Supermarket Spaceships

These 1950s life-sized mock-ups helped prepare Americans for the real Space Age.

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Preserving Rocket History

After the 40-foot-long Luer Space Ship arrived at the Space Age Museum in Connecticut, John and Peter Kleeman had to figure out how to get it inside. “We hired building contractors to reconstruct one whole side of our barn,” says John. They repaired the automotive undercarriage so they could legally drive the rocket trailer again. Then came the hard part. “Peter and I have spent many fun-filled hours in respirators removing rotted interior panels, vermin-infested insulation, and assorted nasty souvenirs of 50 years in the elements.” Now that the space ship is preserved, they’re looking for financial assistance to do a museum-quality restoration. “It’s a way of understanding the spirit and optimism of that day,” says Peter. “Rockets like these helped make spaceflight tangible, taking it from the pulp magazines and TV screens to life-sized. For the first time, you could actually climb aboard. That made a huge impression, especially on young audiences.”


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