Where Early Space Journeys Began

Before Neil Armstrong made his small step onto lunar soil, his journey to space began the same way as the rest of America’s first astronauts: walking the halls of Morehead Planetarium.

For more than a decade, the planetarium served as the hub for celestial navigation training for 62 members of the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Skylab programs as NASA turned to Morehead to teach astronauts to navigate through the stars for when technology failed.

“The astronaut training program is really a fascinating part of Morehead’s legacy to North Carolina,” planetarium director Todd Boyette said at the ceremony. “When you walk into our planetarium, you’re walking in the footsteps of men who walked on the moon.”

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This is story number 20 in the Carolina Stories 225th Anniversary Edition magazine.

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