NASA and space exploration may seem like a stretch to find a Chevrolet Corvette connection, but there’s actually a fairly healthy one.
The National Corvette Museum announced last week it plans to open a new NASA exhibit titled “From Gas Station, To Space Station: How NASA Conquered Low-Earth Orbit.” Next year marks the 50th anniversary of Commander Neil Armstrong‘s lunar landing and first step on the moon in 1969.
NCM Curator, Derek E. Moore, said the exhibit is an exciting way to tell the story of NASA’s accomplishments and where the human race has gone since the moon landing 50 years ago.
“This exhibit shows where we’ve gone since going to the moon and tells the story of where that transformative moment in history has led us,” he said. “We’ll be looking at some stories about how one becomes an astronaut and look into how we landed on the moon, and how that is leading us into the future.”
Not only will the exhibit look at the big picture, but it will also highlight Kentucky’s local connection to the space program. Terry Wilcutt’s actual flight suit, helmet, boots and glove will be on display in the exhibit—a local astronaut who has been on four space shuttle missions.
As for how the Corvette ties into the display, there’s a great history behind it. GM President Ed Cole originally gave Alan Shepard a new Corvette after becoming the first American to travel in space. From there, Florida Cadillac/Corvette dealer, Jim Rathmann offered a $1 lease program on Corvette models for any astronaut. Dozens took Rathmann up on the program through the Apollo 12 mission.
The new exhibit will open its doors on Jan 14 and run through July 30.