Monday, July 13, 2020
The BD-5J Micro Jet will be on display Saturday as part of a traveling space museum at the Deke Slayton Memorial Space & Bicycle Museum’s Space Day in celebration of its 20th anniversary. Contributed photos.There will be space suit demonstrations at the block party where kids can try on the light weight suits complete with bubble helmets.

Calling all space cadets

Museum to host traveling space museum Saturday to celebrate 20th anniversary

Come rain or shine, the Deke Slayton Memorial Space & Bicycle Museum in downtown Sparta will be celebrating its 20th anniversary during a free Space Day block party this coming Saturday, June 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Activities include “explosive” science demonstrations by Oakley Moser at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. as well as Kid’s Corner Crafts at the Sparta Free Library all day long and old time games hosted by the Monroe County Local History Room all day.

“It’s going to be a big, fun, day-long celebration with a lot going on,” Executive Director Alli Karrels said, adding there will be food available outside as well as free frozen custard from Culver’s in the museum gallery.

To make the day memorable, the museum will also be hosting a traveling space museum with 12 interactive exhibits. According to Karrels, it will be the focus of the day.

The biggest exhibit will be an Odyssey IV Mobile SpaceLab Module, which is a 23-foot long mock up of a module that would be a part of the International Space Station built inside of a 48-foot trailer.

The space laboratory simulation has interactive workstations equipped with laptop computers, DVD players and other hardware that mimics what astronauts actually use while they are in space giving attendees the experience of what it is really like to live and work in space.

The Orion CRV Flight Simulator will be sure to draw a crowd. The 12-foot long full-motion flight simulator looks and behaves like a space shuttle and flight simulators used by NASA, the military and commercial airlines.

Attendees can control the half-ton hydraulically actuated craft with a joystick as well as the simulator on its three axis of motion.

Another exhibit includes a BD-5J Micro Jet, which the Guinness Book of World Records named “The World’s Smallest Jet.” The 13 foot by 12 foot jet seats one and lets the “pilot” manipulate ailerons, rudder and even the landing gear.

Attendees will also get to experience how astronauts go to the bathroom in space with a more memorable exhibit, the space toilet.

The Wright brothers first flew in the air lying across large bi-wing kites. The Wright Kite will be on display at Union National Bank, located across the street from the museum.

Attendees will get to learn about early aviation when they examine the highly detailed, half-scale bi-wing model kite built exactly the way the Wright brothers built them while they were perfecting their famous “Flyer.”

There will also be a seven-foot tall mock up of a proposed US-Soviet Probe to Pluto on display as well as a TSM Hovercraft and a Lunar Roving vehicle.

Every kid loves dressing up as an astronaut and on Saturday they will be given the opportunity to try out space suit demonstrations as well as pressure suit demonstrations and they will also be able to try their hand at anti-gravity boots.

The museum, which was established in 1999, wanted to do something big to celebrate its 20th year. The anniversary is tied into a bigger strategic plan.

Some museum updates include new gift shop shelving, new carpeting as well as an endowment. Also part of the plan would be to install a new changing exhibit area, which would require a small remodel of the building.

“This event will probably be the kickoff to do some fundraising for our new changing exhibit area as well,” Karrels said, adding the event is free but the museum will be accepting donations for parties interested in helping get the new exhibit off the ground. “The hope is to have a new exhibit once a year. We’re going to do an annual change to provide something new, relevant and interesting for the community.”

Karrels is hoping to draw some exhibits from across the country and bring in some different things in addition to the museum’s permanent collection.

“We want to make sure we’re offering up-to-date, interesting topics and stuff to keep people coming back year after year,” she said. 

Evans Print & Media Group

1302 River Rd.
P.O. Box 252

Sparta, WI 54656-0252

Office Number: (608) 269-3186
Fax Number: (608) 269-6876


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