The Smithsonian Apollo test article is coming home on July 16, 2008.The City of Downey, with assistance from the Aerospace Legacy Foundation and Industrial Reality Group (who now own the historic NASA/NAA Apollo production site) will receive a second Apollo command module boilerplate by truck on July 16. It will, after restoration, be exhibited in the new Columbia Memorial Space Center, which when open this winter, will tell the story of the history of the site while preparing youth to take trips into space in the future.
The Apollo boilerplate is on loan from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and will be trucked from Lancaster, CA.
The new Columbia Memorial Space Center and Aerospace Legacy offices will have limited access while we await the two spaceship test articles to be unloaded. Some veterans of Apollo and shuttle programs who worked at the site will be available for questions. Arrival time is expected within a three hour window between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
The two Apollo boilerplate test articles are from the earliest periods of America’s lunar exploration program.
Apollo Boilerplate #12, which is already on the site, was flown and recovered on the first Apollo test flight on May 13, 1964. Thereafter, it was used on at least two impact tests at Downey before being given to the local union hall until it was recovered by Downey last year.
Apollo Boilerplate #19 was carried aloft at least nine times and used in parachute drop tests over El Centro Naval Station before it was given by NASA to the Smithsonian. It has for many years been on display in Lancaster.
Can’t attend on July 16? The City of Downey will be having a program and ceremony at a later date where city officials will have both test articles open for public inspection before they are prepared for display.