Astrobotic Area Museum deliberate in Pittsburgh

Museums are commonly known as places where historical objects are kept and exhibited. A new museum devoted entirely to space is about both the future and the past.

Space robotics company Astrobotic announced Tuesday that it will be opening the Moonshot Museum, which it claims will be the first museum in Pennsylvania to be entirely dedicated to space.

“There are many museums in Pennsylvania that talk about space, including our neighbors at Carnegie Science Center, the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, and a few others,” said Sam Moore, executive director of the Moonshot Museum. “But with the square as the only, exclusive focus, we’re pretty sure we’re the only one in the state.”

Astrobotic is a partner of the new museum, which is under construction and due to open in summer 2022. It will be a not for profit based in Astrobotic’s headquarters on the North Side at 1016 N. Lincoln Ave., a few blocks north of Heinz Field.

The heart of the museum is a “clean room” window, a viewing window that looks into the assembly area, where real spaceships are built and prepared for lunar missions. The astrobotic workers wear full body suits in this room, which serves as the main workshop, where moon landers and rovers are assembled.

Organizers say the Moonshot Museum’s mission is to make space more accessible, especially to young people, by engaging a diverse audience to engage in space exploration.

“I think space is a distant place for many people, difficult to get to and not particularly relevant to their everyday lives,” said Moore. “We really want to show people that getting into space is easier than ever and that the space economy is growing by leaps and bounds. It’s a $ 425 billion industry.

“We want to inspire people to find their place in the new space sector.”

According to Moore, on-site digital and educational workshops will simulate real-world space missions and promote awareness and readiness for technical careers in western Pennsylvania.

“We want to inspire as diverse an audience as possible to see the space as an opportunity,” said Moore. “When we open next summer (2022), the doors will be open to students, families and visitors from all over the world to see how many opportunities there are to participate in space and then find your place in it.”

Moore added that the programs will educate people of diverse backgrounds interested in pursuing a space career in a variety of disciplines ranging from science and technology to medicine, business, law, the arts and the humanities.

John Thornton, Astrobotic CEO and chairman of the Moonshot Museum’s board of directors, said space is more than just rocket science.

“We want to set the spark – the moment when a person is inspired to pursue a space or technology career that may not have otherwise,” Thornton said.

Officials are still debating whether the museum will display artifacts from historical missions such as the Apollo 11 Columbia Command Module, exhibited at the Senator’s John Heinz History Center in 2018.

“We’re still working on the final drafts for the museum and the final list of contents,” said Moore. “You will be up close behind the scenes of contemporary space work and have many interactive options. We also examine how we present historical artifacts. But we don’t have any details yet. “

While Astrobotic supplies the museum with its rooms and resources, other donors include the Richard King Mellon Foundation, which provides the start-up capital and covers the costs of start-up operations for the Moonshot Museum.

Paul Guggenheimer is a contributor to Tribune Review. You can contact Paul at 724-226-7706 or

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