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Thursday, May 1, 2014

New Local Space Museum Planned

Two Calvert County residents, Alan Hayes of Owings, and Sigmund Gorski of Huntingtown have a dream to create a Space Museum in Calvert County, and now they permission from the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) to take off.

Gorski is the President and Chief Information Officer of non-profit Volanz Aerospace, Inc. and the director of summer programs through the Spaceflight Institute. He was a classroom teacher for 25 years and an administrator for 14 years in private school education. 

museum articles 

Hayes is the Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of Volanz Aerospace, Inc. and is the Institute's Director of Simulations and Robotics. He has over 28 years of Program/Project Management, IT, and Government Acquisition experience.

Artifacts to be displayed at the new Space Museum include astronaut helmets, spacesuits, gloves, and boots along with other equipment actually used in space missions.
They were joined by George Leah, Director of School Construction for Calvert County Public Schools to tell the BOCC about their plans to create a new Space Museum in the Arthur Storer Planetarium at Calvert High School in Prince Frederick.

Leah said the school system signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) previously with Volanz, but the project was delayed because the Planetarium was used as "swing space" while the new auditorium was constructed. Now that the auditorium is in use, Gorski and Hayes want to move forward on their museum plans for the old planatarium.
museum displays 
They say they have one of the largest private collection of NASA space memorabilia in the US, and acquired more than any other group last year. They say NASA will be giving them the contents of the old NASA museum at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, which was closed when a new museum was constructed and opened. They say some of the exhibits are brand new, and have been stored in dark rooms for the past two years. 
  • Apollo Lunar Module Rotational Hand Controller
  • Russian Buran Space Shuttle Tile
  • Apollo/Shylab and Shuttle Film/Digital Cameras
  • NASA Space Flight and Distinguished Service Medals
  • Presidential Medal of Freedom (Sally Ride
  •  Congressional Medal of Honor (Apollo 11 Crew and Glenn)

The new venue will display spaceflight memorabilia, hold lectures, and re-establish the planetarium as an instructional facility and museum. 

Through the generosity of NASA and others, Volanz has acquired a large number of historic space artifacts. Among others, thier artifacts include:

  • International Space Station (ISS) Exhibit
  • NASA, Soviet/Russian and Chinese Space and Flight Suits
  • Hubble Space Station Tools, Spares, and Engineering Models
  • Space Shuttle Flight Deck Equipment
  • Space Shuttle Tiles mounted on a wing section (68 tiles)
  • Astronaut Gloves (Apollo, Shuttle, Astronaut Glove Challenge Entries, and a 1970's Era Prototype Glove).
  • Bigelow Aerospace Space Station Model 

From June 1, 2001 - December 31, 2013 over 12,900 students and over 5,265 adults and teachers have participated in formal and informal educational programs offered by Volanz. These include in-school, summer camp. local meetings, and NASA programs such as Goddard's Launchfest.

Volanz Aerospace, Inc./Spaceflight Institute has an excellent working relationship with Calvert County Public Schools (CCPS) , and since 2002. has provided teachers with free in-school programs and materials for teacher use.

Local instructors on board with the project include Calvert teacher Debora Walton and Samuel Hayes, a Calvert student. Alison Charapp is their Director of Educational Outreach Programs, and is a tutor and part-time Anne Arundel Public School teacher.

They say they hope to begin construction on the new Space Museum in a month to a month and a half.