The Great Big, Beautiful Tomorrow

At the 1964 World’s Fair, the Space Age led the way to world peace, happiness, and fast cars.

Inside the domed Spacearium, visitors saw To the Moon and Beyond. The flat roof of the “Terrace on the Park” doubled as a helipad. (Courtesy David Eppen)
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Say hello to a real-live spaceman

On May 1, 1964, the American who had spent more time in space than all other U.S. astronauts combined paid a visit to the fair. Gordon Cooper’s destination was Space Park, an outdoor display next to the Hall of Education. There, visitors could see dozens of real and mocked-up U.S. launch vehicles, satellites, and spacecraft on loan from NASA. Among them were Scott Carpenter’s heat-scarred Aurora 7 capsule and a replica of the S-IC first stage of the Saturn V, the launcher that would send the first astronauts to the moon four years later. It was “very important” for the United States to be first to the moon, Cooper said at Space Park, “as a matter of national prestige.”

About Allen Abel

Brooklyn native Allen Abel attended the fair more than 40 times as a 14- and 15-year-old, then spent his college summers traveling to fairs in Montreal, San Antonio, and Osaka. His most recent article for Air & Space followed the specially trained ranger-pilots who patrol our largest national parks.

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