The Air Force's key role in Soviet containment and strategic deterrence during the Cold War, along with its historical role in the development of space, is highlighted in the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force's Missile and Space Gallery here...
Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz, vice commander of Air Force Space Command, discusses the strategic deterrence role intercontinental ballistic missiles played during the Cold War to cadets of Air Force ROTC Detachment 643, Wright State University, Oct. 7 at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Retired Maj. Gen. Charlie Cooper (left), museum volunteer escorted the group. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Johnny Rea)
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WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- The Air Force's key role in Soviet containment and strategic deterrence during the Cold War, along with its historical role in the development of space, is highlighted in the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force's Missile and Space Gallery here.
The $3.2 million gallery stands 140 feet high and encompasses more than 12,500 square feet. Construction began in December 2002 and finished a year later.
Air Force Space Command celebrated its 24th birthday as a major command on Sept. 1, marking a year-long buildup to its silver anniversary in 2007. The anniversary coincides with the Air Force's 60th birthday on Sept. 18, 2007.
"It's going to be a great year as we reflect on our accomplishments and look at the future of Air Force Space Command," said Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz, AFSPC vice commander, during an Oct. 7 visit to the Missile and Space Gallery.
"We are very proud of the Missile and Space Gallery because it is the only place the public can see intercontinental ballistic missiles and satellite boosters up close and personal," said retired Maj. Gen. Charles D. Metcalf, museum director.
Resembling a missile silo in its award-winning architectural design, the gallery opened to the public in 2004 and currently displays part of the museum's collection of ICBMs and satellite boosters. The gallery was recognized in the 2006 Air Force Design Awards Program with a Merit Award for Facility Design.
As the restoration process is completed, more missiles will be added to the gallery, which will eventually house the museum's entire ICBM and satellite booster collection.
The gallery also temporarily houses elements of the museum's space collection, including the Apollo 15 capsule, until a separate space gallery is constructed.
"In the future, we plan to build a separate and expanded space gallery," said General Metcalf. "Fundraising is on-going and we hope to acquire a space shuttle as the centerpiece for that building. It will house space-related artifacts from the 'pre-astronaut' days to those of today. We look forward to being able to tell the complete story of the Air Force in space, which includes the Air Force Space Command story."
"We have a proud heritage of ingenuity, courage and resolve," General Klotz added. "These qualities are ingrained in our culture and continue to serve us well as we face the challenges of an ever-changing world."