being the first of their kind [click on images to enlarge]. On the ground floor of the museum, not far from the entrance is the Apollo 10 Command Module. In this capsule Tom Stafford, John Young and Gene Cernan travelled around the Moon in 1969 as a dress rehearsal for the Apollo 11 landing which followed in July. Read more about the mission HERE.
Viewing famous objects, or paintings, can transport the mind, which is what happened while I stood in front of the space capsule. I marvelled at the fact that it was here in the Science Museum in London, and not in a similar museum in America. I continue to believe in the strong bonds of friendship between Great Britain and America. That this piece of historic space exploration has been on loan to the Science Museum since 1976 is surely an example of this friendship, as no other capsule from the Apollo Space Program is held outside of America.
The question I asked of a number of Science Museum guides was, how did one of the most important space ships is here in London? The answer came none, although thanks to the wonderful interweb, I found the answer HERE, from which I’ve copied the answer, shown below,
“Objects from the US Space Program were toured during the 1970s both to appeal to the world population’s timely appetite for space travel, but also as a form of victory lap. The Americans had won the race.
Documents from the Science Museum’s archive indicate that the Apollo 10 Command Module had been shown in France and the Netherlands, before coming to London. There is even the suggestion that it spent a brief spell in the Soviet Union. Touring a seven ton space ship, in a state of ‘considerable disrepair’, was no easy feat and required much funding and planning. This was initiated by the now defunct United States Information Agency. It was tacit propaganda, affirming the victory over the Soviets in the race to the moon. But once the Command Module landed in South Kensington, efforts to move it anywhere else seemed too costly and difficult. So the craft settled in.
Although cumbersome, the curators of the museum were more than pleased to receive this important attraction. An internal letter from Dr EJ Becklake remarks, ‘…obviously we must accept. Apollo 10 would be the only authentic manned space capsule on display in Western Europe and, I believe, the only manned capsule to have travelled around the moon on display anywhere outside the States. Its technical content speaks for itself, and the public interest it would arouse would be enormous’. When the Museum came to renew the object’s insurance in 1986, its value was estimated at £1.25 million.”