Texas has NASA. Washington, DC has the National Air and Space Museum. Florida has the Kennedy Space Center. And soon, Pittsburgh will have its own tribute to space travel with the opening of the Moonshot Museum.
It has been announced that the Moonshot Museum will open to the public on October 15. A press release describes the project, developed through a partnership with Pittsburgh-based space robotics company Astrobotic, as Pennsylvania’s first space museum and the “first museum in the world to focus on career readiness for space travel.” contemporary space industry.
Ahead of opening day, the Moonshot Museum will host an exclusive preview on October 13 for members of the North Side community, where the facility is located. From there, the Moonshot Museum will be open to the public Wednesday through Sunday, admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 3-17.
Construction on the 3,000-square-foot exhibition and programming space began in June and, once open, promises to “nurture space careers and community readiness and propel young people of all backgrounds to pursue space-related careers across the science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) spectrum, including space careers in medicine, business, law, politics and in the humanities.
“The final countdown to the launch of the Moonshot Museum is officially underway,” said Moonshot Museum Executive Director Sam Moore. “After years of designing, thinking, building, prototyping, and interacting with students and members of the Pittsburgh community, we look forward to welcoming visitors to explore a museum like no other. We are excited to ignite a unique spark of space-centric curiosity in our community and shine a light on the incredible space industry here in Western Pennsylvania.
Designated as an independent, not-for-profit organization, the museum will set out to fulfill its stated mission of inspiring a “diverse community to find their place in the future of space exploration.” Visitors will be able to experience simulated lunar missions and observe real lunar landers “built and prepared to fly to the Moon”, offering insight into the “real-time working of space through immersive simulated mission experiences, solving real-world space industry problems, and direct access to Pittsburgh space professionals.
“The Moonshot Museum is a decade-long dream come true. It was designed for the community to literally step into the world of the space industry,” said Astrobotic CEO John Thornton, who is a founding board member of the Moonshot Museum. “We want young people to see themselves in our work, meet the real spaceship builders and discover that there is a place for them in space.”
The first museum of its kind in the Commonwealth has garnered a large following. In January, the museum announced that it had raised $1.7 million from various contributors, including the First National Bank, the Henry L. Hillman Foundation, the Allegheny Foundation, and the Howmet Aerospace Foundation, among others.
At the time, Moore said the funding would cover costs “across the full spectrum of exhibition development, construction and innovative programming.”
Moonshot also received a $300,000 grant in July from the Richard King Mellon Foundation.
“A fundamental part of the Foundation’s economic development strategy has always been to bet on visionaries who see opportunities to harness technology to make Pittsburgh a national destination in new and promising economic sectors, and who are committed to make these opportunities available to people in our communities,” said Sam Reiman, director of the Richard King Mellon Foundation. “The leaders of the Moonshot Museum are such visionaries, and we look forward to the community as a whole see what they have accomplished.”