CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla — Most people that travel past Hangar R, located at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida, don’t give the structure a second thought as they drive by. Perhaps they should, for the building contains a stunning array of spacecraft and launch vehicles that would be the envy of any museum.
The hangar looks virtually identical to so many other buildings at the historic site. When one steps inside the pale beige building, this perception changes. Rockets, spacecraft, and missiles, all in pristine condition, crowd the insides of Hangar R.
It is a stunning sight; the building is filled almost entirely with rocket mockups, actual launch vehicles, and boiler plates of spacecraft.
As mentioned, Hangar R sits side by side with the numerous other hangars at CCAFS. Most of these structures, while well-maintained, clearly were constructed in the early days of the U.S. Space Program.
During NASA’s Gemini Program, astronauts flew beyond Earth’s atmosphere atop Titan rockets. A test article of one of the Gemini spacecraft resides in Hangar R. Nearby rests a boiler plate for the Apollo command module, and the name of the space agency that used the craft to send astronauts to the Moon, “NASA,” is boldly stenciled on its side.
The most striking residents of the hangar are, without a doubt, the rockets. Snarks, Matadors, BOMARCs, Deltas, and numerous other launch vehicles are crammed into Hangar R’s spacious interior.
“These have all been refurbished to make them as close to new condition as possible,” said U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Center volunteer John Hilliard.
Hangar R’s residents all fall under the purview of the U.S. Space and Missile Museum. Many of the vehicles within Hangar R are over 50 years old, yet they look like they just came off of the production line.
Plans are underway to move these historic vehicles to Hangar C, and guests who take the free tour offered by the U.S. Air Force will have the opportunity to view them for themselves. But what all is in Hanger R? The contents include the following:
Apollo Boiler Plate
Gemini Boiler PlateBlue Scout JR
BOMARC A 10
Delta II Solid Rocket Motor
Recording Optical Tracking Instrument (ROTI)
RVX-1 Reentry Vehicle
As mentioned above, eventually these amazing artifacts will be moved to Cape Canaveral’s Hangar C and included in the tour offered by the U.S. Air Force. Visitors interested in seeing these vehicles firsthand should visit the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Public Tour or contact 321-494-5945 to check on the status of the move.