For all those reading this who
were grade-schoolers in 1964 and 1965, the words of Katherine
Khalife's wonderful essay ring oh-so-true and evoke vivid memories
of how we followed every launch with excitement and amazement.
For this truly was the Space Age and we were living it.
How lucky we are to have experienced that remarkable history
of every mission that ended with a successful spashdown and Aircraft
I usually save my Thank-yous
to those who have contributed Feature materials for the end
of the Feature. But this time I'd like to extend a warm Thank
You to Bradd Schiffman up front for his wonderful look
back at what I feel is one of the most important yet overlooked
exhibits of the 1964/1965 New York World's Fair: The U.S. Space
Park. Tucked away in a corner of the Fair, far away from the
must-see futuristic exhibits of the industrial giants, next to
a building -- The Hall of Science -- that wouldn't even open
until September of the Fair's first season, was The Space Age
that wasn't merely a dream on a designer's drawing board. It
was The Space Age for real.
Here millions of Americans could
see for the first time, up-close, how we were going to put a
man on the Moon before the decade was over; the goal that President
Kennedy had committed us to in 1961. Now, in 1964, the first
phase of that program had already come to a close: Project Mercury.
America would be embarking on a new program in 1965 with the
advent of Project Gemini. It would be the next step of our great
experiment in space exploration that would ultimately lead to
Project Apollo and footsteps on the Moon. At the U.S. Space Park,
the Fairgoer could see and feel every craft that would play a
role in our Moonshot program. What a remarkable display and teaching
tool NASA, the Defense Department and the Fair provided for America
through the Fair.
On the following pages you'll
find a number of photos of the U.S. Space Park from Bradd's collection
showing the rockets, spacecraft and satellites exhibited there.
After an overview of the Park you'll find a reprint of the second
chapter of a World's Fair Publication called "Science
at the Fair" which talks about the Park and the U.S.
space program. In his preface to that book, World's Fair
President Robert Moses states "It won't take you long to
read this piece. It won't require great effort. It will be most
rewarding." I couldn't have said it better. As you read
it, keep in mind that these were plans for what was to come.
It is a credit to those who made it all happen when we realize
how successful those plans turned out to be. I guarantee that
you'll feel a tug of nostalgia as terms you haven't used in years
come at you off those pages. It is the story of The Space Age
come true for us who have grown now to adults.
Enjoy! Thanks for giving this
important exhibit its due, Bradd.
Bill Young, June 2002